Murdered: Soul Suspect preview - play a dead detective and investigate your own murder

Murdered: Soul Suspect is more than just a punny name – the paranormal third-person adventure drops you into the gumshoes of Ronan O'Connor, a recently deceased detective with a bad case of 'got thrown out a window and then shot a bit by a superpowered criminal'. Now very dead, the officer needs to solve his own murder while dodging evil demons and dealing with the fact that he's bound to the weird laws that govern ghosts in the town of Salem, Massachusetts.

These laws make it difficult for him to do any of the things detectives normally do. Instead of running up to a witness and screaming “Tell me where the guy went!” or dusting for prints, he needs to influence things indirectly from The Dusk, a limbo between the lands of the living and the dead. This means inspecting the crime scene, possessing people and objects, and using his powers of deduction in lieu of having the power to pick things up.

Ronan does have some neat ethereal abilities, though. He can jump into the bodies of living people to hear their thoughts, looking out of their eyes to see what they're looking at or commandeering their ears to hear details that might help him solve the mystery.

After he's gathered all the clues he can carry, Ronan needs to piece them together, moving the case forward by way of brains, not brawn. It's a rare game that challenges the player's deduction instead of just focusing on aim, and it's great to see Airtight Games gun for a smarter target.

There's still some action, though – Demons exist within The Dusk, and at one point Ronan has to destroy a bunch of these otherworldly monsters by hiding inside objects and waiting for the perfect time to leap into their forms, obliterating them from within. These segments seem short compared with those requiring investigation though, and more often than not Ronan is walking through walls, shorting out electronics (with his limited power over the real world) and trying to find out what the hell killed him.

The ghostly detective eventually discovers that the evil creature that finished him off was actually looking for a woman hiding in an apartment building, and that she slipped away in the chaos of the fight. His next objective is to chase her down, pushing the officer forwards in his spooky adventure. Square Enix are keeping quiet on what happens to O'Connor after that, but we'll all find out next year when Soul Suspect launches.

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