Paranormasight Preview – Your Next Favorite Mystery Adventure
When Square Enix first revealed Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo, your guess was as good as mine when it came to understanding how this game fits in their current catalog. However, all I needed to know was that it was a mystery adventure with horror elements, and I was eagerly awaiting new information. Sadly, that didn’t really come, in fact, outside of this preview opportunity and the initial reveal, the details of Paranormasight or as much of a mystery as the game itself.
Regardless, after playing through the first chapter, I was left stunned by just how immersive this experience was. I traveled deeper and deeper down a rabbit hole of death, branching paths, and confusion.
Paranormasight has a great introduction as a mysterious man walks you through the various options and even takes a guess at your name. There’s a bit of foreshadowing that takes place, but soon you take on the role of Shogo Okiie hanging around the park after dark with his friend Yoko Fukunaga. Their relationship is playful, but they aren’t childhood friends or anything; they simply have a common goal of investigating the unknown, which is mainly fueled by Yoko’s fascination with the Seven Mysteries.
We’re treated to several scenes of how they met, with a few hints of backstory, but this opening is mostly linear. There’s an unsettling feeling in the scenes as the two discuss the idea of resurrection, but that’s when a curse takes Yoko’s life, which may or may not have been Shogo’s fault. This is about when he decides to do what he can to solve the Seven Mysteries and save Yoko or die trying.
Given that this happens in the game’s opening moments and is shown in the trailer, I felt it was okay to describe. However, I won’t spoil any more of the story. Shogo’s thought process is impulsive and immature, but I feel his actions are justified in the heat of things. I say this knowing full well that I played a part in a few of his actions.
Choice plays a role in making it through the trials ahead alive, and bad ends are waiting just around the corner. Luckily, it’s possible to retry, but it’s clear this game has some branching paths that may require a second approach. For example, investigating the environment may lead to needed clues to progress or helpful items to stay alive. Further, death plays a significant role in the experience, and the choice to kill appears several times with the prospect of resurrecting your friend. However, you don’t have to kill if you don’t want to.
Adventure elements include questioning characters you meet around town. You’ll know more about these characters in the future, but they do a great job of making an impact. All the information gathered is added to a menu organized with destinations, items, characters, and lore. It’s beneficial and needed to understand your true enemy.
Other features allow players to Think, which provides a clue on progressing. A checkmark represents completed topics, so you don’t select the same thing multiple times. This was exceptionally helpful when looking around environments.
The art direction and character designs are fantastic, which is no surprise considering The World Ends With You character designer Gen Kobayashi provided them. Further, the writing is impactful, with an easy-to-read font and a clear objective for moving forward.
While playing, I felt a sense of uneasiness as if, at any moment, something was going to happen. The high-quality transitions and animations played a significant part in this, making me forget that there wasn’t any voiced dialogue. Similar to Jake Hunter mystery games, yes, I made that comparison, you’ll be reading a lot, but I wasn’t taken out of the experience because of it, which is a compliment to the scenario writing from Takanari Ishiyama.
Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo was a mystery before I started playing, and it is still a mystery while I play. The choices I’m making are emotionally impactful to the overarching narrative, but they are often tough choices to make. The game begs the question, “How far would you go to bring someone back from the dead?” and that rings true during every moment of gameplay.
This is a mystery game that you need to experience for yourself. Each moment is tense, and that grows more true across each interaction. So I’ll hesitantly progress through all the bad ends that await me to see this experience through until the end.
Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo is coming to Nintendo Switch, PC via Steam, and iOS and Android devices on March 8, 2023.
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