Paradigm Paradox Review – A Paradox Between Evil and Justice

    Title: Paradigm Paradox
    Developer: Otomate, Josh
    Release Date: October 27, 2022
    Reviewed On: Switch
    Publisher: Aksys Games
    Genre: Otome

Back when I was getting into otome games and honing my Japanese knowledge, it was appalling that there’s an absolute trove of games that don’t feel like they would ever get a Western release. But in a shocking development, publisher Aksys suddenly started pumping out so many otomes for this year and the next, with Paradigm Paradox mixed between those. This collaborative effort of a game between one of Japan’s most influential voice acting agencies with Otomate certainly surprised people, myself included when it was released.

In the far future of 25XX, Paradigm Paradox follows Yuuki Takanashi, a seemingly ordinary high school girl who leads her monotonous life under the great walls of a colony named Theta. As she mourns her boring life, she suddenly comes in contact with the Blooms, a group of four superheroes that were regarded by most as urban legends. Awakening to her latent powers, Yuuki then decides to fight alongside them, but in the process, learns more about her world and herself.

In Paradigm Paradox, there are eight routes divided into Villainous Justice and just Justice. Accessing specific Villainous Justice routes requires you to view specific good endings from the Justice routes before proceeding. It might sound weird, but it’ll make sense once you’ve played through every route. Each is relatively short, except two in particular, which I won’t say are due to spoilers.

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As you’d expect from an otome game, once you’ve locked into a Love Interest, you must get their Affection high enough for that. Though if I’m being honest, the Common Route leaves to be desired because the introduction of each character’s personality and quirks is superficial at best and only serves as a means to an end; or that is to say, to get to the route of the character that “strikes your fancy.” By the time the action and introductions kick in, you’re probably already locked on the first segment of a particular character’s route.

Now, let’s talk about my favorite part of the review: Paradigm Paradox’s translation. And the outcome is…the translation is good, but the text editing has a lot of mistakes. None of them are outrageous enough to make someone care from an English standpoint, but that doesn’t excuse the fact they’re there.

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Sometimes, the text would end awkwardly, and some dialogue boxes would be completely blank, which broke the immersion. Furthermore, the script would add or omit terms that were not a thing in the original Japanese. While I understood why some choices were made, either to reduce repetitiveness or to prevent the pitfall of sounding too stilted, some felt a bit awkwardly edited in, to be honest.

When it comes to the animations and the UI, they’re a bit more simplistic this time around. No fancy Live2D, but all of the illustrations in each route are very well drawn. And the localization team once again picked a decent font for the dialogue, thank goodness. Navigating the menus can also all be done via the touch screen if you’re playing on Handheld Mode. While this rather minimalistic approach might not even begin to compare with Cupid Parasite’s UI, it’s nice that it doesn’t look like it was sticker-bombed at random.

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I might be digressing a bit, but even the Justice and Villainous routes vary significantly in their presentation. The former felt like a silly Sunday morning cartoon, à la Power Rangers, and the latter felt way more serious and moody in comparison, as the main character starts to become an anti-hero of sorts. And then you have the final two routes that take everything you knew and probably some more and just throw it all together for one heck of a plot twist. But, of course, saying any further would be entering spoiler territory, so I’ll stop here.

While Paradigm Paradox doesn’t stick the landing when it comes to setting up its premise, once you’ve gotten deep enough in its tale, you’ll start to appreciate and create a sense of fondness for each character. Even though the individual routes sometimes had some somewhat unfavorable endings, in my opinion, not to mention the countless editing mishaps, I enjoyed and even laughed at the interactions between the love interests. All of the different points of view were amusedly worded.

Score:
7.5/10
A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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