Beholder PlayStation 4 Pro Review

Once you get past the harsh learning curve Beholder quickly becomes a challenging journey of managing the lives around you

By Grayshadow, Posted 22 Jan 2018

Beholder sets you up within a totalitarian regime but you're not the beacon of hope or iconic image that will set into motion a revolution. Instead, you're an ordinary guy living in this cruel world trying to survive. Casting you as a landlord of a small apartment complex you must alternate between spying, assisting the tenants to earn money, avoid retaliation, and keeping your family alive. The learning curve is steep but Beholder is a challenging game worth replaying multiple times.

Beholder,Complete Edition,PS4,NoobFeed,Warm Lamp Games,

You take control of Carl Stein, a landlord of an apartment block by the Ministry of Allocation. This totalitarian regime wants nothing more than complete control of its citizens, and that means as an agent of the government it's your job to report on your tenant's actions. You and your family have been given a room to live in and an injection was previously provided that removes your need to sleep. You feel powerful but weak, as the landlord of this apartment you can destroy the lives of the people living there and uphold the law of the motherland or save their lives.

The style and structure of Beholder are striking, with a bleak presentation similar to Playdead's Limbo or Inside. You slowly learn about the world around you through speaking with the characters and reading the mail, learning why people live in constant fear. The soundtrack helps bring the presentation together, I didn't mind that it repeated on a loop for my entire playthrough.

Time limits play a major role throughout the game, with many missions and objectives clocked. You need to please your superiors but keep the residents happy, but you cannot do both. Decisions usually force you to side with one or the other. Compliance results in funding which is necessary to repair the apartment and complete specific objectives, however, inaccurate reports result in fines. 

Beholder,Complete Edition,PS4,NoobFeed,Warm Lamp Games,

This gives the player ample control over the lives in the apartment. You can evict people by breaking into their homes and planting contraband or catch them committing legal acts by spying through the poophole or using a surveillance camera. There are many options available to the player but it isn't really explained in the tutorial. Instead, it's left to the player to figure how to accomplish objectives on their own and use the tools available for creative solutions. 

Carl has a family and as the story progresses problems begin to surface that require urgent action. This can lead to you using the funds to benefit your family instead of the apartment you're in charge of. Of course, you can do both, but this involves using imaginative answers to obtain more money. This can include falsely accusing tenants, selling all their possessions, or placing evidence. All you need to do is file a report, provide proof, and let the police do the work. If you find yourself short on supplies you can also blackmail people or sell items to the merchant. All your decisions determine what ending you'll ultimately end up with, encouraging multiple playthroughs.

In a game where time is critical and searching people's apartments require diligent management to avoid being caught, the interface is quite slow. Interacting with objects within the environment can become tasking as they require constant inputs doesn't include a universal cancel button. This means you can be searching an object, see your neighbor coming and instead of pushing O to close all the menus and rush out you have to close each menu individually.

Beholder,Complete Edition,PS4,NoobFeed,Warm Lamp Games,

Locating important details in your file is easy enough, and opens in real time. The right side providing information on tasks, tenant profiles, government directives, and bills and the left side includes your items. Seeing what was needed to be done was simple to find and thanks to a fantastic camera I could be anywhere in the building and still see everything.

Beholder has 2 difficulty options, Trainee and Government Elite. After playing through Trainee and trying Government Elite the game's difficulty spike considerably. Funds were much more limited and decisions far more weighing. This was unbalanced and Beholder would've greatly benefited from an intermediate mode between the 2. Trainee became too easy but Government Elite considerably outside my skill level.

This is the Complete Edition and with it comes the DLC prequel Blissful Sleep. Taking place before the events of the core campaign the gameplay doesn't change but you do take control of a new protagonist. Named Hector this senior citizen who is about to reach his 85th birthday, unfortunately, the government has passed a new law stating that everyone who reaches this age must be euthanized. Hector doesn't want to die and his actions will determine what ending his story will have. It's more of the same but provides content into the world.

Beholder,Complete Edition,NoobFeed,

Beholder doesn't hold your hand and this can become an issue. It relies heavily on the player to self-teaching themselves about much of the game's mechanics. This can lead to some vexing moments during the first couple of hours but once you understand the mechanics the game opens up. The setting is held together thanks to a strong presentation, moody soundtrack, and good writing. Once you get past the harsh learning curve Beholder quickly becomes a challenging journey of managing the lives around you.

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): PS4, PC, Mobile
Publisher(s): Warm Lamp Games
Developer(s): Warm Lamp Games
Genres: Puzzle
Themes: Distopia
Release Date: 2016-11-09

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