Paradise is a deep and challenging game that makes you think, but ends too quickly, leaving you hanging on the story line without support. There are a number of game ending bugs, the content is a little light, and puzzles are illogical; closer to purgatory than paradise.
The Best Parts
Great looking visual presentation, detailed and immersive enough to mesmerize the senses once you get in tune with the story line and game play.
Good voice acting and well written dialogue of the characters is fun, engaging and entertaining, keeping you involved in the events occurring around the characters and in the story line.This makes you feel like your right there listening to what they have to say.
The Bad Parts
The game starts out really slow for people who like to see some action. Paradise is like a big snowball rolling down a hill and the game can get faster, bigger, and better as you progress towards the end.
Paradise can be an extremely challenging game that forces you to think, if you don't you'll be staring at the screen, wondering what and where to go next, but that's a good thing because you actually have to think about your next action. It's just not obvious and requires thought to figure out. On the down side, it can be too easy at times, and the difficulty appears to be random and doesn't seem to increase as you work your way through the game.
The control scheme takes awhile to figure out and get used to, but once you get beyond its slow response time, you can play the game much more effectively, and obviously it becomes more fun.
Paradise has a third person perspective, but the camera angles can often be unusual at times, and the cursor doesn't always respond when you want to look around the environments.
This said, the visual presentation of the details and textures of Africa and other environments is the best part of Paradise, the backgrounds and environments look amazing, from the tree top village, to a rusted hulk of a ship, to an abandoned emerald mine. The variety of environments is good, they're all unique in concept and construction, and create the effect they were designed to.
Unfortunately, the character animations are stiff and jerky as they interact in the wonderful vistas of Africa, which takes you out of the moment the environment had been creating for your senses.
Sound and Music
Nice sounding voice acting works beautifully with the well written dialogue of the characters, but unfortunately none of the African born characters had a real actually noticeable accent, they where a little cheesy.
The sound effects included wonderful chirping sounds of the birds, the whistling of the tree dwellers as they are communicating, and the authentic sounds of the African wilderness. The audio in this game makes you actually feel like your in Africa.
The sound track of Paradise is suitably reserved for an adventure game with a touch of action; it sits in the background as you travel across Africa and occasionally picks up speed or slows down, depending on the action occurring on the screen.
The story line is probably going to be a little slow for most gamers, especially in the beginning, but if you stick with the game, you'll find the story line starts to pick up pace and energy as you progress through the game. The game takes place in Maurania, a country where rebels are fighting for liberation against ruthless King Rodon. You begin the game as the daughter of King Rodon who is on her way home to visit her father after years of separation because she has heard he's sick. On the flight home her plane is shot out of the sky and she falls unconscious, when she wakes she finds herself in a palace environment, but she has amnesia and can't remember her name, who she is or how she got there. Her only clue is a book with the name Ann Smith on it, so decides to use this name until she finds her own.
You have to work your way out of the palace, and work your way through a half dozen areas before finally meeting up with the father and settling with your past. Along the way you will escort a leopard to its home on the slopes of Kilomanjaro, encounter amazing animals as you travel, unravel dark mysteries, and undertake a few challenging and pointless puzzles.
It took me only about 14 hours to play through Paradise to the end, but then the main challenge is the puzzles, and they aren't particularly hard if you think your way through them.
Although the puzzles are the main form of gameplay in Paradise, the puzzles don't really get harder as you progress through the game, they seem to have more of a random difficulty level to them.
Unfortunately, I have to report that Paradise failed on me seven times during the 14 hours it took me to finish, which made the game more like a game from the upper level of hell, then Paradise.
The Bottom Line
Paradise involves a lot of pointing and clicking to get to the end, far too much for me, and this eventually became tiresome for me. Considering the movements of the characters and the problems with the slow response of the mouse, I wish they had taken the time to map the movements onto the keyboard; this would have solved a lot of Paradise's problems and made the game a lot more fun and engaging to play.
In the final analysis, White Birds and Ubisoft certainly failed to make the game we were expecting considering the previews and all of the tools they had to work with. Paradise feels unpolished, lacking follow through in many aspects, but is a good start for the pair; hopefully the next game in the series gets a little more time at the polishing table.