I have had my eye on this game for quite some time. The whole premise behind it as playing as a ghost seems very interesting to me. Some of the artwork I seen made it look even better. The story seemed intriguing as well. After spending some time with the game, these are my thoughts on it.
You play as Ronan O’connor who is a detective for the Salem, Massachusetts police department. You are pursuing a serial-killer by the name of the Bell Killer. In the opening scene you confront the killer and you are tossed out of a window into the street below. A little while later the killer is next to you and uses your own gun to shoot seven rounds into your body, effectively killing you. This is where the story starts and the start of the clue hunting takes center stage.
One of the first things you get to do is control a few of you own limbs. This really had me worried as to how the game play was going to play out. One of the things it does is asked you to move your arm to reach for a doorknob. Later, while you are laying in the street and playing as your soul, you have to lay down and try to get back into your body. You have to move your hand, leg and face a certain way in order to match up to how your actual body is laying on the ground. Thankfully this is the only time you are asked to do this. If the whole entire game would have been like that I’m not sure if I would have finished it.
I ran across quite a few bugs and glitches in this game. Some were so bad I had to close the game and restart it back up, losing some of my progress from the last auto save. Nothing locked the console up. Just some game stopping moments.
One of the things that was totally inexcusable was the lack of quality control between what the characters spoke and the dialog that was on the screen. There was a few times what was spoken did not match what the subtitles stated. To me this should never happen. Everything goes off the same script. How this can happen is astonishing. I even ran across one lady that should have had dialog. The prompt was there to interact with her but nothing was spoken or no words appeared on the screen. It did prompt me to reply with an answer though. Even going as far as restarting the console didn’t fix the problem. That showed to me that Square Enix and Airtight Games didn’t have a lot of quality control testing during the development.
There was two instances where I had to shut down the game and boot it back up in order to continue. The first one came on a side mission with Brad. After collecting all of the necessary clues to solve his small problem. I went back to him to turn it in. It gave me the prompt to do so but it would not activate. The prompt just kept coming back. My character would then just be frozen in his tracks. I couldn’t move anywhere. I could move the camera around but that was it. Another instance was collecting one of the graffiti ghost images on a wall. Once I activated the collect button nothing happened. No short cut scene or anything. The prompt was no longer there and I couldn’t move once again.
There was some other smaller problems that stuck out to me as well. Not like the ones above did but they are noticeable. In a few scenes the shadows on a couple of characters would pop on and off. One second it would be there and the next it was completely gone. Like a switch was being turned on and off. While you are possessing a cat and it ran into a wall/corner it would cause the cat to shake tremendously until you backed away from it. A few times while walking through a wall I would get stuck about half way through it. I would have to take a couple steps backwards and try it again which then allowed me to go through it. While tracking a demon the prompt to execute them would not appear sometimes causing me to get caught, or have to run away and hide. Those are more annoyances then anything. With a little more testing they could be cleared up without much trouble. They didn’t break the game at any point but they certainly made it a little more frustrating.
Another big thing that turned me off from the game was the pacing of it. There really is no combat what so ever. The only thing that resembles combat is when you try to execute a demon. You have to come up behind it and press the R2 button to start the execution. Then you just simple press the left joystick in the direction it tells you and press one of the single action buttons as well. That is it. No quick QTEs, no shooting, no physically combat what so ever. It only takes a few seconds to execute a demon. Normally there are two, sometimes up to 4, demons at a time around each other. Picking them off one at a time can take some strategy but it’s really not all that hard. When executing a demon it will not alert another one. The only way you will get caught if one turns around and sees you. The demons themselves felt like an add-on at the last minute to make things a little more exciting. They really have no place in the story or in the world. There is no detail about them or any kind of backstory. They are just there. They are more of a nuisance then anything. Once those are dealt with, you are back to the normal walking around trying to find clues. If you are good at that, then the story progress can speed up some. If you have trouble then it becomes quite boring walking around looking for things. I literally fell asleep a few times searching for clues. The game can sometimes literally come to a crawl.
Without there being any combat, the game is quite easy. There is no difficulty level to select. There are no timed missions. Nothing that you can fail on either. Did I die, yeah I did a few times but that was just trying to get away from the demons. If you are a Harry Potter fan then you will instantly connect the demons to Dementors from that series. They try to suck the soul out of you. Other than that the game is actually really easy. To the point that it gets boring after a while. For me, I would have to classify it as Heavy Rain type of boring. Same concept here. Instead of trying to save your son’s life, you are trying to solve your own murder.
While the game did have problems the story is what kept me going in it. Even the ending, with the few added twists and turns, was remarkable. I thought I had the ending figured out the chapter before, but I was wrong. The overall story is compelling and very well told. Unfortunately it is a bit short. If you go through the game and ignore all the unnecessary collectibles (242 in all), the story could be beaten in about 6 hours or so. If you want to collect everything, you are looking about a 10 hour game, or so. The supporting character, Joy, is well played and seamlessly goes along with your character through the story. Those two play off each other really well. You can sense a father/daughter type of relationship even though they are not related. You will also come across another supporting character named, Abigail, or as I called her during the game, Wednesday Addams. She was almost spot on that character. She helps leads you through the story all the way up until the end.
In conclusion should you get this game? That depends on the type of game that you like. If you like to solve mysteries and good stories, then absolutely you should. You would really enjoy this game. If you like a lot of action and intense moments, then no, this game is not for you. To me, as it sits right now, it is not worth the full sixty dollars that it is currently going for. I would pay no more than forty for this game. With how short it is and all the bugs and glitches that I ran across I really can’t recommend this game with a lot of enthusiasm. If you have nothing else to play and catch it on sale later, or when the price drops, to again, forty or below, I say go for it. It’s not a total disappointment, it’s just mediocre.