Did you hear that? A new paranormal investigation game is now out on Steam. If you haven’t, why not check out Conrad Stevenson’s Paranormal P.I., developed by D&A Studios? Take on jobs to check out haunted homes and find out what lurks in the dark. Anyone who loves the supernatural can pick it up for £12.79.
This house is clean.
With October drawing near and Halloween slowly approaching, why not start early with a horror game review? The screenshots on Conrad Stevenson’s Paranormal P.I. gave me the impression of Phasmaphobia and Demonologist. Except instead of being scared with friends, it’s just you. I can’t wait to see what the game has in store since, right now, it’s in early access.
We play Conrad, a guy who starts a paranormal investigation firm. In which he hopes to get evidence that ghosts exist. The player will spawn in Conrad’s shop. Here, you can walk around and look at some of the exhibits, and after finishing some ghost investigations, check out the evidence you’ve collected.
Once you’ve looked around, head to Conrad’s Office and use his computer. The computer holds many helpful features, such as jobs from clients asking for your help. Now, these emails ask you to come check out their haunted homes. They also provide helpful information for you to use in your investigation. This useful info is highlighted yellow for the player so that you can select the right information and create a note. Taking notes is vital to Conrad Stevenson’s Paranormal P.I. game loop. I’ll explain more about note-taking later.
Visiting paranormal sites.
After reading through the email and using the map to select a location, we arrived on the scene to begin investigating. The player won’t find much on their first or second visit, but this is normal. No P.I. is nothing without some fun gadgets to help them out. Some tools available are a Voice Recorder, Temperature Reader and the ghost-hunting classic EMF Detector. These gadgets will be vital for collecting evidence of any ghostly presence.
You’ve got the equipment and the location. All that’s left is to find out what exactly is haunting the area. As you wander around the house checking for cold spots or fluctuations on the EMF, you may spot some newspaper clippings or documents relating to these ghosts. Taking the documents back provides the player with more helpful information on a specific spectre. Most locations in Conrad Stevenson’s Paranormal P.I. have multiple.
Searching for spectres.
With the new information we’ve gathered, we can narrow down what ghosts we are against. Selecting specific notes will trigger the specified ghost to react more during our next visit. For example, choosing the phrase “crying in the living room” will cause the player to hear crying more frequently or selecting “seen a person’s shadow creeping along in the hallway” can make the spectre appear.
Gadgets like the Camera will allow the player to gain visual evidence while the Audio Recorder will gather audio. The one thing this game does require from the player is patience, as gathering evidence does take time. I spent nearly an hour trying to get the ghost of a little girl to appear. When using the Audio Recorder, Conrad can ask one of several questions to try and capture the voice of the spirit or any sounds that may occur.
New gadgets and ghost types.
Not all ghosts are the same, so different equipment is needed to help record them. Some of the various ghosts you’ll meet are Residual Ghosts who act like basic spirits. They don’t talk directly to you and can’t interact with the environment. Another type is called an Intelligent Ghost. They can speak to you through a spirit box or turn lights on and off. Shadow people are another variation of Intelligent ghosts that appear as shadowy figures that roam the halls.
Since Shadow Ghosts are harder to see, invest in new equipment to help capture them. For example, a new camera you can set up for when you’re not in the room to take a photo. Smudges will be handy when you need to release a ghost, as certain types require specific Smudges, such as Juniper for Residual or Thyme for Intelligent/Shadow.
We have the evidence now time to set them free.
We’ve gathered all the evidence on the spectre. Now, it’s time to release the spirit. To perform the release ritual for a ghost, you must first find the relic that keeps them there. These relics are usually something that the spirit felt most connected to, such as an army patch or a wedding ring. Once the player finds the relic and what type of ghost it is. They can begin the ritual by using the correct Smudge and walking around the ghost’s area until it lights up.
Once the Smudge starts to glow, place down the relic and follow the golden orb. The orb will stop and ask you a question about the ghost. The documents you found earlier will help with the answers. When the player has answered two or three questions, they can return to where the ritual began and finally release the spirit.
Graphics & Audio
While the textures and graphics of Conrad Stevenson’s Paranormal P.I. may not look the best, it feels like the developers put an overwhelming amount of effort into the atmosphere of the game. Peaking down a corridor is terrifying, even when well-lit, at the risk of seeing something peeking back at you or silently walking by. The game plays with silence well, in that besides the sound of ambient wind, doors and floorboards creaking, there is no other noise. It kept me on edge while carefully listening for an audible indication that a spirit was active nearby. The silence further unsettled me as even though the ghosts had footsteps at times, often I would turn around, and a ghost would be standing silently behind me, watching.
The ghost’s voices are brilliant. The eerie whispers and low-toned speech were hair-raising, and, at other times, a ghost shouting directly behind me would make me jump out of my skin. The only downfall was that Conrad’s voice acting felt slightly flat and unfeeling, even when empathising with a ghost and releasing their spirit. Though there is an option to enable jump scares, I believe the game does an excellent job of keeping you on the edge of your seat without them.
I’ve played Conrad Stevenson’s Paranormal P.I. for nearly ten hours and have only finished one home. And even that wasn’t 100%. I have four locations I’ve unlocked and have just started making progress on the second. I can happily sink another ten hours into this game easily, and since the game is in early access, more content is on the way.
I had a blast playing Conrad Stevenson’s Paranormal P.I. after I started to get a grasp on things. For example, I struggled to make certain ghosts appear until I realized you had to have all the notes focusing on that specific ghost. I would prefer an equipment wheel instead of a toolbar, as I kept messing up my buttons when trying to get the camera out to snap a photo. While looking through the settings, I saw that the jump scares are optional and set to off. It was a pleasant surprise as I got jump-scared quite frequently while playing. If you’re like me and prefer to play solo or want something similar to Phasmophobia. Then this game might be worth checking out.
It’s good to see a fun horror game that tries not to rely too much on jump scares. I give Conrad Stevenson’s Paranormal P.I. the Thumb Culture Gold Award.
If you enjoyed this review then check out Tony’s Gameboy Colour Preview on Bottle Boy.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.