Welcome to Paradize – PS5 Review

I guess zombies place in media and popular culture is never going to disappear. I’ll be honest, I don’t think there’s much left to do with them that hasn’t already been thought of. Welcome to Paradize is the latest from EKO Software. It’s a survival game based around society’s failure to enslave the walking dead into helpful servants. It’s a pretty smart premise with plenty of charm to it. Unfortunately, I feel some of the survival elements become very intrusive.

Paradize is a zombie-themed park that, rather predictably has become overrun with wild zombies. The ultimate goal is to escape the place by building a spaceship. Alan Tusk (you get no prize for guessing who he’s based on) is a billionaire who has taken to the galaxy to escape Earth and your intention is to do the same.

The people left behind are fairly goofy and set the game’s tone very well. The desert biome especially takes on the typical yeehaws without entirely devolving into Borderlands-esque humour. It’s played a little lighter and, despite not all of it landing, the efforts seem a lot more earnest here. The cast have a slight variation to them. The Warden is very much a coward whilst Pedro is too old and wise to get into any specific trouble. It all leads to our nameless avatar getting into countless fetch-quests in an effort to assemble our rocket.

The gameplay settles into some usual survival fare. Crafting is ever-present as you look to improve weapons and a base-building element becomes very important in the opening acts. Your home camp is where the rocket will launch from so that requires upkeep and defending if you want to make it off this planet. It doesn’t usually lend itself to regular inventory management. You’ve got deep pockets to fill and junk can be converted into scrap. When I did start hitting the limit, I started to become more frugal with the loot I was picking up. It does not seem bothersome and keeps the pace up, initially.

The main threat comes from zombie swarms that periodically cross your path. The standard combat features light and heavy strikes, although a flurry of light thumps have been enough to dispatch most problems. Weapons can be looted or crafted and they fall within ranged or melee categories. Both serve a purpose with melee swings very effective when surrounded. Projectiles can deal with heavily armoured zombies but they maybe lack the damage a hefty club can produce. In either flavour, combat has a good feel and the feedback is sound with damage numbers flying off injured opposition.

Venturing out in the world doesn’t have to be alone, either. There is co-op but you also can employ mind-controlled zombies to act as your wingmen. They are somewhat disposable but equipping them well can help keep them in the fight. The system to control them is pretty interesting. It’s a basic setup but you can set their behaviours for situations both in and out of combat. You can have them collect loot, shoot on sight, intimidate others and so on. It’s not particularly complex but there are discarded videos you can find which will explain effective combinations.

It’s very simple but I enjoy belting through the mobs and occasionally keeping my eye out for bigger threats. Ranged enemies can knock you bag and there are kamikaze zombies that you simply cannot get near. The encounters can become monotonous but there was enough variety there to keep me guessing. The penalty for failure takes on a Soulsian approach. In short, after death you have a corpse run. Typically, that means you have a doppelganger who spawns where you die and you can regain your lost experience by clubbing them to death. It is something of a trivial process with only other zombies potentially costing you those sweet points.

I feel Welcome to Paradize really falters in the building and defence of your base. Constructing buildings is easy enough. Just pluck it from a menu and plonk it down somewhere. Placing walls and traps is a more laborious process. Trying to construct something like a perimeter fence requires each fence panel to be placed one at a time. Without some kind of barrier, my base would easily turn to toast. Even once that problem is solved, I found these invasions to be incredibly frequent.

Minutes would go by between attacks and, if you’re not near a fast travel point, you’ll face a rebuild. Perhaps more annoying is, once your rocket is destroyed, some of your main objectives vanish until you fix your rocket. At that point, it’s gone from being a nuisance to an actual obstruction. It implies the importance of a well armed base but the regularity of the attacks has me wondering if anything will be good enough to repel adversity when I’m trying to crack on with the main story.

The full map is only accessible from fast-travel points. It doesn’t seem an especially large world but having just arrows to guide you can make traversing the areas a little clumsy. Navigation can suffer when you don’t always have a map to refer to. Objectives in the story focus largely around fetch-quests but there’s occasional moments where the game changes it up. Having your zombie homeboys dig up buried treasure or fighting an enraged elephant does break up the collecting.

Welcome to Paradize has a good charm to it. I think the writing is decent with a cast of funny, oddball characters. Graphically, it doesn’t pull up trees. I see clothes clipping through models quite often and there’s some uncomfortable pauses between some lines of dialogue. Despite this, there’s a cheeky tone to it which works out really nicely. The little video interludes from Bob are well put together and makes me want to find more of them. The zombies have slapstick prat-falls and seeing one armoured up with pillows always raises a smile.

Welcome to Paradize has a light-hearted tone and I find the story itself to be interesting. The survival aspects are largely relaxed as you wander the wasteland. Unfortunately, I found defending your base camp to be very intrusive and completely stalled what began as a nicely paced romp. It’s a shame because, despite the presentation needing a little polish, I was enjoying the combat and tinkering with your Zombot helpers.

Welcome to Paradize
6 Overall
+ Charmingly funny writing.
+ Satisfying combat.
+ Programming your Zombots can be interesting.
+ The survival aspects are mostly lenient.
- Visually rough around the edges.
- Base building can become a chore.
- Base defence can be downright intrusive.
- Access to a map is limited.
Despite some initial promise, my mood started to sour on Welcome to Paradize when the base defence aspects became more prominent. The rest of the survival elements seem much more relaxed but the regular bombardments of zombie hordes wore on me. The combat is fun with plenty of improvised weaponry and I did enjoy configuring the zombie bodyguards. It's a cheeky world that doesn't take itself seriously but the whole thing just doesn't quite come together.

About Mike

Mike gets all the racing games because he understands that stuff even though he doesn't drive.

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