Friday, July 18, 2014

Indefensible enjoyment

Out of fairness, and because both Soul Suspect the game and the unexpected love fest are over, there are a few problems that I need to point out. There is indeed some bitching that needs to be done. First and most unforgivable is how poorly Ronan controls. He's a ghost, he clips through the majority of objects in the world, and it was still difficult to get him pointed in the right direction or lined up with an object that he needed to interact with. To make it worse the problems were inconsistent: sometimes it was fine and other times he juddered through invisible barriers while the controller vibrated for no apparent reason. Perhaps Ronan was still getting used to his dead legs.

Yesterday I marveled at how the game made at least some effort to disguise walls used to guide the player with story based reasoning. Right after Ronan is killed he is greeted by a creepy little girls who serves as the tutorial. Ronan asks the following intelligent question: why I can walk through some walls and not others? The girl explains that any house that is consecrated is effectively sealed and that he will have to wait for a door or window to open before he can go in. It's a little silly but it is for the most part consistent.

Until it isn't and the game blocks off areas for no reason at all. If the player stumbles upon the gate to a later level and tries to go in Ronan simply turns around and says 'Nope, not going in there.' Instead of making use of the very fiction they used earlier to explain why he can't go into random houses the game just says 'No. You will go where I tell you when I tell you to go there.'

That's about all the vitriol I can muster. Either I am getting soft in my old age or I actually enjoyed the game. If it is the second and I have staved off dementia for another year there is a simple reason for it: the end of game twist was both unexpected and satisfying. When was the last time that happened? The person who was obviously the bell killer dies about an hour from the end, thus proving him innocent. Only he is the bell killer.

And so are several other people.

This is Salem, remember. There is possession involved, and that is about as far as I will take the spoiler.

I am loath to recommend the game because nearly combatless colectathons are not something I would call main stream. Or even niche. No, it somehow fits into a few oddly shaped pleasure centers in my head, and being about ghosts certainly doesn't hurt. If you happen to find a copy of Soul Suspect laying on the street or on your lawn and the disc is in working order by all means, give it a shot. You will know within the first ten minutes if what is there is good enough to get past the obvious flaws.

...that is some terrible box art though. God damn.

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