Beholder: Complete Edition PS4 Review

February 8, 2018 by  
Filed under PS4, Reviews & Features, PlayStation

Publisher: Curve Digital  Developer: Warm Lamp Games  Genre: Strategy  Players: 1

Age Rating: 16+  Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One

Beholder soon sets the tone with its bleak art style, and there’s no getting away from the fact that this is a bleak game in more ways than one. Taking inspiration from the likes of dystopian and oppressive stories such as 1984, you as a landlord of an apartment block must keep an eye on any wrongdoing from your tenants, and then it’s up to you as to how you deal with the situation.

The game eases you in, introducing you to the various mechanics as well as our lead character Carl Stein as he settles into his new role, with family in tow. Shortly after all of this, you then have to investigate one of your tenants by sneaking into his apartment, looking around his private space as well as installing cameras to gather all the required evidence. It’s then up to you to report him for drug offences, with the police then coming in and giving the offender a good beating before taking him away. I told you that this is a bleak game, but it gets even bleaker when you come to realise some of the things that have been outlawed in this suffocating world.

Carl and his family live in the basement of the apartment block, but you always have free reign to go elsewhere.

Taking place in the one apartment block, you’ll find yourself in various situations in which you are faced with various tasks that must be completed within a given time frame, and you’ll also be given various decisions to make. The game is all about managing time and money, as well as interacting with characters, while also being sure to not be spotted by any of your tenants whenever you are snooping about; they certainly won’t be pleased if you enter their apartments without their prior permission. With that said, it’s best to be careful whenever you are searching for incriminating evidence or when you are planning to just steal items to sell on the black market for extra cash. Objectives regularly have different ways to complete them, and you can be a complete and utter jobsworth or you could choose to be someone that has more humanity and a bigger heart, looking the other way and going against the government tyranny.

Tenants come and go in the apartment block, and each and every one of them has their own story to tell. Some of the tenants are hiding things, and the fact that the main character has a wife and two kids means that his family life is also brought into the equation from time to time. Beholder’s story is definitely one of its greatest assets and driving points, and there are definitely some tough decisions to be made, particularly as you are against the clock as well.

You’ll soon realise that being a loyal government spy will be more fruitful than looking the other way and helping people, and although it is possible to have success by playing this way, it takes plenty of thought and practice to do so. With that said, if you are intending to play the good citizen, perhaps it would be best to start the game on the easier difficulty level, as in this way you earn more cash for your actions. Also, however you play, you can always earn extra money by bribing any tenants that you have evidence against, which is a great manner in which to top up the coffer whenever you are running low, although do this to an individual too often, and it may come back to haunt you.

Some won’t like the trial and error nature of the game, in which you are never quite sure what you will be faced with next in terms of finances and things like that, sometimes finding that you don’t have enough to cover costs and whatnot. Fortunately, the game does have plenty of autosave slots, which means that you are able to return to an earlier save if you do find things going pear shaped in what you feel is an unrecoverable manner.

There’s often plenty to talk about, meaning that you do get to know your tenants.

This version of Beholder has Complete Edition in its title for a very good reason, as it also includes the Blissful Sleep downloadable content that was already released for the PC version. This is a side story that has you playing as Carl’s predecessor, adding in a few more hours of gameplay on top of the 6+ hours of the main story. It’s definitely an expansion that is worth playing.

Whether playing the main game or Blissful Sleep, one of Beholder’s biggest issues is that it feels a little repetitive from time to time, and the game would have definitely benefited from a little more variation. The story did go some way in helping me forget about the repetition, but there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s always there, with tasks that don’t change all that much as well as a likeable but small playing environment.

Despite feeling a bit tedious as well as trial and error in nature, Beholder: Complete Edition is still a memorable package with some tough narrative decisions to be made. The different choices as well as the differing methods to complete tasks are most welcome, and the game is definitely worth a few playthroughs in order to see how things pan out when you do things differently from previously.