Paradise Never, officially announced only a week before PAX East, is a game that feels quite dense. The game’s density is not a bad thing, however. In fact, during my time with the game at last week’s show, I was impressed by how much the game had going for it.
Paradise Never is built around the concept of political turmoil and a constant three day cycle. In the game, players are thrown into the midst of a revolution. The player, along with a handful of friends and other residents of your native island, have been subjected to unjust rule by France. In Paradise Never, it is time for revolution.
This revolution is the narrative thread that holds the different elements of Paradise Never together. The game’s tagline, ‘The Revolution Fails’, illuminates on the idea that players will have to do everything in their power to ensure that freedom from France is achieved. In Paradise Never, the main way of doing this is by manipulating the game’s three day cycle.
Players are given the chance to right the wrongs of their revolution thanks to a misanthropic crow. Described to me as a goddess within the context of Paradise Never’s world, this crow revels in disorder and chaos. Perfectly suited for the revolutionary drama manifesting on Paradise Never’s central island, the crow has used its powers to ensure that the main character can return to the start at the revolution. This cycle is Paradise Never’s key mechanic.
The crow resides in the underworld and has the ability to grant the player unique ‘seals’ that can keep the citizens of the island alive. Due to the emphasis on random events and a constantly evolving nation in the throes of revolution, Paradise Never is built around the idea that events occur dynamically in the game. As such, just about anyone can die at any given time. When players lose all of their seals, the cycle begins anew.
With the desire to launch a successful revolution firm in the player’s mind, Paradise Never unfolds into a game about choice and consequence. The island world of Paradise Never is randomly generated each time the three day cycle restarts, keeping players on their toes as they attempt to complete quests and aid the revolution.
The characters of Paradise Never are the stars of the game. Each non-playable character is fleshed out and capable of full conversation with the player. Interacting with and learning from the various characters that popular the island of Paradise Never are the keys to furthering the revolution.
By creating dynamic characters against the backdrop of constant change to the game world, Paradise Never can create continually shifting narrative moments. The lover of a particular NPC can die, allowing the character – who might be integral to a quest – to become wracked with depression. Players can glean information about the deceased in a different timeline, allowing you to ultimately help the aforementioned NPC overcome their emotions. This level of detail and depth is what guides the player’s journey through Paradise Never.
Keeping track of the various characters and quests that the player encounters is one of the only constants throughout Paradise Never’s three day cycle. By using a phone, the player is able to keep tabs on the various inhabitants of the islands and the tasks they require of you.
Throughout my time with Paradise Never, I found that it felt like anything was possible. At one point I took up a quest that involved doing business with a local smuggler. At each point in the questline, I was treated to numerous options in regards to how I would approach the situation. Do I steal a boat to get to the dead-drop location? Or hoof it so as to not raise any suspicion? Should I try to keep the booty for myself? The choice presented to players can be overwhelming. For those who want a detailed and deep video game experience – the kind that Paradise Never offers – this is a dream come true.
My hands-on time with Paradise Never barely scratched the surface of what is possible in the game. With fifty plus different NPCs, countless dialogue choices and the ability to replay the same three days continually, Paradise Never is a RPG that dares to stand out. If you’re looking for a title to keep you invested in its strong narrative and interesting characters and world, then keep your eyes peeled for Paradise Never when it releases in the near future for the PC, Mac and Linux.
“Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”