Paradigm City

by James Rhoden

Superhero
2017

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A choicescript dark superhero game, February 15, 2021
by autumnc
Related reviews: hosted games

This is one of the numerous superhero games originating in the choicescript ecosystem. Similar to the Heroes Rise trilogy and Fallen Hero: Rebirth, which was published a year later, Paradigm City leans towards the darker, more "realistic" side of the genre, towards what TVTropes would call "deconstruction". I enjoyed playing the game, but it isn't as successful for a number of reasons.

Paradigm City takes place in a world where superheros are an accepted part of society, working for governments and organizations as part of their forces. The player character is abandoned as a child to a superhero academy, and later ends up working for a UN (I think) superhero agency called SOLAR. They are sent to the titular Paradigm City, an isolated city run entirely by superpowered individuals, to solve a series of crimes. Of course, things become more complicated. The worldbuilding isn't as extensive as some of the longer choicescript superhero series, but it gets the job done well enough.

The game's writing felt overly vague at times. A lot of events were glossed over or barely explained; to me the most egregious was (Spoiler - click to show)Dawn's death, which jumped straight into the funeral with implications of conspiracy, but wasn't ever explained or resolved. But maybe I just picked the wrong choices? The fight scenes were impressive, but there were only two of those (and one training exercise). The investigation scenes felt like lawnmowering, just picking all the choices until reaching the conclusion. The mysteries weren't all too interesting to me, but mysteries in the usual choicescript stat-based style are hard to do. There is romance and relationship-building, but it feels like an afterthought solely due to the choicescript style. I thought I had started a romance but there was no content afterwards.