BEHOLD! It’s a wonderful game.
Game: Beholder Complete Edition
Developer: Warm Lamp Games
Publisher: Curve Digital
Reviewed on: PS4
In a city which is under control and Governed by a Totalitarian State, you play as Carl, one of the Government’s trusted members whose new job is to spy on the tenants which already live in the apartment complex in which you and your family have just moved in to. It’s your duty to ensure the tenants are following correct protocol and living true to the law. If you do come across a tenant which is breaking the law, you do indeed have to punish them. It is entirely up to you how you use your power as a Government worker but fail any objectives and it is game over. Literally, you miss a phone call from the Ministry? GAME OVER. Essentially, it’s your duty to be the best god damn Government Spy you can be. You’ve no doubt heard of Big Brother, right? It’s a lot like that.
As soon as you start Beholder: Complete Edition it immediately strikes all the right cords visually. Its dirty and run down (I say that in the nicest way) atmosphere creates a stunning setting for this type of story line. The apartment complex in which you work and live is made up of 5 floors which you must manage and repair. You and your family live in the basement it appears and from there you can call the Ministry and report in any evidence which you find on the other tenants. Think of it as your main HUB world, oh and you can also talk to your family members because honestly, you’d be a pretty bad husband if you ignored your family all the time. Each time you repair a room in the building you are then able to rent out the room and bring in a new tenant. Just like any good neighbour you’re going to want to get to know the fellow tenants and the information they give you is sometimes vital. You can use certain information to blackmail or you can use it to help. Depends how Good/Evil you’re feeling on the day I suppose. You’ll learn a lot from talking to the other characters, even if they don’t speak.
Gameplay itself is varied. It’s a mix of stealth and strategy. To begin with I did find myself a little lost on what to do next as the game does offer very little tutorial, but this does help the player play the game in any way they deem appropriate. Think of it as learning on the job! The game wants you to devise your own plans it seems. Do you work hard and raise the money, so your son can buy books for University? Or do you help a family flee from the somewhat corrupt authority system? OR do you just sit back and watch the world hypothetically burn around you? The decision is yours entirely. You are given around 40 hours per Government request, in game hours I may add so sometimes time can be a little short if you’re knee deep in gathering evidence. Luckily there is the option to pause the game and go over your options. Honestly this is a lovely feature and helps the decision making not to feel rushed and spontaneous. You have time to think your options through and hopefully come to the correct conclusion. You will find yourself sometimes with more than one job in your log. It’s up to you, the player, to decide which job to follow first. Obviously, the jobs from the Government State list are the highest of priority but sometimes you do just need to chill out and help your wife find a big enough saucepan. Saucepan or Government Work? Hmm. Only one of these jobs will score you husband brownie points am-I-right?
Gameplay can sometimes feel a little repetitive at times but in my opinion, this just comes with the territory. It’s not a HUGE open world game full of side quests, it’s a quirky very likeable strategy-based game so really the objectives are going to become a little repetitive from time to time. It honestly didn’t bother me, and I had tons of fun throughout. However, you decide to play Beholder Complete Edition there are a decent number of outcomes. Depending on which variety outcome you get helps the player understand the actions of their consequences. There is always more than one way to finish a job so sit back, gather all your evidence and finish the job however you seem fit.
The jump from PC to console has given the game a few errors with its control system. Though it’s a side-scrolling game with its Fallout Shelter like look, there is a depth to the scenery that means you can sometimes be stood a little off so interacting with certain items can at times be a little clumsy. It’s a minor detail and in my eyes, took nothing away from the core game itself. It can just be a little fiddly in places that’s all.
Ultimately Beholder Complete Edition is a very fun likeable game, even for essentially a manager sim. Your actions have consequences, some jobs really do make you question your morals and working your utmost to get the happiest ending to a job possible can be a fun experience. The chalk like art style is very unique and in a world where huge sprawling RPG’s are King, I was thoroughly surprised with Beholder. The audio is also very good, it’s very subtle so it’s not a distraction by any means but it’s there just enough to set the sometimes-stealthy atmosphere in place. Nothing more heart pumping in this game when you’re searching a tenant flat and they walk in on you. Spooky. If you’re looking for something a little different in the video game genre, I highly recommend Beholder Complete Edition. It’s fun, gorgeously bleak to look at (Again I mean that in the nicest way) and it’s just an all-around enjoyable game. The Complete Edition also comes bundled with the DLC Blissful Sleep, a short expansion to play after you’ve completed the main campaign. You play as a new character this time around and it offers up some new missions and storyline to follow.