Beholder Complete Edition – Review (PS4)
Beholder is a site to... behold?
I’m not sure that I’ve ever played through a game before where my opinion changed so drastically or as often as it did while I was playing Beholder. I could tell from the start that I had never seen or played anything quite like this one. The minimalist visuals and dark colors stood out because of how different they were in their simplicity. Beholder isn’t a beautiful game, but it’s not meant to be. The beauty is in the unexpected brutality that rears its ugly head from time to time in different and sometimes completely unexpected ways.
First and foremost, Beholder is all about replay-ability. To fully understand what Beholder is you can’t just quit after the first time your story ends and feel fulfilled.
After a very brief tutorial, you’re off to fend for yourself. Having started as a game for PC it’s evident early on that the keyboard and mouse set up would be far superior to that of the console controller for this one and the steep learning curve could be a turn off for some.
You play as Carl Stein, a government employee sent to serve as the landlord of an apartment building in order to spy on the tenants for the greater good. Carl is tasked with keeping the apartment in tip top shape while also caring for his family and spying on his neighbors. It can be a lot to juggle and, one way or another, bad things will happen to Carl because of this – but that seems to be part of the games draw. It takes place in a dark dystopian setting and things rarely have a happy ending at times like that.
Beholder demands multiple play-throughs to fully grasp what Warm Lamp Games’ vision is for this game. All of the choices you make to help your tenants or your country will impact various outcomes before the final credits roll. Take care of the building and your family could die. Take care of a tenant and neglect your duties and you could be fired and cast into the street. Side with the revolutionists and you could be cast out of the country. You must bug your tenants’ apartments, report illegal possessions and activities, and create a profile for everyone living in the building. Once you master the menu system and get a grasp of what it is exactly you’re supposed to be doing, there is a lot of fun to be had. Just stick with it and you’ll enjoy this quirky little game.
The tag-line states “every choice has a consequence.” While this is true, there are various ways to go about handling every situation. Most of the time when it comes to big decisions you can only afford to take care of one big life altering decision at a time. Do you save your daughter or help a tenant escape? Sometimes the decision is made for you simply due to lack of funds. There is an easy mode that gives you more cash for completing tasks and allows you to buy items at a discount if you are so inclined to play that way.
Beholder has strange pacing issues – at times you will find yourself sitting around waiting for things to happen and at other times you’ll feel so swamped with duties that you can’t possibly complete them all. What it lacks in pacing it makes up for with comedy. As you progress through the game the government makes more and more illegal. Make sure you keep checking in on the new laws put into place because they are full of doozies.
- illegal to possess fish
- illegal to cry
- illegal to possess foreign music
- illegal for more than three people to assemble outside the main square
Just to name a few. The new laws constantly kept me chuckling amidst all the horrors that were playing out in front of me.
Included with the complete edition is the DLC Blissful Sleep.
Here you play as Hector, the original landlord that Carl took over for when he “retired.” The premise here is very intriguing. The government has just decided that upon your 85th birthday you are to report to the euthanasia center for your blissful sleep procedure. “You’ve served your country” they tell you, “now let your country serve you.” The real kicker here is that Hector is only 65 and he has to find a way out of this before it is too late. The government claims they never make mistakes and that Hector is in fact 85.
In the DLC Hector must keep the building running while spying on the neighbors the same as Carl did, but he must also do it while finding a way to save being euthanized. And as if he didn’t already have enough on his plate, he also has to care for his cat. This proves to be a bit easier than caring for an entire family the way Carl had to, making it much more fitting for the DLC.
If you don’t have a PC and are interested in giving Beholder a shot, just give it time to fully reveal itself before giving up. With the bonus of the DLC the Complete Edition gives you a lot of gameplay for your money.
*Beholder was provided to the reviewer by the publishing company but this fact did not alter the reviewer’s opinion*
Author: Phil Neyman
Philip is better at buying video games than he is at playing them. He was once told “it must suck to love something so much and be so terrible at it.” As a boy he would write terrible poems about himself and Ross Perot. He enjoys the best and worst of all forms of media, but nothing in the middle. Puyo Puyo Tetris has almost caused unreconcilable differences between him and his wife. He’s never had a hangover, but not from lack of trying.