Propagation: Paradise Hotel: Building on its Inspiration With Success

There have been some truly excellent horror space being carved out in the VR space lately. Between Requisition VR and Death Horizon Reloaded, there has been a good smattering of horror VR games coming out recently. But there is one that was released recently that has gone above and beyond when it comes to bringing survival horror specifically to VR. Propagation: Paradise Hotel.

Think Resident Evil, but not the more recent remake releases that are more on the action side of things, but the older Resident Evil. Even down to the environment, except this time, we are in a hotel and not Spencer Mansion.

Propagation: Paradise Hotel sees us in the role of Emily. Desperate to find her sister, we enter the titular hotel only to find a strange disease has run rampant, turning everyone into zombie-like creatures. The story in Paradise Hotel is an awesome one. You can tell there was a lot of through pit into it. Mostly I find a lot of VR games tend to focus more on gameplay than putting in the work for a great story. Wandadev Studio wears its love for the Resident Evil series on its sleeves here but takes that next step to really focus on a more concrete story. 

That being said, there is also some fine-tuning done to the gameplay here as well. Everything feels good to do, especially given the fact that sometimes in a VR environment, things can get a little janky. While there were a few moments here and there, for the most part, my experience was smooth. Again, Propagation felt like a finely tuned VR experience.

That’s not to say there is anything easy in Paradise Hotel. Combat is tough as nails, especially early on when it feels like downing an enemy with the pistol is only a minor inconvenience to them. After a few minutes, they will rise again to ruin your day. Imagine if every enemy was a Crimson Head from the Resident Evil Remake

Puzzle-solving is lite, but that isn’t a bad thing. It allows us to focus more on the action and story without having to backtrack and lose focus. Paradise is also a shorter experience, running around four and a half hours on my playthrough. It felt like such a tight experience. I can definitely see where there may be another one coming at some point. But it does a great job of keeping the tension all the way through because if there is something about Paradise Hotel that needs to be lauded, it is its emphasis on the horror environment. Granted, there is little to no interaction with the environment itself, which does take away from the VR immersion, hopefully, something that the devs bring into their next VR adventure. But skulking around the hotel, trying my best to stealth around with my flashlight only to spot an enemy and need to keep my light trained on them only to lose them to the darkness if I suddenly would shift around to narrow in on a haunting sound in the distance, which happened a lot.

The sound design is outstanding in Paradise Hotel. Not only is the character well acted, and the voices fit the characters, but the enemies have this certain ferocity that makes them terrifying. When hearing those noises coming from around the corner or from the darkness is an experience that is hard to create outside of VR.

Propagation: Paradise Hotel starts out feeling like a homage to older Resident Evil but pulls away from that pretty early on as Wandadev Studio shows their chops at making a good story with some solid horror VR gameplay. Coming from the devs of one of my favorite rhythm games, I expected no less. I am all in on whatever they do next, whether it be a follow-up to Paradise Hotel or something new entirely. It’s clear that the devs are fans of the VR space, and they do amazing work in it. 

So whether you are new to VR horror or just looking for a new game to lose yourself in a be spooked for a few hours, I can’t recommend Propagation: Paradise Hotel enough. It doesn’t overstay its welcome, it gets right to the point in its horror execution, and it generally feels like something that could be built upon if the developers decide to make a sequel.

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