Beholder: Complete Edition (Playstation 4 Review)
After originally being released on Steam back in 2016, Beholder has made its way to console. Developed by Warm Lamp Games, Beholder is set in a totalitarian state and you, along with your family, have been moved into a block of flats where you have been put in charge as landlord. Sounds like a cushy gig—until you’re told by the government that your actual job is to spy on all your tenants, profile each of them and report any illegal activity to the authorities.
Reporting illegal activity is what’s expected of any law-abiding citizen. However, this is where Beholder gets morally grey. You’ll periodically receive reports from your government of what is now deemed illegal, with one of the earliest things being in possession of or eating apples. You then need to make decision of how you’re going to play Beholder. Will you be the dedicated government official and do as the party says, regardless of the cost to those around you, or will you be the type of person that will help your tenants in their time of need?
Keep in mind these choices aren’t easy. If you decide to be the good government official and rule the flats with an iron fist, then your tenants are likely to do rebel and leave up the creek without a paddle. However, if you decide to be a decent human being you’ll find they’ll be more receptive in your times of need when attempting to help your tenants.
As Beholder is set in a drab 1984-esque world, you can expect the to see more shades of brown than you ever knew existed, complete with silhouetted characters. The aesthetic nails the dystopian horror feel that Beholder is going for and you can’t help but have the feel the uneasy cloud of foreboding that’s constantly in the air.
I need to mention the music for Beholder. The music that plays when you’re going about your day-to-day business of spying or blackmailing your neighbours is a simple but weirdly unsettling melody. Although when it hits the fan the music kicks up a gear. If you feel inclined to report someone for an illegal item or action, the police will arrive and arrest, most likely dispose, that tenant. The music that kicks in, in comparison to the simplistic chilled out music when going about your business, is strikingly different that you can’t help but have a wee panic as you know something has happened. I would be panning the camera around the whole building trying to figure out what was happening whenever the music would unexpectedly start. Usually it was something totally grim, like someone dying again. I’m too pure to blackmail people to raise money for medical bills apparently.
Beholder is not without a couple of issues, the main one being the transition from PC to console. One way to keep an eye on which of your tenants are the troublemakers is to install security cameras in what looks like the smoke alarms. On PC you have the option of clicking directly onto the smoke alarm but for console you need to position Carl directly underneath, something which can’t be done if a piece of furniture is in the way. The option to trash the room in a mad frenzy looking for illegal items isn’t available so there’s no way move them out the way. This means that the whole flat isn’t covered and you’ll likely need to waste some time snooping on your tenants the proper peeping Tom way; through the keyhole.
There was a few other bugs like being stuck in the stairwell or being unable to to complete a task because I didn’t have a necessary item, even if it was in my inventory. A fun way to look at that last bug would be putting it down to the stubbornness of tenants clocking on that you’re spying on them, leading them to refuse the item the requested. Unfortunately, it’s still a bug.
The Complete Edition also included the DLC Blissful Sleep, which is a prequel to the main game where you play as a previous landlord of the same block of flats. It’s more of the same with a slight difference to the story—this time your character is a little older and been a government official for a long time. Meaning he’s also a bit more paranoid and flinchy, always looking over his shoulder and kind of seems like he’s expecting to get caught doing something illegal. Much like I would probably be if I was put in that situation; see previous comment about being too pure.
Blissful Sleep sees a few characters from the main game and adds a bit more depth and character background. Some of the tasks makes these characters more interesting and may make you treat them differently if you go for another playthrough of the main game. Unless you’re the heartless, iron fist type then a characters personal circumstances are nothing but a hurdle to be overcome.
As there is multiple endings for the main game and DLC, as well as various ways a task can play out, there’s plenty of reason to play through Beholder multiple times. The beginning tasks are similar but these are solely to get you into the swing of the things.
Beholder is definitely a game you should try out if you’re looking for something a little different. Sometimes it can feel a little bit like you’re doing nothing but fetch quests with constant back and forth, but the story itself as well as the multitude of various characters with their own unique backstories more than makes up for this.