Paradise Lost Review – A Poignant Journey into The Heart of Grief

One thing I’d like to make clear is that I am not a fan of the term “walking simulator.” As a writer, I find that what I like to call “narrative adventures” offer a way to experience a story through light interaction and decision-making. Calling something a walking simulator devalues the work that goes into telling an interactive story. With that out of the way, Paradise Lost is a narrative adventure out now for PS4 and playable on PS5. It’s a story set in an alternate version of post-WWII where the Nazi’s decimated Europe with nuclear weapons, and our main character finds himself exploring a seemingly abandoned bunker that for reasons that become known as the story progresses. Does this dive into a version of history that never happened tell a story worth experiencing, or should we leave this paradise to the fold of time? Let’s find out! A Gripping Exploration of an Alternate Timeline Paradise Lost is a game that excels in creating a rich and detailed atmosphere right from the beginning. This level of immersion is due to a few things, but in no small part to the richly realized environments and little touches like being able to see your entire character’s body as he jumps off ledges or climbs through elements of the environment. The game’s story didn’t grab me immediately, but as it progressed through the roughly four hour run time, I found that it very organically reveals more and more about the events that transpired prior to your arrival, and the reasons for why you find yourself in this elaborate bunker. I say bunker, but it’s more of a sprawling underground city with multiple districts and distinct areas. In this version of history, the Nazi’s decimated Europe with nuclear weaponry, leaving the area in Poland where you spend the game nearly uninhabitable on the surface. With a few clues to go on, you play as a 12-year-old boy with nothing but his wits, a photograph, and a lighter to guide him in the beginning. The story is told through some flashbacks, dialogue between the boy and one other character (I’m leaving out their names as they’re not revealed right away in the story), audio recordings, and of course, the good old fashioned method of finding in-game documents. Where Paradise Lost’s story worked really well for me was in the way that it doesn’t show all of its cards until later. You’ll spend the first chunk of the game alone and eventually make contact with someone via the camera / microphone system, but even the documents play coy with what the Nazi’s were up to in this massive underground society. I imagine that some people will predict several elements of the story before they come to fruition, but I even found myself surprised at a few of the developments. It’s also a story with some flexibility thanks to a few different paths you can take through environments and moments where you interact with a complex machine … Read More