Welcome to Paradize Review

Developed by Eko Software and Published by Nacon, Welcome to Paradize is the new zombie apocalypse game in the hood. What can you do when you are a tough adventurer surrounded by zombies and you just want to get out of there and back into normal civilisation? With an isometric view, many biomes to explore and plenty of weapons to experiment with this could be a game to tickle your taste buds.  

                After customising your adventurer in a simple enough menu you begin the game as an unknown traveller who has stumbled across a zombie-infested area. The eccentric human warden asks for help clearing the zombies out of his mini base of sorts but protect his hacked zombies…. Yes, that’s right hacked zombies. These are zombies with a special headset which tunes their brain to follow commands sent from their master’s pylon. These hacked zombies are gathering wood for a generator so they cannot fight back. But after helping out the warden he tells you about a friend who can help teach you how to hack zombies to perform the tasks that you need. You also find out that a visionary called ‘Jeff Tusk’ has a base built on the moon and through communications he is encouraging you to build a rocket to join them on the moon and that therein becomes your main mission.

                Graphically the game is kind of middling, it is by no means bad looking but you also wouldn’t say it is pushing the boundaries of the latest technology either. But it is very vibrant in colours and the character design is quite quirky and interesting. The voice acting is a tad all over the place but it is passable, although whoever cut the talking scenes together needs to fine tune their approach. For some reason after an NPC has finished talking, there is always an awkward 5-second silence before the game continues and it just feels odd. The music on the game is a bit hit and miss for me, the main menu song gives a strong US country feel with its stretched guitar twangs. But I don’t recall hearing much through the game instead when there is a wave of enemies and you hear an upbeat tempo beat until all the enemies have been vanquished.

                The controls are simple enough as you would expect from an isometric view. You have the left stick for moving and the right stick for aiming. You can choose between a good variety of melee weapons and ranged weapons. These vary and level up as your character does and there are some upgrading elements involved in the game to make your weapons stronger. Primarily the game is more of an RPG but there are elements of crafting and base building to the game as well. The enemy zombies keep changing as you progress to new levels and biomes so you have to keep your layout changing to match the environment.

                The key interesting part of the game is the zombie hacking. With your backpack portable pylon, you can hack up to 2 zombies to do your bidding as they follow you around. You get to set the weapon and armour – that you can unlock more of as you find them – on the zombies you kill. For example, you will come across zombies with chainsaws, spinning blade armour, shotguns and even climate-accommodating armour like a fogger or a combustor. Once you kill these zombies they drop their special equipment that you have to collect enough of to unlock it for your zombie. This is important as some hotter and colder biomes require your zombie to wear certain armour to keep you cool or warm depending on where you are. But that also means you need to keep your zombie alive to keep yourself alive so you need to arm and instruct them well. As you progress through the game you can give advanced instructions to your zombies to perform actions based on criteria. For example, if your zombie’s health is below 80% you can set your zombie to flee or to explode and take the enemies with them. You can also set the zombies to only target specific enemies to maximise their usage.

                The zombie instructions become important to learn when it comes to the base-building sections of the game. This could have had more instructions along with it as it took me a while to grasp everything. But as you are crafting a rocket to take you to the moon you soon find out there are those that want to blow your rocket up, so you need to build defences to prevent that happening. But you only have a set amount of power to work with so you need some of your zombies to gather wood, water and vegetables to help power the generators to increase the power capacity. Then with that newfound capacity, you need to build walls and traps to keep the enemies at bay. You can also build multiple pylons to grant different instructions to your hacked zombies with different equipment to provide the right level of defence. Once you think your base is ready you can trigger waves of zombies to put your defence to the test. Once you are comfortable you can then trigger the boss battles.

                There are a few gripes I have with the game and they just come to some weird design choices. The first one is the static isometric view; this is usually fine providing when you go into enclosed areas that the foreground is removed so you can see what is going on. By this, I mean if you are trying to enter a door that is south-easterly, you cannot see what is in the place until you go through the door as the building obstructs your view. When the enemies have guns it can be a real nuisance to get them first when you can’t see a damn thing. The other main gripe is the side quest boss fights to get weapon shack upgrades. You have to take down some zombie circus animals like a zombie elephant or zombie giraffe. They are not the hardest battles by any stretch but they are damn long. They have so much health that it just takes an age to hurt them. It’s very easy to roll out of the way of danger and heal yourself when needed. But even with the highest level weapon a the times these creatures take 10-15 minutes to beat as you feel like you are trying to slap it to death for the amount of damage you do to them. I would rather they made the health less and their attacks more random so it was more of a challenge rather than it being so tedious.

                There is also the opportunity to play the game local co-op which is quite fun although you are screen-locked.  So you cannot go your separate ways and have the screen split. This causes some issues when one of you is stuck on some scenery. The game has a good length to it, I’ve put well over 10 hours in and there’s still much more to see and do.

Conclusion

Welcome to Paradize is not going to set the world on fire graphically, but as far as zombie apocalypse games go this one is pretty fun and charming at times. The zombie hacking feature is pretty neat once you get a hang of it and the game has some length to it to keep you going for a while. I won’t lie it was a bit of a slow start but it did grow on me and is fun to play – something I plan to keep on doing.

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This game was reviewed based on Xbox S|X review code, using an Xbox S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.

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Good
  • Zombie hacking is a cool feature
  • The game has a decent length to it
  • The combat is simple but enjoyable
Bad
  • The isometric view can be a pain in some areas
  • Some boss battles can be tedious
  • The base building section needed more instructions
8
Great
Written by
Gaming, or, games in general, are in my blood. Just shy of an addiction but still an obsession. From opening my mind on the Commodore 64 I have kept up with the generations of gaming, currently residing on the Xbox One. Gamertag: Grahamreaper

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