If there is one thing we’ve learned playing Beholder: Complete Edition it is that the words “snitches get stitches” isn’t just a funny saying people use, its REAL! I’m not sure how many times I was found grassing on people in this game, or the number of times I just outright told people I turned them into the state, but it was enough to see me killed off more times than Kenny from South Park.
Beholder won’t be a new game to many of you, having been available on PC since November 2016, but it has recently been re-released on consoles as the Complete Edition. Featuring the main game plus the Blissful Sleep DLC, the Complete Edition brings this popular adventure/strategy game that has been heavily influenced by the dystopian works of the likes of George Orwell’s 1984 to console gamers, and it does so in excellent fashion.
The game and DLC are both set in the same apartment block, located in a totalitarian state which is in the midst of a war between one of its neighbouring nations. Living under a totalitarian regime, you are tasked with running the apartment block whilst also spying on its residents and reporting your findings to the Government, and supporting their causes by doing their bidding. Despite both the core game and Blissful Sleep DLC taking place in the same location though they do operate on different timelines, with the DLC taking place first and leading up to the events that you find yourself thrust into at the start of Beholder.
The best thing about the game’s story is how it can change in the blink of an eye. Depending on the choices you make, the story alters, and there are numerous endings to discover by heading down different paths. Many of which lead to you being dead. So don’t let people know what you’re doing, especially if you know they have guns or knives because it doesn’t end well. Many of the decisions you’ll need to make will be influenced by tasks set by the Government, and then it is down to you how you carry them out. You can gather evidence by talking to residents to help make your decisions, search apartments to find contraband, just outright evict people or help them and disobey the Government to try and make the world a better place.
As you make your decisions, you not only affect the game’s direction, you also earn yourself money and reputation points. The money can be used to buy useful items for residents, hospital treatment for family members, or saved up to help you escape the country. The reputation points are used to purchase cameras to install around the apartment block, to help persuade residents to do/tell you what you want and to essentially bribe the authorities if you get caught committing crimes yourself, after all, you’re only stealing whisky from your neighbour for the greater good.
There does seem to be less opportunity to influence the outcome in the Blissful Sleep DLC, where, despite being able to complete the same actions, and there being choices still available, you don’t seem to as big an impact on the outcome. The same result ends up happeneing no matter what you do, in that you get carted off in order that the new family can move in to kick off the core game content. Not just that, but you also have less going on personally in the story, although it is all based around you, you miss out on things in the main game like possibly losing family members and such like. It doesn’t take anything away from the main game, but it does mean the DLC isn’t as enjoyable, in my opinion.
The game also delivers well in the graphics and sound departments. Using a combination of dark colours and a layout similar to Fallout Shelter but with a darker, more sinister feel, it sets the atmosphere for living in a dystopian society really well. The design of the characters also fits in nicely, only giving them basic silhouettes with white linings for the definition to show their eyes, glasses, ties, etc. Move on the Beholder’s music and sound effects and it only adds to the game’s charm, with music changing when police arrive to cart someone off to prison, or you hear the sound of screams and explosions can be heard in the distance during terrorist attacks on the city. The developers at Warm Lamp Games really did go into great detail to make the feel of this game as authentic as possible.
Overall, the game does what it sets out to do extremely well and it sets the atmosphere perfectly, with the art style and sound effects really hitting the nail on the head. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it probably gives a good impression of what you could expect it to feel like living in Nazi Germany during World War II, although in essence, it was almost definitely much worse in real life during those times. The biggest selling point of the game though is the way the story plays out in the game, with choices impacting everything and offering multiple endgame scenarios, meaning that you don’t get bored quickly and it’s a game that is fun to replay over and over again.
- Gameplay is fun, and replayability factors are high due to offering alternative endings
- Graphics perfectly capture the atmosphere of living in a dystopian society
- The DLC is a nice addition, but ultimately under delivers on the core content with a less powerful storyline
MAIN GAME – 86% BLISSFUL SLEEP DLC – 76%
Beholder: Complete Edition is developed by Warm Lamp Games and published by Alawar Entertainment, and is now available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.