PARANORMASIGHT: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo PC Review

PARANORMASIGHT: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo is a pleasant surprise from Squire Enix, a brilliant work of art that sets the genre's standard even higher.

By Rayan, Posted 11 Mar 2023

Japanese developers' magnetism in the video game industry has always been a mystery to me, especially when it comes to their horror games. Almost all the horror games developed in this part of the world shocked this genre in their unique ways. On the other hand, Square Enix may not have the most comprehensive list of horror visual novels other than their only published game Tokyo Dark in 2017; the announcement of PARANORMASIGHT: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo came as a complete surprise. On the surface, it appears to be just another horror visual novel, but you will find the game much more intriguing upon closer attention. Being developed and published by Square Enix, it's a unique game to play, and it is a game that deserves attention in every way.


Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo, PC, Review, Horror Visual Novel, Gameplay, Screenshots, Yoki
 

In contrast to most games, which require players to engage in a great deal of action and reward them with cut scenes, players of visual novels primarily consume stories with only sporadic opportunities to put their actions into practice. If you're not a reader, the sheer volume of text in a visual novel might put you off playing it, even if you enjoy stories in games. While PARANORMASIGHT: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo will be an exception. Beyond engrossing narratives, the game induced extensive visual enhancements and a story influenced by the player's decisions. It's an intelligent, creative, and maybe even brilliant visual novel that combines horror and mystery in a way that forces you to investigate urban legends even to their bitter end.

The events of PARANORMASIGHT: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo take place in 1980s Honjo, a real area that was part of Tokyo's Sumida Ward at the time. Many people in the area believe that bringing the dead back to life is within their grasp if they can learn the occult Ritual of Resurrection. So they obsessively collect stories about the afterlife in search of its secrets. People in Honjo are cursed with abilities straight out of the ghost stories for their fascination with the Rite of Resurrection. The game, however, is not what they seem to be at first glance. People living there were cursed by urban legend spirits, allowing them to use a curse to kill others. And if they kill enough people, they can carry out the coveted ritual.


Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo, PC, Review, Horror Visual Novel, Gameplay, Screenshots, Yoko, Shogo Okiie
 

The Storyteller reveals himself at the start of the game, establishing the first hint that the fourth wall will play a significant role in the game's climax. This will be reflected in a later stage of the plot, as the character places great importance on whether or not you are certain of the answer you give him. PARANORMASIGHT: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo's brief introduction sets the tone brilliantly before allowing you to dive into the game properly. While attempting to unravel the mystery of the Seven Mysteries of Honjo, curses, story arcs, intentions, and more, you'll begin to switch between their standpoints and other protagonists you've engaged with.

Shortly after your initial encounter with the Storyteller, you take control of Shogo Okiie, a young worker who finds himself in a deserted park in Tokyo with his friend Yoko by his side. Soon, though, the supernatural horror becomes apparent, and tragedy strikes. Then, Shogo comes across the mysterious Curse Stone, which grants him the ability to curse or kill anyone who satisfies the stone's requirements and assigns him the mission of tracking down and eliminating the other curse bearers to fully charge the stone for the Rite of Resurrection.


Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo, PC, Review, Horror Visual Novel, Gameplay, Screenshots, Shogo
 

When Yoko helps you piece together your hazy recollections, she reveals the Seven Mysteries of Honjo to Shogo Okiie, things that no one else can see. Meanwhile, other Sumida locals are looking into the urban legends passed down through the generations. Two detectives are looking into a string of unexplained deaths, a high school student trying to learn what led to the suicide of a classmate, a mother trying to learn what happened to her missing son, and others. Here, you'll tag along with the cursed seven as they endure a supernatural ordeal over the course of three days in pursuit of their wildest dreams and possibly experience an existential crisis or two along the way.

After finishing the prologue with Shogo Okiie, you'll unlock the Story Chart and the primary paths for the game's three protagonists, Harue Shigima, Tetsuo Tsutsumi and Yakko Sakazaki. A year after the kidnapping and murder of her son, Harue Shigima is still searching for answers. When she came to know about the Rite, she saw an opportunity. Inspector Tetsuo Tsutsumi, a high-ranking member of the police force, becomes embroiled in the Rite competition when, while looking into the death of a fellow officer, he decides to personally track down and seize all other curse bearers and their curse stones. At the end of her investigation into her friend's alleged suicide, high school student Yakko Sakazaki finds herself in possession of a curse stone of her own and comes to believe that her friend's death was not what it seemed.


Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo, PC, Review, Horror Visual Novel, Gameplay, Screenshots, Richter, Harue Shigima
 

Putting yourself in the shoes of any of these interesting people is a unique experience, as they all deal with their curses in very different ways. When their lives start to intertwine, the mystery starts to take off. Although they appear separate initially, the three stories entwine in surprising ways. The whole thing is like a giant puzzle box in which you must piece together information and decisions from the three storylines to advance the plot. Due to its heavy reliance on the player's experience, PARANORMASIGHT: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo is, admittedly, incredibly difficult to discuss beyond these fundamentals. There are narrative puzzles in the engaging novel that must be solved by making decisions and arranging certain events.

PARANORMASIGHT: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo's gameplay primarily entails moving from one part of the city to another and conversing with various NPCs to advance the plot. Much like most visual novels, it features multiple playable characters and branching storylines in which each individual's past influences and is affected by the present. The gameplay follows a fairly linear path, and the amount of actual gameplay is relatively low compared to the amount of text that must be read. You're not often given the option to curse someone, despite the widespread belief that such a decision rests solely within your control. The game allows you to explore, interact with NPCs, and tailor the story to your preferences by selecting appropriate dialogue options.


Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo, PC, Review, Horror Visual Novel, Gameplay, Screenshots, Yakko Sakazaki
 

Although the gameplay is simple and straightforward, it requires some strategic consideration. You're offered some control, but you won't have to put much effort into achieving it. The puzzles and decisions you'll have to make will test your resourcefulness and encourage you to think laterally. There are, of course, dialogue options, environments with 360-degree camera's panoramic view where you can click on characters and objects to learn about them or to interact. The Think/Recall button lets you reflect on different situations and piece together elements, and an item button shows your inventory. While the story itself is made up, it is inspired by actual locations in Japan and the urban legends that have grown up around them.

PARANORMASIGHT: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo forces you to pay attention to everything said at every turn and in conversation. The intriguing mythos of curses and curse bearers, blended with the actual myths of Honjo, set this game apart from others. In addition, the game offers multiple outcomes determined by your decisions while you're playing. Because of this, it has a lot of replay value, and you'll want to keep coming back to see if you can take any other paths. The Story Chart feature allows you to replay segments of the story to alter its progression. Since the stakes can literally be life or death at times, it's always exciting to go back and try again in the hopes of finding something new.


Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo, PC, Review, Horror Visual Novel, Gameplay, Screenshots, Erio, Tetsuo Tsutsumi
 

If you don't pay attention to all the details, PARANORMASIGHT: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo can be a difficult game. All curses are guaranteed to kill their targets if the holder of the curse fulfils the necessary conditions. The soul dregs of the victims of a curse holder's killing spell are collected in the curse holder's curse stone. So, while trying to save the life of your loved ones, you're probably going to die a lot during the gameplay. Some deaths simply can't be avoided because the only way to find out what to do is to suffer the effects of your opponent's curse or gain someone's trust.

Thankfully, you can relive each moment to figure out what went wrong, although sometimes it isn't obvious, even in death. This is where the game is most interesting. To avoid death each time, you need to resolve a unique puzzle and be creative to a level you could never think of. For instance, have you ever thought that muting the game's audio volume could be a solution to a puzzle? Of course, you haven't. So get prepared to be amazed to an even deeper level.


Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo, PC, Review, Horror Visual Novel, Gameplay, Screenshots, Mio, Yakko Sakazaki
 

PARANORMASIGHT: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo's presentation holds its own quite well. The game's visual style fits the story's tone and atmosphere perfectly. Although the characters are drawn in a static fashion reminiscent of anime, Junko Sumimizu has framed a scenography composed of well-designed illustrations. Given that it is based on a horror visual novel, all the character's expressions are very compelling, and there will be plenty of startling moments due to the foreboding atmosphere and audio. The music in the game has a mysterious vibe, with the piano, violin, and other instruments taking center stage. While the English subtitles alone make for a compelling viewing experience, the game's lack of voice acting seemed its only drawback.



 

PARANORMASIGHT: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo is a pleasant surprise from Squire Enix, a brilliant work of art that sets the genre's standard even higher. The game's dialogue-heavy design, challenging puzzles, and unexpected turns demand players' full focus. Fans of graphic novels will find PARANORMASIGHT: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo to be an unconventional and unsettling classic. There are some issues with the game's interface, and it might not be greatly terrifying, but the game's distinctive visual style and narrative make it worthwhile. It's a must-play for fans of both horror and visual novels and games that use multiple perspectives to tell a gripping story.
 

Azfar Rayan (@AzfarRayan)
Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC, Switch, Mobile
Publisher(s): Square Enix
Developer(s): Square Enix
Genres: Point And Click
Themes: Horror, Visual Novel, Adventure
Release Date: 2023-03-08

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