All in! Games
What if World War 2 raged for 20 years and ended with a nuclear holocaust that sent humanity underground? Well, this is the setting in which Szymon's tale takes place. He's a young boy looking for answers following the death of his mother. More than just a narrative game, this is a quest filled with difficult decisions and boasting several possible endings depending on how you decide. Captivating!
Imagine… The Second World War never ended because the Yanks stayed at home. The Nazis were ultimately victorious through the use of their nuclear bombs, many of which fell on Poland, leaving much of Eastern Europe a wasteland of radioactive ruins. Such is the world of Paradise Lost!
This is one that fans of fast-paced action games might want to skip, because the game's strengths lie elsewhere. For the five or so hours it takes to complete the game, you'll play as Szymon, a brave little 12-year-old boy trying to find a man in a giant bunker. A man he has only seen in a faded photograph.
We loved the palpable atmosphere in the abandoned chambers of this vast underground complex. There's no violence, no zombies, and no weapons: this is a "walking simulator" with some incredibly rich and detailed environments. You can almost smell the dust on the dilapidated machines, and the abandoned objects deliver a real sense of nostalgia.
It's also a chance to learn about the Nazi legend of the Hollow Earth and the city of Agartha.
Best get it straight from the outset: the game is slow. Szymon moves with all the speed of an exhausted pilgrim. This might put some gamers off, but it's all part of the game's atmosphere. It's a dark alternative history that you uncover as our young hero makes discoveries and reads abandoned material. You'll learn about the world he inhabits through a variety of documents, letters, recordings, and computers that are still just about working. Then there's the many flashbacks that centre on the main character, his past, and his family secrets.
Our favourite part? The radio contact with the mysterious Ewa, whose voice is there to accompany Szymon through much of his adventure. It's also the most important part of the game's narration. Their chatter gives the game its soul, immersing the gamer in their emotions and the five stages of grief that Szymon will be led to experience.
To help you on your way, remember that the alarm you hear right at the start of the game sounds when the power goes down.
It's a game that's a favourite of the YouTuber Krayn, very well-reviewed online, and accessible to all, even people who've never played a video game in their lives. Paradise Lost is a real treat for anyone who likes an engrossing narrative. Progress through the bunker is generally smooth, and you'll never be left wondering where you need to go. And it's all carried by some fantastic sound design that accentuates and amplifies the often sinister noises you'll hear.
More than a game, a real immersive narrative.
Publisher: All in! Games
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