05/04/2024

Welcome to ParadiZe Xbox Series X Review 6/10 "More PontinZ than ParadiZe" ๐Ÿ˜ #IndieGame #GameDev #PvE #Zombies

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Welcome to ParadiZe Xbox Series X Review
Welcome to Paradize promised a lot of zany zombie shenanigans through its trailer, but unfortunately the released game feels a watered down version of what could have been, and as the core gameplay loop is so well-worn, there’s not enough to really suck players in and chew the meat from the bones of their expectations.

I first caught wind of Welcome to Paradize a couple of months ago, and having been on a bit of an isometric / action run recently I was quite keen to start smashing and blasting some zombie heads, whilst the survival and crafting elements seemed accessible enough to have fun with, without getting bogged down in menus etc.
Welcome to ParadiZe Xbox Series X Review
After choosing one of several survivors, you are given a quick introduction through the medium of a jovial, holiday-camp styled VHS promo of the titular ‘Paradize’, a place that promises a closed-off town in which the zombies have become subservient and actually enhance the lives of humans, through control helmets. Upon arriving at Paradize, however...it’s clear that the situation is not...ideal. Zombies run rampant and all the buildings are rotten and crumbling, with only a handful of colourful characters remaining scattered around that need your help in various ways.

I’ll talk about the positives first, the game looks great and runs smoothly, with some really tasty torch-lighting in darkened areas and night time, and I found the controls responsive. The rest of the game feels underwhelming in a lot of key areas. The music, for example is so sparsely used that a lot of the time I was wandering around in silence, bereft of any sort of atmosphere, and when it does get used, it’s quite generic and soft, even when the hordes rush you and it ramps up slightly, it still feels distant and doesn’t get the pulse racing to match the action. 
Welcome to ParadiZe Xbox Series X Review
The main selling point – in that you can control and customise your own zombies – runs out of steam far too quickly. Yes, you can make them wear colourful clothing and use them as either attack absorbers, wacky steeds, farmhands, or flamethrower-wielding compadres – but in practicality, they are just mostly silent NPCs and may as well not be zombies at all, the fact that neither they, nor the player characters talk mean that there’s no hooks in terms of personality to tuck into, and combined with the uninteresting music and sound effects overall, it makes traversal around Paradize an oddly sombre experience.

The crafting also feels perfunctory, with so much tat picked up as you wade through myriad zombie hordes, that I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time in menus, only to find that I couldn’t really do anything except scrap a lot of it to make room, making pick-ups unexciting and bland. The cutscenes are also a tedious affair, with the promised zombie insanity reduced to one-way conversations (thanks to your silent protagonists) that have odd spaces between dialogue delivery, making them more awkward than amusing.
Welcome to ParadiZe Xbox Series X Review
SUMMARY
All of this adds up to a game that has mediocrity scattered throughout, with a main USP that fails to deliver. If Welcome to Paradize was totally bonkers, with hilarious cutscenes, preposterously bloody combat and a booming soundtrack, a lot of the above could be forgiven through sheer fun factor alone. The fact that this isn’t the case really does make Welcome to Paradize feel a bit of a missed opportunity.
Welcome to ParadiZe Xbox Series X ReviewWelcome to ParadiZe Xbox Series X Review

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