Magical mysteries, ancient blood cults and demonic high-rise apartments. It’s the core of the wild story behind Paradise Killer, a game that came from nowhere to be one of 2020’s most cracking games.
In Paradise Killer, players are sent on an open world odyssey to discover the secrets behind the crime of the century: the murder of an all-powerful island Council and the corruption of the 24th Island Sequence where they live.
It’s your job to discover the culprits amongst a cloud of suspicion, with secrets around every corner of the island as you unravel a vast, almost incomprehensible conspiracy. The journey takes you across the 24th Island Sequence, the deeper reaches of space and beyond. You’ll even cross the void and discover interdimensional parasites along the way.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in Paradise Killer’s wide open world, particularly in the opening chapters. But the open-ended narrative means you gain a freedom to explore that’s not often provided in murder mysteries. You’re rarely prompted with hints or tips. There’s no quests to complete or tasks to cross off — but that doesn’t mean you won’t have plenty to do.
By not telling you where to go or who to speak to, Paradise Killer turns the entire island into a mystery. Enjoy your lonely adventure, the game says, dropping you in its shiny, golden landscape. Exploration is expected, especially since the game culminates in a game-ending accusation that you have to back up with facts. Those facts can only be found through patience and observation, and if you come unprepared, you’ll sentence the wrong person to death.
Take your time to uncover every stray hair, every mislaid knife and you’ll see justice delivered on the island.
The looseness of Paradise Killer‘s mechanics, unbound by quest rewards or linear narratives, is truly unique. You’ll discover clues that initially seem small, a key, or a passcode in stray conversation. But that unlocks another secret across the island, and eventually those tiny clues will lead you through every city street, ancient cave and planet as the mystery falls into place.
Nothing is as it seems on the 24th Island Sequence — with the exception of the gorgeous, techno-infused cyber-future beats and style, which never gets old.
In anything else, the slower pacing and player-led gameplay might wear thin. But Paradise Killer‘s overarching narrative consistently fascinates. There’s drops of Cthulian lore, but mostly it carves out a unique tale. The strange murders are backgrounded by a society who worships galactic gods and battles the influence of the demonic realm every day. When you mix in illegitimate children, nightmare computers and neon-infused ghosts, you’ve got a very intriguing brew, indeed.
It’s the kind of world that lives on in your head, even when you’re not playing.
The game’s mysteries are many, and you’ll need to use your head to tease out the correct solutions. Who did it? How did they do it? Why did they do it? Where did this ancient, mythical portal come from?
Why is there a nude blue alien following your every move?
It’s a ending that feels earned after hours wandering the island. It’s devastating and brutal, but in the game’s final moments all the threads come together in a brilliant, world-ending conclusion.
Paradise Killer makes you earn the solution through blood, sweat and excellent detective work. It’s what all detective stories should aspire towards. It’s one of the year’s biggest and best surprises, and if you haven’t played it yet, add it to your list right now.