Paradise Lost is an incredibly banal, generic title for a game. Indeed it’s been used for albums, books and films already – as that and also as the drastically reworked “Lost Paradise”.
I don’t know what the reviews say about this game – they’re of no consequence to me anyway since I never base my gaming choices on reviews. Why would I be that silly?
First of all I should say that 3 chapters in I’ve still almost no idea what’s going on, or what the story is about. The game opened with me, or, my female character, opening up an large iron hatch in the snow, and climbing down a ladder. I’ve ended up in some abandoned Nazi town deep underground (or was it an abandoned town that the Nazis invaded and left all their paraphernalia behind in?). I’ve little clue. But to me this hasn’t mattered, because I’ve enjoyed the exploring. You better hope you do too because that seems to be 90% of what this game is. Even in the hugest rooms, there is often only 2 points of interaction – like this one:
And even then, the interaction is picking up and looking at 2 pieces of paper. “WHAT???!!! No Nazis/Nazi zombies to shoot?!”. No. If you want that kind of stuff, go play one of the many Wolfenstein games (an act which I would never seek to discourage). Guess what?! There are also other game styles set around Nazi era stuff. A lot of the rooms are absolutely stuffed with objects and details, and they’ve made incredible use of the Unreal 4 engine. A lot of the objects it isn’t “just” like looking at the object in real life, it LOOKS like the object in real life. I don’t know if they’ve just been really clever with repetition or really have worked their arses off, but 3 chapters in and I’ve only seen 1, maybe 2 at the most, repeated objects (one stuck out as a cup and saucer – right next to eachother – it was clearly the exact same CGI just repeated). It’s this level of detailing that makes the exploration enjoyable. If there was repetition and lack of detail, then certainly no, I could not recommend this game, and would have stopped playing by now.
So we know the game interaction is sparse, and the pace is slow. The atmosphere is really good. Music kicks in from time to time, to move things along. The voice acting is…not the most amazing but due to the actor’s poor English it IS quirky – in a good way – even if some words are a bit slurred and conjoined. I would much rather hear a European’s poor English than an English person pretending to be a European. So it works fine.
There is no “save game” option – you quit and then come back to “Continue”. And this is the Achilles heel of the game. There is not one single time that I’ve come back to the game, clicked to “continue”, and not been STUCK!! You cannot move – no matter what. The ONLY way to move on is to restart the Chapter. Restarting from the last checkpoint won’t help either. So, if you do go for this one, and I would totally recommend it, the best advice is to make sure before you quit, you leave the game at the very start of the next chapter, or you’re just in for a lot of repetition and more wandering around than you ever wanted to do.
This game is not for all, and I’ve no doubt it’s received an absolute drubbing from the snotty gaming sites. I don’t care. I find it absorbing, relaxing, evocative, and it has me coming back determined to find out what’s going on, and meet up with the voice over the speakers which may or may not turn out to be a living human. I will report back when I’ve finished the game.
*7P.M. EDIT* I’ve…..finished it. It’s been a while since I’ve completed a game. And a while since it was over that quickly. It was short, but it was emotional. I really like it – even if I still didn’t quite understand – not least as the clearly grown adult with a female voice, was, in fact…………a man. And the voice actor was called “Alekzander” – which even in a different language is obviously the male version. I’m a bit weirded out by that, but okay. Anyway, without giving anything away, you’re forced to make 2 big decisions at the end. I want to know how both of them turn out, but I’m not sure if I can be bothered wading through that last chapter to find out how the alternative went. It will only be a couple of different lines of dialogue anyway. But still……you always want to know…..