Paradise Killer Feels like a Sequel to a Game I’ve Never Played

Many great mysteries begin with a smaller mystery. In the Agatha Christie classic And Then There Were None, eight strangers are mysteriously summoned to an isolated island. In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, a group of students find themselves trapped inside a school with no memory of how they arrived. These mysteries can spark your curiosity, making you feel invested in the story long before there’s a murder to solve.

Paradise Killer begins with a wall of text. And then another, and then another. After she was tricked by a god, an investigator named Lady Love Dies was exiled from paradise. Also, this happened on an island that is continually rebooting in the hopes of creating a utopia. Also, some guy named Henry Division let a bunch of demons onto the island and those demons slaughtered a lot of people. Also, there is a council and that entire council has been murdered. Also, Lady Love Dies is the only island’s only investigator, so that exile is no longer applicable.

If that sounds overwhelming, it’s because Paradise Killer absolutely is overwhelming. Frequently. The game is constantly bombarding you with information about Idle Lands and the Starlight system as if you already know what these things are. The unusual character names can make this even more difficult to parse. For example, the god that deceived Lady Love Dies was named “Damned Harmony.” It took me a good minute to realize that the game wasn’t just cursing some lady named Harmony.

The problem with Paradise Killer isn’t necessarily that the plot is complex; it’s the way that the information is distributed. The info dump at the start of the game feels like a recap of a long-running game series, not the opening of a brand-new title. Paradise Killer would be much more interesting if it fed that backstory to you little by little. I don’t necessarily need to know why Lady Love Dies was exiled or that the island is continuously rebooting — not yet, anyway. These could have been genuinely interesting reveals if the game had been a little more patient.

Paradise Killer is an incredibly stylish game that’s perfectly suited to cultivating an atmosphere of intrigue. On city streets, there are signs politely requesting you to report demonic corruption. The game’s UI looks like the cover of a synth pop album. I’m hopeful that, as I play more of Paradise Killer, the game will tell me a little less and let me be curious a little more.

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