Paradise Lost is a new alternate reality adventure game from developer PolyAmorous and publisher All in! Games. The demo throws you in with absolutely no context but you're playing as a 12-year-old Polish boy investigating a Nazi bunker in the 1980s. In this version of history, the Nazi's released nukes at the end of the war and attempted to flee underground. From the first-person perspective of this boy, you learn about what happened in the bunker after the bombs dropped.
From the moment you press start, you're in control. There are no cutscenes or explanations, so all you can do is explore. The player begins on a large train station platform. In the height of winter, everything is covered in snow and looks derelict. Items that you can interact with, such as letters and drawers, are indicated by a white circle. Paradise Lost's story gets told through interacting with these objects and piecing together what happened. Expectedly what you find is shocking. One of the first choices you make is to go through a turn-style into the station, or squeeze past boxes and enter through access ways. You'll still end up in the same place by the end of the demo, but what you learn along the way is different.
The experience you get in the front door is the propaganda machine in full effect. Poems to the Aryan Race and letters to congratulate mothers who bore strong sons for the Third Reich. Through the side door instead, you read about the requirements of women for breeding, or Aryans should be specialists in their fields. Official documents questioning the quality of the women sent to them and why they're rejecting 93% of them. The difference between the lie being bought and the grim truth is startling. After playing through the short 15-20 minute demo, I almost didn't go back a second time but knowing there was another path piqued my interest. Only seeing one side of this coin doesn't deliver half the impact as being able to compare them.
With such a distinct split on what the player discovers you might be able to get through this entire title knowing very little. How differently would a playthrough of this game be knowing only the lies spun to make people believe in the cause? How grim would the tale be knowing every disgusting truth too? The points where the story diverged were also points of no return locking you into what you'll learn. To see the other side it's likely that the full title will also need multiple playthroughs.
Paradise Lost Preview | Final Thoughts
While this demo began somewhat jarringly it was a much more interesting narrative than had been previously expected. It took a while to find the narrative footing with so little context but it certainly got there. As the game is adventure and investigation if you're not in the mood for this kind of title then it might not be your cup of tea. I'm still not even sure if it's a game for me, but it's still an interesting game nonetheless. Paradise Lost will bring up some bad history and cast its own ideas of what a continuation of the Nazi party would have looked like underground.
TechRaptor previewed Paradise Lost on PC as part of the Steam Game Festival: Summer Edition digital event.