Paradise lost is a walking simulator set in a cold and bleak post-apocalyptic wasteland, where all hell has frozen over.
You take control of Szymon a young gent who seems to be searching for his mother with only an old photo of a bunker to guide you.
You make your way to an old German bunker. In this alternate reality it seems the Nazi’s won the war and decades later, the world isn’t looking like the most inviting place.
As you progress through the first chapter, you’ll find a very simple walking simulator, walking being the appropriate word, even holding the left trigger which picks up the pace a little, it’s still more of a crawl than a walk, and it’s not helped by multiple small passages that you crawl through to mask loading times, which leaves these early stages feeling quite stagnant, with a strictly linear path, rooms consistently offering a single entrance and one exit and little to really capture your imagination.
This doesn’t leave much for exploration but checking all the corners will ensure you find any small items such as photographs, audio logs and other items which can be picked up, rotated slightly and then put back in place.
There’s a handful of puzzles, but again early on they’re pretty disappointing, pull one lever, if that doesn’t work, go and pull the other one, congratulations you’re on to the next section. Discover a few buttons and if one doesn’t work, you can be sure the other will.
It’s all pretty dull in the first “Denial” section, but thankfully things do improve a little.
As you progress to the second major section titled “Anger” and beyond, areas do open up a little, there’s a little more searching required, some light exploration and rather than reading pages of text you’ve come across, you get to hold some conversations with a mysterious voice you discover deep inside the abandoned bunker.
This section is a vast improvement over the first, but the pace remains painfully slow, I’ve played more than my fair share of walking simulators, and titles like Firewatch, what remains of Edith Finch, Vanishing of Ethan Carter and Everybody’s Gone to Raptor all have their strengths, such as fantastic storytelling, rewarding exploration and challenging puzzles, but sadly Paradise Lost just doesn’t have a stand out feature that positions itself near any of those aforementioned titles.
Graphically Paradise lost has some strengths, there are some great reflections, lighting and atmosphere, but at times it’s ruined by small glitches, such as the early section where you’re guided only by the light of your Zippo lighter, there are distracting white flashes as you turn and catch adjoining textures, and later on, when things are lit a little better, you’ll find some lighting effects causing quite a washed-out feel, while others present the eerie atmosphere perfectly.
Audio is mixed, with a fair amount of voice acting discovered later, but unfortunately, it’s not the best, some of the delivery feels flat and emotionless, yet on the other hand, some conversations are more heartfelt and intriguing.
There’s no denying that some will fall in love with Paradise Lost, but for many the slow pace, endless parchments to read, and the even more dormant delivery may leave you losing interest long before the conversations start to give a little life to the characters. If you have the patience to read the early texts and immerse yourself into the background, there’s a decent walking sim that eventually starts to deliver a little adventure.
At £12.49 it’s not bad value, but if this is your first foray into Walking Simulators you might want to check out some of the competition first.