Let’s start this review out with my most honest and brutal opinion and that is I don’t like Paradise Killer.
I cannot understand how this game is nominated for a Golden Joystick or how it’s gotten SO MANY positive reviews even to the point where on Metacritic people are calling the reviews out as padded fake reviews. I’ve played it, I’ve been playing it and the game does have some very creative merits I’m not going to discredit the real genuine work the developers have put into it. But there is just SO MUCH of the game that feels cheap.
“There is a Syndicate who created Paradise Islands to worship dead alien Gods who then force their citizens into worshiping them in psychic rituals but the worship invites demonic corruption from beyond the stars.”
That’s the opening narrative of the game no names of Gods, no name of the Syndicate no mention that the Paradise Islands are apparently in a separate reality of space-time which the NPC’s will mention later. That is the game narrative as a whole and continuing the narrative then spins out in a murder mystery of who did it.
Visually looks exactly like what you’d expect from someone just learning a game engine with only basic assets to use and nothing else the world itself is poorly designed and it felt as if they were writing to try and create a narrative that would work for the use of all of their assets.
It feels cheap, it feels like nothing belongs and it was all thrown together with the original artwork to try and sell it as a unique one of a kind game. The artwork they did use for the characters in the game is remarkably well done and very detailed being honest that is a true work of passion. If they approached every asset of the game with how the artist handled the character designs I might not be so critical of them.
During the game, we’re getting painted a picture of this large-scale island filled with inhabitants only to find it’s a large island made of default texture and 2D Character drawings to interact with and only those who are intrinsic to their narrative.
The core mechanic in the narrative of Paradise Killer is a Murder Mystery and I will say that was handled very well you go around asking questions as a real investigator would. Where were you on the night this person was murdered you cross-check it with information you find on the Island from cameras, terminals, etc to paint the narrative as to who could have done it.
Being an investigator is really refreshing and interacting with the various characters and asking them all sorts of questions to find a conclusive answer is arguably the best part of the game.
But what takes away from their key focus is the lack of creative writing and world-building in a game all things should tie together to create something unique and paint a larger picture. What is the overarching core focus of the entire game as a collective whole?
In the very beginning you’re told that you’ve been in exile for almost three million days the opening cut scene also suggests you’re dead so figure that one out. You’re given the whole backstory with the Syndicate the islands and their whole rebirthing process and you play as a character known as Lady Love Dies which collectively is very confusing.
You’re thrown into a seventies-styled murder mystery with neon colors, and very absurdly dressed characters to solve the murder of a government official.
But it doesn’t give you any depth about the character that you play as known as Lady Love Dies.
Who is Lady Love Dies?
What’s her Motivation?
I want a world with clear and precise answers to both the characters you interact with and the character you play as and I’m not getting anything. You want me to believe this overarching narrative between Alien Gods, Demons, and Psychic rituals forced onto citizens. You’re building this giant island and then removing potential key witnesses from the entire island and just inhabiting the same island with only characters you feel are important to the story of Paradise Killer.
You’ve created an empty world that feels like it has no life to it, you’ve created homes, stores, and even a military complex but you then use the excuse that the citizens have been evacuated to the new Island so you don’t have to put them in there as witnesses.
You mention these key points only in communication with NPC’s and not as a whole for the overarching narrative at the beginning which creates more questions that can only be answered by playing a game that feels void of life.
What makes me want to care about these characters and the game’s narrative?
Your only selling point for me would be the creative art direction you took for the characters as a whole and the core mechanic of investigating the murder. Collectively Paradise Killer is lacking in many aspects of good storytelling.
Finally, the last thing I have issues with is collecting items through the game is more of a chore than anything as when you pick up any items you are presented with a full screen telling you what item you got and then telling you to press said your bound key to return to the game. At times it’s more distracting than helpful when you are in essence finding a penny on the ground and being told congratulations you’ve found a penny in a chat box the size of a billboard.
It’s not even done just for currency but for every single item in the entire game regardless of what it is and it’s so very distracting. Combined that with the need to add sensor mosaics and the seventies theme they have forced into their narrative of Alien Gods, Demons, the Syndicate, and Murder Mystery it feels that they have just thrown collectively everything they could into this game.
Conclusively I don’t think the game is good it does two things very right and the rest all wrong and I can’t help but feel that there are some background shenanigans going on for the reviews. I can’t prove it, so I won’t call anyone out on it but for me, it seems overly suspicious.
I’m also convinced that some assets in the game are in high contrast to fit with the seventies theme to hide the fact of their stock images. But again, I haven’t come across solid proof yet despite looking further into the matter.
But as a whole, I can’t say I wouldn’t recommend Paradise Killer unless you’re interested in just those two points I mentioned earlier. But that’s just my opinion as an independent reviewer and in the end, it’s your choice to purchase it or not
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