When was the last time you found yourself stranded and confused in Africa? Paradise, the latest point-and-click adventure from the creator of the cult hit Syberia, gives you that chance. Having been shot down over the country of Maurania, a young woman awakens with amnesia in the harem of a local prince. Not knowing her own real name, she calls herself "Ann Smith" after the author of a book on Mauranian wildlife that was found with her at the crash.
And this, really, is where the problems start. Ann's true identity is no mystery whatsoever - in fact, it's explicitly revealed in the game's opening cutscene. Once you discover why she's in Maurania, her amnesia hasn't made any difference; the game's events would have been roughly the same whether with or without her memory. Actually, without spoiling anything, not suffering amnesia might have made things a bit more exciting. It's symptomatic of the game as a whole, which sometimes throws in unnecessary complications for no good reason. It's also why an epic adventure that takes you to palaces, villages and emerald mines to return a black leopard to its home and beyond never feels as good or exciting as it should be.
Mind you, the game still looks and sounds incredible. Consistently high production values and an impressive level of detail only support the old cliche that French developers make games with style. Everything from the creature design to the natives' dialect feels strangely believable. Simple, effective musical phrases sets the mood while the voice acting is a sharp cut above average.