Developed by PolyAmorous and published by All in! Paradise Lost is a narrative adventure set in a post-apocalyptic world where a young boy finds an abandoned Nazi bunker. While we’ve seen plenty of post-apocalyptic adventures and stories before, Paradise Lost takes a non-violent approach to the genre and delivers a slow but intense adventure that is no less compelling. Here is our test of Paradise Lost on PC, in which we explore a huge Nazi bunker and try to discover the secrets hidden inside.
In Paradise Lost, an alternate history is outlined in which the Nazis have become very powerful and World War II continues well beyond 1945. By dropping nuclear warheads on Europe, the Nazis ensured that they had their own giant, spacious, self-sufficient bunkers underground, where they could survive and emerge powerful once the radiation wore off. All of Europe is now an irradiated, post-apocalyptic wasteland where nothing can survive. After the missiles are fired, one of the bunkers where the Nazis were held is shut down, and that’s where the story takes place. You play as a boy named Shimon with a tragic past, growing up in a post-apocalyptic wasteland on the surface. He stumbles upon a bunker, and this is the starting point of the game’s plot.
Paradise Lost begins when you reach the Nazi bunker, and start exploring. However, the game does not allow you to continue playing in the bunker and do whatever you want. As you explore the bunker and find important items, you are given flashbacks to your past, ranging from simple cutscenes to actual playable flashbacks that show your own past and how your journey to the bunker began. These flashbacks play an important role in the development of the game’s story and also show that your character isn’t just a puppet you control, but has a story behind him. Whenever you reach an important point or come into contact with an important object in the game, you can see or play a flashback to your past. The first time around, I searched every nook and cranny of the title to see all the flashbacks, but I think if you miss any of the items in the game, you might also miss the flashbacks.
These flashbacks are not the main subject of the game, which unfolds as you move through the bunker and learn more and more information about what happened to the bunker and the people who once lived there. This bunker is no ordinary bunker, as it looks like a conventional cave formation, but the further you go into the bunker, the more you realize that an entire civilization should have lived and survived here, until something went wrong and everything is now empty and deserted. During your exploration you will come across a large number of written documents, including letters, diaries, official documents, hastily written notes, etc. that will give you a better understanding of the legend of the bunker and its secrets. You will also learn that despite the age of the hopper, everything inside is quite functional, and almost everything works well, with a few adjustments here and there.
Progression is often locked behind certain puzzles, but these puzzles are not too difficult to understand or solve. There’s no fear of jumping or anything else in the game, despite the scary bunker and the machine noises buzzing around. Just the idea of being alone in a huge bunker is chilling and makes for an extremely atmospheric gaming experience. The puzzles usually require some thinking, and sometimes you reach your goal after just a few levels. The game showcases punk technology in all its glory. The entire bunker is filled with 1980s technology, with huge computers and bright screens in every office and terminal. The game doesn’t contain much backtracking, and progression is mostly linear, with a few open environments that encourage you to explore these levels in depth to learn from them.
When I first played the game, I got a very high Metro 2033 vibe, but as I progressed through the game, it began to develop its own vibe and I began to love the game’s highly detailed environments and levels. After you progress through the game, you’ll enter the main bunker section, which is simply stunning and staggeringly large. However, there is a major twist in the story when you hear the voice of a girl who calls herself Eva, and you are then given a new purpose in the game, as well as the discovery of what really happened in the bunker. The various lectures you will find in the bunker depict the two sides of the Nazis, the powerlessness of the people and the war crimes the army committed or plans to commit in the future. The game is pretty well written, and I liked the developer’s unique approach.
The story has a unique twist at the end, and you also have some great choices at the end. I won’t give away the whole plot here, but it’s pretty gripping and keeps you on the edge of your seat. That’s actually a good thing, because if you’re consistent, you can easily finish a full game in 5 or 6 hours. In fact, if you skip most of the exploration and really pick up the pace, you can finish the game’s main story in about 4 hours. However, the game doesn’t let you go back to previous levels or checkpoints, so when the story ends, you have to start over, so if you’re a finisher, you’d better carefully go through all the levels in the game.
The gameplay is where the game starts to lose some of its tangibility, as there isn’t much else to do in the game other than run around. The whole game is about exploring, reading what people have left behind and solving the puzzles in the game. You can say that it is a walking simulator, as your main goal in the game is to walk while exploring the different areas of the game. Each area is filled with different interlocking objects or notes that you can view or read, allowing you to dive deeper into the game’s story. Sometimes you also have to solve different puzzles to progress in the game, which can also be very interesting at times. In most cases, however, you have to find certain objects and lead them to an important location or pull certain levers to progress in the game.
One of the things you will notice in the game is that Szymon moves very slowly in the game. I think the developer intentionally made him run a little slower than normal, if only because he’s exploring an unfamiliar place, so sprinting at full speed wouldn’t make sense, and besides, he’s a little boy, so his legs would have to be smaller than a grown man’s. The movement can be annoying to some players, but when I took my time with the game I really liked it, but I have seen some online players complain about it. As long as you take your time with the game, you should be able to handle Szymon’s speed in the game.
In addition, the game has some technical problems. Perhaps the most disturbing thing is that the imagery is severely degraded in some places. Despite me playing on a relatively powerful computer, the frame rate dropped significantly as the game progressed. While they weren’t so massive as to impede play, they were more of a nuisance in some areas than others. Apart from the frame rate drops, there were some visual issues in the game where an object would disappear in certain corners and reappear later in the game.
Aside from the visual aspect, the gameplay is a bit clunky at times, especially when interacting with different objects. Instead of having a specific area around the object from which to interact with it, you need to be in the ideal place to interact with those levers or other cues or protocols. To do this, you need to walk around a bit and find the exact spot where you can eventually interact with these objects. These are not major bugs or problems, but they are sometimes annoying. However, these issues can easily be fixed with updates and patches after launch, so I hope PolyAmorous takes the time to tweak the title and polish it up here and there to make Paradise Lost technically perfect as well.
Last block :
Paradise Lost is a great storytelling experiment that feels a little awkward at times. Personally, I think a little tweaking after launch should fix the sometimes awkward gameplay mechanics and visual issues you may encounter while playing. Since nothing breaks the rules of the game, these aren’t things that need urgent attention from the developer, but if the developer can fix them, it would make Paradise Lost a true masterpiece of a narrative experience. The plot is solid, the feeling of playing as a kid is great, and the eerie feeling of being alone in a huge but beautiful Nazi bunker is fantastic. I enjoyed playing Paradise Lost, even though I often lost the game. At this point, the positives far outweigh the negatives of the game. If you like narrative experiences with beautiful levels and sometimes scary and exciting moments, I recommend you try Paradise Lost.
Overall score: 8.5/10
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