Adventure,  Playstation,  PlayStation 4,  PlayStation 5,  Rapid Reviews,  Reviews

Paradise Lost Review

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Fast Facts

Paradise Lost
Developer: PolyAmorous Games
Publisher: All in! Games
Website: https://www.allingames.com/game/paradise-lost/
Genre(s): Adventure
Platform: PlayStation 4 (also available on Xbox, PC and Nintendo Switch)
Age Rating: PEGI 16
Release Date: 24.03.2021
Price: £11.99

A code was provided for review purposes

Lost in the Sauce

Paradise Lost is an adventure game following the life of a twelve-year-old boy experiencing the aftermath of World War II in Nazi Germany. Is this experience one worth going on? Find out in this Rapid Review.

Although this title focuses on narrative elements, when I began the story, I was very confused. I had no guidance, and I was simply going forward for no reason. This lack of direction made my journey seem directionless. Objectives were not detailed, I did not know any characters, and I was not given any explanation of the world around me. I simply proceeded forwards. This contributed to my initial negative impression of the game. The game did not explain what the objectives were.

Though initially there was no guiding force, I eventually met people, read documentation, and experienced flashbacks that guided me on my journey. Without explaining much of the content, the contents here were interesting and I enjoyed reading them. However, I was not overly impressed. Much of the deep lore required a lot of reading and while I did enjoy many of the letters and documentation, some of them were so benign that reading it felt like a waste of my time. I liked reading about the major characters in the plot, but I did not value inspecting pieces of fine china or letters between friends. While it helped develop the lore, many of the letters featured characters who were not relevant in the overarching plot of Paradise Lost. While some of the plot developments were engaging, some of them were not.

long dialogue about a goodbye letter to a grandma from adela
Time to whip out the readers

Storyteller

Moreover, many of the things I was enticed to read were incredibly tiny. Even playing on a large television, I had difficulties reading everything. There was an option to enhance the text, but even then, it was a lot of reading. There was a narrator over some dialogue lines, but I would have liked to see more narration. Even when there was an audio recording, I needed to stand close to the device. I could not take it with me, so I needed to stop my exploration to listen. This broke the pacing of the game, as I needed to wait for speakers to finish before leaving an area by standing still. The same went for the written text, but it had less of an impact on my experience as I needed to stand still to read it in the first place. The way the story was presented was tedious.

In fact, I ended up enjoying the atmospheric storytelling more than the explicit one. Following the aftermath of the war, train cars were left in disarray, there were rifles lodged in windowsills, and shrubbery overgrows previously popular locales. The level layouts and environment became a lush world for me to explore. There were many unique and interesting set pieces. I enjoyed looking at and admiring each.

a desk littered with books with a Nazi flag in the corner and a war propaganda poster on the wall
Startling imagery is seen throughout

Walking Simulator

Unfortunately, as enjoyable as the atmosphere was, exploring it was a lot less fun. My character walked incredibly slowly, and even minor interactions took immense amounts of time. Exploring was not rewarding because walking to an area took so long that I had lost interest by the time I arrived. Moreover, interacting with objects was also tedious. While some interactions only required me to walk forwards, others required I point at them and press open, and some required me to move the second thumbstick in a direction. While it did provide a task, it was not engaging, and just served to impede my exploration further. The core gameplay loop did not have any purpose other than for exploration which was made tedious by a slow walking speed and meaningless impasses.

Additionally, despite the main purpose of the game being exploration, it never felt like I was truly exploring the world. Each area I navigated was strictly linear. I could only exit a room one way, there were no branching paths, and if I was exploring, it was to find the way out, not for extra content. This made my exploration seem futile. Though I would not have wanted to get lost or spend excessive time wandering with the current walking speed, part of the reason that exploration-based games are enjoyable is blazing a seemingly unique path. I never felt that way during my playthrough of Paradise Lost. Each interaction felt scripted. Innately, this is not a bad thing. However, since world-building was the part of the game I was looking forward to the most, I was disappointed that the gameplay did not reward exploration.

looking over a waterway to see a lighthouse and some trees
A lighthouse must be a symbol of hope

Setting the Scene

While many of the exploration and lore mechanics were not as exciting as I had hoped, the sound design set the scene immediately. There is a stark lack of music throughout the game. Though there are no jump scares or enemies, I kept hearing the clanking of objects, flickering of static, and my own footsteps. It kept me alert and aware. Each step was noticeable. I thought this helped establish the barrenness of the game. When there was music, it immediately stood out. The game even made the sound immersive. When I turned my head, things got quieter or louder depending on where the source of the sound came from. The sound design was well done.

The visuals were similarly stunning. Each element of the background was beautifully created. Anytime an important scene had taken place in an area, the room made sure to make it clear. The rooms were distinct and explicit. I thought the visuals worked excellently. As I mentioned previously though, there is a lot of reading, and a lot of the text was challenging to read from my television. It was not a grave issue. Had I sat immediately in front of the television, I would have been able to read it without a problem.

looking inside a train cabin at messy furniture and scattered belongings
What a mess

Overall, while I admire the message and scope of Paradise Lost, I did not enjoy most of it. Visually, the game was gorgeous, and the world looked incredible while I travelled through it. However, travelling through it was burdensome and tedious. I walked slowly, needed to read long excerpts of text, and did not have anything rewarding my progress along the way. I never felt satisfied for completing anything in this game, as there was nothing to complete. There are many great elements here, but I would not recommend Paradise Lost.

Rapid Reviews Rating

2.5 out of 5

2.5

You can purchase Paradise Lost on the PlayStation Store here

OpenCritic Logo

You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.