"Paranormal Preparatory School"—School's not hell, but it is on top of it!

Playing this like I’m Yusuke Urameshi. It’s working so far. And surprisingly fitting.

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So, at the risk of catching slack for this, I feel like I have to say it:

If I could sum up this game in two words, they would be “bad faith,” because that’s the position the narrative seems to be arguing from.

I don’t want this to turn into an angry rant, but it might happen anyways in the course of me outlining my point, so I apologize if I seem a bit hostile at any point during this:

Right from the beginning, the characters are all hostile towards you, with the friendliest of them being sarcastic at best, and they and the narrative waste no time trying to hammer it into your skull that, “humans bad, supernaturals poor abused victims, you owe them the world,” even though these same supernaturals will then turn around and mock humanity for every thing they possibly can and overtly threaten violence for every presumed slight and take great joy out of treating you like dirt, and if you try to fight back and stick up for yourself, but make the mistake of not having the stats to meet the required checks, they have the gall to act offended that you even tried.

It feels like every choice I make or piece of dialogue between characters or bit of banter is expecting me to unconditionally side with the supernatural, and if I don’t, the narrative leaps on the chance to call me out for being a closed-minded racist human asshole. Hell, sometimes, even if you succeed the checks, it feels like you’re still being heavily judged for your choices. About the point where Matron asked me for advice - I didn’t offer to help, they ASKED ME - and I got it wrong, and Michelle had the nerve to sneer at me for even trying, I really started feeling like the story was going out of its way to vilify me at every chance it could. And when a SUCCESSFUL skill check with Lady Rastan still resulted in me being forced to go outside, because how dare I want some time to process my situation and unwind away from the other students, I started wondering if it was possible to have a “right” answer.

And my extremely presumptuous aunt tells me point blank that it’s my responsibility, as the sole human student in the school, to keep the peace between the supernatural students and set right the old grudges between them and humanity. Oh, she sets it up like she’s asking a favor of me, but the dialogue from that point on is that it’s my job and I’m supposed to be doing it.

Lady, your job was to keep an eye on me while my parents were away, not force me to enroll in your school and be shoved face-first into your students’ drama, where do you get off with this crap?

Why is it my responsibility? What, because I’m human? We’re really dumping the onus of responsibility on my shoulders because my fellow humans sometimes act like crap towards the supernatural? You serious? And you really think that getting these two SMALL, TEENAGE GROUPS to play nice with each other is going to fix the overarching racial issues of the whole world? Because that’s what keeps getting shoved in my face: “if this succeeds, it’ll prove that cohabitation between our respective species is possible!”

No, it’ll only prove that these particular kids can get along with each other.

Hi, Aunt Cavalcade: I don’t represent the greater interests of humanity, and these kids don’t represent the greater interests of the lycanthropic or vampiric peoples. We represent ourselves, and only ourselves. I have also commit no crimes for which I owe anybody any apology, and refuse to shoulder the blame for another person’s faults. Kindly step off with your self-righteous nonsense.

Speaking of self-righteous nonsense, this is the first game where I physically said, out loud, “how dare you?!” in response to a character’s actions. I think it was Max, and the line he threw at me was to the effect of, “Some of us have lost family to human treachery,” with the unspoken but very clear implication that I’m supposed to apologize and make amends for this event, that I had no hand in, and should not be shouldering the blame for.

I’d like to know what evidence of this human treachery there is that I’m supposed to be trying to make amends for, according to this school, because every human you meet in the game is actually pretty reasonable, downright charitable even (Cavalcade notwithstanding), and the most you ever hear about humans being pricks is from secondhand implications and the occasional, “oh yeah, this guy’s acting like a prick, by the way.”

It doesn’t help, either, that the narrative is really pushy about you doing what it wants you to - normally, when a game presents progress bars for different plot points, you have the option to either engage with, or ignore certain content as you so choose. In this game, if you try to avoid dealing with the student turf war, both Rastan and Cavalcade get up your ass about it at every possible turn: “Are you doing your job? Why aren’t you doing your job? You’re supposed to be doing your job. You’re gonna do your job, right? You’d better do your job, it’s what you’re supposed to do. If you don’t do your job, the consequences will be severe.”

Enough already. Harping on me does not make me more inclined to want to help you, it makes me want to set my feet and let the school fail on purpose out of spite.

And probably the most damning thing, for me, is that the story at one point goes, “hey, so now would be a great time to flirt and schmooze with your fellow students, you know, if you feel up to it.”

Really. These kids have consistently treated me like crap the whole story so far, even when they were being nice to me, and you really think I’m gonna waste my time romancing any of them? I almost started a romance with Will just to spite the story - oh, I have all these supernatural options? Hmm, nah, I’m gonna hook up with the only human option instead.

I ultimately decided to go no-romance. It didn’t feel worth it to even try.

I… yeah. I don’t know what to say here, other than that this is likely the first game where I’ve ever actually been genuinely pissed off after I got done reading it. And not because I’m super invested in the story, but because I feel like I’ve been bullied by the story the whole way through. I’ve been annoyed with stories, I’ve been unimpressed with them, I’ve enjoyed the stories themselves but hated the main cast, but this story is the first one where I have gotten this mad.

So yeah, I’ll probably catch some guff for saying all this, but I needed to get it off my chest.

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I actually thought a lot of that stuff was … pretty realistic? If you look at this game as an analogy for real-life social justice issues … it holds up. We do have a tendency to treat individuals or small groups of people as representative of entire groups. How many people who are the “first black” or “first woman” or “first gay” whatever have felt the intense pressure to be perfect, knowing that their personal failings would reflect on everyone else of their “kind”? And members of the majority who find themselves in minority spaces do have to prove themselves, whether or not that’s entirely “fair.” Being called out for a microaggression over something trivial and well-meaning is frustrating, but so is constantly having to be reminded in trivial ways by well-meaning people that you don’t really fit in. And we do learn to see promise in small victories. Paranormal Preparatory School touches upon all of these things, and I thought it did so well, in the context of a comedic adventure story and with just enough distance that we can sympathize with both perspectives. It obviously didn’t do that for you.

Although I enjoyed this game, there’s another CoG game that left me feeling degraded, and honestly, what you’ve said here feels a lot like what was going through my mind then. I’m so sorry, and I’m glad you shared your perspective here. There really is a lot of sarcasm and negativity in this game, and it’s fair to warn people about that, so they can go in knowing what to expect or decide this game just isn’t for them.

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You said this much more eloquently than I could. This game resonated with me BECAUSE of the realistic depiction of interactions between a minority group and, what could ostensibly be called, an intruder from the majority.

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It’s less about the real-life comparison for me, than it is the game itself basically beating the player over the head with it, regarding choices and all. There are moments where the majority of the choices might be along the lines of “It’s the right thing to do”, if not including those exact words (I might be a bit off on the exact wording).

There’s one choice in particular that stands out to me about what the author clearly intended for the player, where it’s along the lines of “using your standing as a good student” to convince someone of something, when there’s nothing in the game that lets you have the opportunity to even be that. Even worse, there are options prior to that which suggest the opposite, with the ability to choose that the MC had a habit of sneaking out, and to even do it while at Cavalcade . To me, this reads as the author having a clear intention of what they wanted players to envision and play the MC as, which in effect invalidates any choice the player makes.

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The only thing I would push back on is the students treating you like crap the entire time. I found that, while initially hostile, they were actually pretty welcoming of you if you made the effort. Sure, they continue to be annoyed or suspicious of HUMANS, but they don’t seem to include the MC in that for much of the story. I haven’t done a romance playthrough with the vampire but Max seems pretty okay with the idea of dating a human (and even the romance between the vampire and werewolf side characters there is an option that says it would be better received if the vampire was human).

If you pass skill checks they also seem pretty content to listen to you regarding things that really have nothing to do with you, like the werewolf leadership issues or the vampire wanting to be cured. Sure, if you fail the skill checks they basically tell you to mind your own business but that seems fairly realistic. If someone competent and intelligent gives you advice on something, even if it isn’t really their business, you tend to listen to them, but if someone blunders in and doesn’t know what they are talking about you’re probably going to be pretty blunt in telling them to sod off.

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I definitely agree that the author had a certain kind of character in mind, at least to some extent. The closest I can get to a self-insert in this game is “sincere and full of eldritch knowledge.” I would have had a much easier time in high school if I had a head full of eldritch knowledge instead of, like, word origins and amusing historical anecdotes.

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I’m pretty sure the Eldritch Knowledge stat IS this game’s equivalent to word origins and amusing historical anecdotes. Sure, you use it for magic as well, but I think it is more commonly used to remind people of historical precedent and for knowledge of ancient languages.

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And that’s why I used it for my self-insert playthrough. But the point is, the game gives you lots of ways to be a slacker or troublemaker type, whereas it’s a lot harder to play as a goody-goody nerd. And that’s the author’s prerogative. I think a story is often better when the author writes for a wide range of possibilities rather than trying to cover every possible one. I’d rather play a story full of specificity and nuance with some constraints on my PC than one that lets me customize as much as I want and still ends up feeling generic. But this game does feel much narrower than most in that regard.

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I found the game does the opposite. It gives you the option to say the MC has a history of being the opposite of what you might expect from a “good student”, and even has a choice to continue that type of behavior at Cavalcade; however, many of the story related choices read as “goody-goody” type choices.

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Yet another dump all your fucking problems on MC and let 'em try to fix (and mostly fail) because they don’t have enough stat-points book.

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Just finished my playthrough. God was this torture especially considering the game I played previously was “A Mage Reborn.” If you’re up to being punished constantly due to skill checks then this is your game. That’s all I’ll say.

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The game had an interesting idea mainly around the “paranormal school life” part, honestly, I think it has a bit of an “Identity Crisis” it says it is Comedic Dark fantasy but I can’t help but feel that this one should have been a “Slice of Life” themed book with Supernatural tones (wait I am describing Urban Fantasy now lol) but anyway we quite frankly have enough “Save Da World” plots available and it would have been interesting if we were just a human fucking about in school just attempting to have a normal student life or going nuts and having fun, and yeah the part of having the chance of becoming a supernatural ourselves could have been fun (like getting a tattoo after a very crazy party, either waking up and regretting it or just finding it sick as hell)

In my opinion, some stats feel redundant, Eldritch Knowledge and Insight could have been the same thing and Nerve could have been integrated into Eldritch Knowledge too since you have more knowledge of the unknown and would have more guts to deal with it, Fisticuffs could have been merged into Athleticism, Academic Fellowship being integrated with Model Student

And the characters were something, I don’t really have anything negative to say but not something very positive either, I think they were just generic but that’s ok i guess lol

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Although I did enjoy the story, I would have enjoyed more of a “slice of life” aspect as well. Probably the most disappointing thing about this game for me is that we really only get a couple chapters about everyday life at Cavalcade Academy, which is what I really wanted to read about. Granted, I’m more into school stories than fantasy quests about saving the world, but I think giving us more time to get to know and care about the characters and the school itself would have raised the stakes and made the adventure more exciting.

I disagree with you about most of the stats, though. I think there’s a big difference between cultivating a specialty in a particular body of knowledge and possessing a general high level of awareness and perceptiveness. And there’s certainly no guarantee that intellectual understanding of a thing equates to a willingness to engage with the thing.

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Honestly, with the way the game barely covered this aspect, it was hard to find any reason to care. As far as I was concerned based on my character’s interactions and conversations with others, they would have zero reason to care about what happened to Cavalcade or anyone there.

An “end of the world” plot means nothing if you don’t give the reader a reason to care that the world is ending.

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We hardly had no reason to care about said school that’s all, we are hardly introduced and then bam the visions happen and we have to choose our RO’s over a list of people we only meet like 4 times, the game should have focused on the school aspect for longer because we hardly know anything so we end up only thinking 8 deadly words :
" "I don’t care what happens to these people."

Quite frankly the “exchange student” plot was good enough, say we are a exchange student and our experience is important for the school, that way there would be more focus in the school life and on the comedy, the “underdog saves da school and da world” plot was quite frankly unnecessary and honestly it actually made me lose interest on it quite a bit

Yeah good point, thinking about it I don’t think I would be happy to deal with an eldritch god that destroys the sanity of it’s victims especially after i know about it lol, but I think with said knowledge it would make the MC more gusty since Eldritch Abominations are much more scary and dangerous if you know jackshit about them,

Or maybe pull a comedic side and go “Oh don’t worry about that screaming pile of damned souls, that’s just good ol John! He works at the local pizzaria! I wonder if he is cooking pizza with pineapples tonight with ice cream as additional toppings”

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hey, i’ve been struggling a lot with this game and its skill checks, i’ve restarted it so many times and i’ve been taking notes on what choices increases what skills. but the thing i’m most lost about is that the game says there’s poly, and i have no idea who are the poly options? i haven’t finished the game so maybe it’s somewhere at the end idk

You can try the save tool

I don’t play without it anymore.

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i appreciate this! i didn’t know this existed, but unfortunately most of the games i bought are all on the play store, as i prefer to read on my mobile. this only seems to work on steam. but it’s fine! i really do appreciate it but i don’t mind having to restart and stuff. my only concern right now is really figuring out who the poly options are… if there are any.