The core conceit of Paradise Killer is so brilliant and yet so simple: the player dictates how the whodunnit story plays out. This first person adventure title drops you into a fantastical island setting where you must solve a mass murder, but the responsibility rests with you. There's little guidance — you simply need to explore the open world environment, discover clues, and gather evidence by talking with the colourful suspects.
At first it can be overwhelming. The game throws a lot of unique terminology and lore at you from the off, and the first hour or so can be dizzying. However, like the core mystery, you'll slowly work out what the island is and who you're dealing with as you explore. It's an initially confounding, but eventually fascinating setting that allows for some truly wild twists and turns.
Gathering your own evidence means a lot of walking and talking, and while the idea of hunting down the answers yourself is truly engrossing — especially as the final pieces fall into place — the act of getting around can be a bit of a chore. The island is fairly large and it's pockmarked with people, collectibles, and valuable clues, not to mention important abilities that are inexplicably easy to miss. It's worth searching everywhere if you want to get the most from the story, but getting from A to B is slow, and fast travel will cost you an in-game currency, which is a little annoying.
However, Paradise Killer will gradually win you over. Part of its smart design is letting you begin the endgame trial, where you'll make your final accusations, whenever you like, giving you complete control over the outcome. When you're satisfied you know what happened, you can start proceedings and present your case — there is no single correct answer. Combined with a great, low-tech aesthetic and an excellent soundtrack, and this is a game with both style and substance.