Taking place in Salem, Massachusetts, Murdered follows Detective Ronan O’Connor, a crook who was “born again”, more or less, and eventually decided to right his wrongs and become a member of the police force. In pursuit of a relentless serial killer, known by the townspeople as “The Bell Killer”, Ronan meets his grisly death by being thrown out of a window and shot several times. Revived as a ghost, Ronan must track down those involved with the murder and use his new found spectral powers to not only solve his own murder, but to discover the true identity of the Bell Killer too.
Unfortunately, Murdered never really takes full advantage of its locale or characters to provide an interesting story. Ronan himself is as uninteresting and generic as ever, and his support cast members are consist of poorly written, shallow caricatures of exactly what you’d expect to come out of a game set in Salem. With such a colourful history, it’s a shame to see such an interesting locale be wasted. It’s honestly as if the setting was chosen just to explain a way why Ronan can’t do certain things as a ghost that he should be able to do too. To make matters worse, the conclusion to the story is not fulfilling, nonsensical and quite frankly, unreasonably misleading.
Murdered is a pretty drab game to look at, unfortunately, and features a rather generic artistic direction too. The environments are large and empty, the characters are locked into generic and canned animations and there’s little that could really be considered impressive for game released so late in the consoles life cycle. What does save it, however, is some pretty nifty lighting effects that really five a great mood and vibe to the streets of Salem and its surrounding areas that Ronan explores as part of his investigation. On the PC version, light even shines through the bullet holes on Ronan’s body, which is a great and nice little touch. The visual effects used to depict all the ghostly objects, on the other hand, doesn’t quite look right and cheapens the whole look of the game.