A big thank you to All In! Games and PolyAmorous Games for the chance to check out their alternate history Walking-Sim, Paradise Lost. The game runs similarly to Firewatch and The Suicide of Rachel Foster, while Firewatch was a good game and The Suicide of Rachel Foster desperately tried to copy it and failed to live up to its own hype, is there hope for this game or is it doomed to be left out in the cold of nuclear winter? Let’s take a look at Paradise Lost.
Paradise Lost takes place in an alternative history where WWII lasted over 20 years and ends with Germany nuking most of Europe after moving all their desired citizens into a massive underground bunker system with the hopes of eventually returning to the surface with a new super army and ending the war in their favor, this never happened as the bunker is invaded by the Polish resistance who then take the bunker as their own before overtime becoming divided into two groups, Slavic pagan worshipers and a militarized resistance group. Flash forward to the 1980s 12-year-old Szymon has now entered the bunker to find out who the man is in a photograph of his mother.
Onto the game itself. The controls are limited and simple, one feature is you are able to zoom, but not much, this feature honestly is pointless to have as it does not zoom that much, and there’s really nothing high res to zoom in on.
The soundtrack to the game is nice on the ears but the ambient sound effects get old REALLY QUICK as they blare, thankfully some adjustments in the options menu save you from that. The voice cast is limited but I feel they could have used a different actor to play Szymon, he sounds bored delivering his lines, in fact; he sounds like a child Tommy Wiseau who toned down his over-the-top acting by A LOT.
The art of the game is beautiful; it really is… the problem is the game is very dark…literally. Adjusting the gamma makes it worse! The game is so dark, at one point I was about to just turn off the game and not go back to it because there was no point. At the start of the game, Szymon using his late mother’s lighter to see in the dark until he turned on some power, and then we never see him use that lighter again when he’s in near pitch-black darkness, would it have killed the devs to have programmed a damn flashlight?!
Speaking of not being able to see anything: The terminals. These “Memory Terminals” play a role in the story where you learn more about the bunker’s past, you are even able to interact and control some aspects of the story…I think… it’s hard to tell because you can’t see a damn thing on the screens!
The story of Paradise Lost was hard to follow. The story takes so many turns that one minute it’s about Nazi conspiracies within the bunker to the Polish takeover then suddenly to supernatural goats to secret experiments and Szymon being the prodigal son. I’ll admit, towards the end of the game I stopped reading lore and just wanted to finish the game.
Overall gameplay was…meh. The game is split up into chapters named after the stages of grieving (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance) which makes it unique in that way compared to Firewatch and The Suicide of Rachel Foster. Paradise Lost also has the “mysterious friend over the radio” mechanic like the other two were just like in TSoRF, there’s supposed to be a twist involving that character, which was not much of a twist anyway as you kind of figured it out in the beginning and the “second twist” that was added along with the character was more random and unoriginal as it does not seem to match any other points in the story.
Though Paradise Lost is visually pretty at times and had so much potential… it was too flawed. There’s going to be a day 1 patch that I guess will fix some issues but I’m not 100% sure if the issues I’ve encountered will be fixed. There was an idea but it was not presented well OR could have been done a lot better I think. The only good thing about the game is the art and music and sadly that’s it. The darkness was unwarranted, there were too many stories in the plot for one game, the graphical bugs were annoying, and the obnoxious ambient sounds and the sound of Szymon walking assaulted my ears hurt this game to the point I want to Sparta kick the game down into the bunker and weld it shut with the hopes it won’t get out.
I really hoped this game would be great but in the end, it left me with a broken heart. On my scale of 1-10, it’s a 5.