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Welcome to ParadiZe review

Welcome to ParadiZe screenshot
Image: Eko Software/Nacon

Rough around the edges, a bit of a technical mess and with bugs aplenty: that’s Welcome to Paradize in a nutshell. But somehow, this zombie-controlling action adventure game still manages to be fun despite its flaws.

You’ve just arrived in ParadiZe, a settlement created after the zombie apocalypse. Using technology developed by the founders of the settlement, zombies no longer need to pose a threat. You see, by sticking a special helmet on their head, they become bound to you, doing your bidding. Have them gather resources for you, or have them fight alongside you in combat. Or why not both?

Of course, there are still lots of unchecked zombies, out to get your brains. Combat plays a big part of Welcome to ParadiZe then, and you’ll need to keep your wits about you to stay alive. To begin with, you’ll have a basic melee weapon (or your fists), but before long you’ll get a gun to keep the Z pests at bay. Progress through the game and you’ll find flamethrowers, boomerangs, crossbows and more — and you’ll be able to upgrade them, too.

Welcome to Paradize
Image: Eko Software/Nacon

You can give a weapon to your helmeted zombie pal, too. It’s up to you if you want them to deal ranged damage with a gun, or get up close and personal with a machete. Both have their benefits. You have full control over how you’d like your zombie to act, even going so far as making them intimidate enemies when they’re in range, or goad them into attacking only them, leaving you (somewhat) threat free.

Related: The best zombie games on PS5

It doesn’t always work out, though. Sometimes there are so many enemy zombies that fighting to stay alive is all you can do. Playing alone, Welcome to ParadiZe can be tough-as-nails, with some zombies offering near one-hit-kills. If you do die, you can choose to return to your home camp or revive at the nearest fast travel point — but that can be a fair distance away. Get in a particularly tough area, especially if you’re unprepared, and you can be in for a frustrating time.

It doesn’t help that sometimes, those out-of-control zombies can band together, creating their own little camps. They’re often defended by various traps and, stupid as they are, your helper zombie will often — nay, practically always — walk straight into them, dying instantly. Depending what perks you have equipped, you can revive them, or if you have a spare helmet (you will), you can simply recruit another. It’s no great shakes but it’s still an annoyance.

Welcome to Paradize
Image: Eko Software/Nacon

Generally, though, wandering around the world of Welcome to ParadiZe, completing quests and side quests, is surprisingly fun. You may be asked to gather various materials, or simply travel to a new point of the map. Wherever you travel, there’ll be plenty of zombies to fight against and an opportunity to gather new materials and resources. Things are even more fun if you have co-op buddies along for the ride. You can play online or you can play locally if you have a second controller.

It’s easier if you have a second player to watch your back. If you die, they can simply pick you up (and vice versa), making gameplay feel more fluid and enjoyable. Enemies don’t seem to scale, either, and so clearing out crowds of zeds in a pair is much easier than going solo. The only problem? Loot and materials are shared (if you’re playing locally, at least), so you’ll need to come up with some democratic way of sharing it. Or, you know, just grab it all for yourself.

Welcome to ParadiZe

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There are survival elements to Welcome to ParadiZe, but we wouldn’t go as far as to call this a survival game. You’ll build a basic base and, depending where on the map you are, you’ll need to watch your water/heat levels. In the desert, for example, you’ll eventually overheat if you don’t drink a bottle of water. Your base largely exists simply as part of the story, but it is at least where you can upgrade weapons and craft other useful items.

But let’s get onto those problems. We’ve been playing Welcome to ParadiZe on PS5 and it’s fair to say that this isn’t exactly a looker. It looks downright rough at times, hampered by the fact we’ve experienced a fair bit of screen-tearing too. Perhaps most egregious, though, are the various bugs we’ve encountered while playing. Frequently our zombie companions have got stuck, only respawning if we load into a new area or fast-travel somewhere. Loot also regularly drops in areas we can’t reach, with no way to get to it.

Keep your expectations in check for Welcome to ParadiZe, and there’s some fun to be had here. It’s marred with some technical issues and the odd bug but ultimately, exploring its world with your pet zombies in tow is, against the odds, entertaining enough to keep us playing — especially if you’ve got a co-op buddy along for the ride.

Welcome to ParadiZe review – GameSpew’s score

GameSpew Our Score 6
This review of Welcome to ParadiZe is based on the PS5 version of the game, with a code provided by the publisher. It’s available on PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC.
Editor in chief // Kim's been into video games since playing Dizzy on her brother's Commodore 64 as a nipper. She'll give just about anything a go, but she's got a particular soft spot for indie adventures. If she's not gaming, she'll be building Lego, reading a thriller, watching something spooky or... asleep. She does love to sleep.