I am a sucker for alternate world stories. I am also a sucker for any media that has Nazis in it in some shape or form as I am extremely baffled by all of the crazy, macabre, inhumane, and very out-there sh*t that they did. So when something like Paradise Lost comes along that tries to combine the two, I get a little excited. Well, I am very sad to say that Paradise Lost did not live up to my excitement.
The Nazis had grand plans for world domination, and thankfully—for the betterment of the human race—many of their darkest, wildest, wishes never came to fruition. Paradise Lost changes this narrative. In this timeline, the war persisted for 20 more years only to end in flames when the Nazis launched nuclear missiles on most of Europe, completely devastating it, making it unhabitable and inaccessible to the rest of the world.
They were ready for this armageddon, as they had built these massive underground complexes that would house the Aryan race. You play as Szymon, a 12-year-old boy who just stumbled upon one of these complexes while searching for an unknown man from a photograph his mother cherished. You start your descend into this retro-futuristic bunker where industrial technology is intertwined with mysterious, Slavic pagan imagery. As you make your way through this desolate bunker slowly piecing together what happened to the people living here, a mysterious girl named Ewa contacts you through the bunker’s technology. She might be the final piece to solving this grand mystery...
That is a really f*cking cool promise, right? You have Nazis, a massive desolate underground complex packed with retro-futuristic technologies and pagan imagery. In my books, this is a recipe for something memorable. Unfortunately, it doesn't come together as it should and the end result is just meh.
Maybe it's because the game is a snail-paced walking simulator. Maybe it's because the main story all boils down to just some dull and predictable family drama. Maybe it's because the characters lack any real depth and have no time to develop. Maybe it's because their voice acting is bad where the main actor feels completely disinterested. Maybe it's because nothing cool or interesting or unexpected happens. Maybe it's my high expectations. Maybe it's all of these things together.
It's such as shame really that this incredible setting with these intriguing environments and a chilling desolate atmosphere wasn't used to tell a better and more engaging story. In the end, I didn't really get what the game was all about. Was it all about dealing with the grief after the loss of a loved one as the naming of the chapters would suggest? Maybe, but I didn't really get that. Was it about how people lose sight of what's right and end up becoming the same as the villain they fought against? Maybe, but again I didn't get that.
The gameplay is as barebones as a walking simulator can be where the only things you do are walk extremely slow, read letters, listen to audio recording and the occasional dialogue option are all the actions available in this four-hour journey. It's painful, but I can't recommend Paradise Lost on the setting alone. Thanks for reading.
Paradise Lost is available now on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. A PS4 code was provided by the publisher for this review.