Paradise Lost is going to be hard to talk about, for several reasons. It’s a narrative heavy game, and I don’t want to spoil your experience. Some content in the game can be triggering for certain people. Furthermore, the game can be interpreted in different ways, leading to each player having their own opinions on it as a whole. Regardless, I will do my best to give you some idea of what to expect.
Paradise Lost is a walking Sim at its core. You explore an abandoned Nazi bunker in a fairly linear fashion. There is a few simple puzzles to solve, but most of them have a hint system if you get stuck. The controls are about as easy as it gets. You have movement and look, an action button, a read button, and one button to initiate an immersive way of interacting with certain objects. That’s all the buttons!
The story is the game’s strong point. Initially, you know nothing about why you are there, or even who you are, but flashbacks fill in some of that info. The first part of the game is still filled with mystery, with every clue you can find creating a theory in your head. Further into the game, most of the mystery is replaced by a kind of scifi story. Toward the end, that gives way for a rather profound, philosophical story. It is amazing how the game transitions to each, without completing abandoning the previous genres. To fully understand the story however, you will need to read a lot of text from documents, some of which are quite tiny and hard to read. The main points of the story are fully voiced though.
Now to mention the things that could cause issues for some players. First off, the game takes place in a very detailed Nazi bunker that includes a lot of their symbols and propaganda. I know that can be hard to witness for some. A specific level revolves around their treatment of women, including what could be considered rape. Though it’s an important part of the story, some players may have difficulty facing that in the game. Finally, the game as a whole is about death of a loved one, grief, including depression, and hard choices. It’s possible that the game can help you through these issues, it’s also possible that it would make them worse for you.
The setting is very detailed, with many areas telling stories of their own with just the environment. The artstyle is very realistic to start with, slowly turning more scifi and eventually fantastical. Some of the areas are quite dark and hard to navigate. The characters have significant backgrounds, but aren’t particularly fleshed out otherwise.
At the end of the 4 hour or so journey, I felt quite fulfilled. I do plan to play through it again to experience another ending, which says a lot. My biggest complaints were the dark areas, tiny text, cumbersome immersive interactions, and some items, including a big story item, not appearing in the game. Your character will interact with it as normal and talk about it, but it is invisible to you. I recommend it to anyone that feels that they can handle the aforementioned triggers, but especially fans of walking Sims and/or good philosophical stories.
The publisher gave me an Xbox code with the expectation for something to be written about it. I am mostly blind, so some things I have trouble with may not affect your experience with the game. Paradise Lost is available now on several platforms.