Beholder: Complete Edition Image
Metascore
63

Mixed or average reviews - based on 8 Critic Reviews What's this?

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6.8

Mixed or average reviews- based on 12 Ratings

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  • Summary: You’re a government-installed landlord in a totalitarian state. Your job is to spy on tenants, peep into their lives, eavesdrop on their conversations, and profile everyone to ensure laws are beyond obeyed and the state is kept happy. Anyone caught plotting against the state’s ever-changingYou’re a government-installed landlord in a totalitarian state. Your job is to spy on tenants, peep into their lives, eavesdrop on their conversations, and profile everyone to ensure laws are beyond obeyed and the state is kept happy. Anyone caught plotting against the state’s ever-changing laws must be reported. But will you? Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Mar 28, 2018
    74
    I've never played this type of game before, and although I didn't necessarily enjoy every single minute of gameplay, it's memorable for the ideas it presents, and the different ways in which it plays out.
  2. 70
    As a game, Beholder is really well made. It has an interesting aesthetic, clever, challenging mechanics, and plenty of paths through the game. Its real struggle is in getting you to genuinely care about what’s going on, and it’s hard to get there; the gameplay too often makes it too clear that you need to make decisions that have little to do with your moral core.
  3. Jan 19, 2018
    70
    Beholder: Complete Edition is a fun strategy game. Its gorgeous yet subtle dystopian aesthetic illustrates a totalitarian world on the brink of revolution, with an interesting set of characters and soundtrack to boot. But while it’s geared towards player agency, it can feel like you're under the thumb of the state more often than not, and that means you may feel forced to walk a path you didn't necessarily choose.
  4. Jan 18, 2018
    60
    Beholder is an intriguing concept and thematically rather strong, as it twists and exaggerates a Cold War totalitarian surveillance state into the form of a video game. However, with a sequel on the way, we hope that Warm Lamp can improve on an idea that’s rather rough around the edges but is dying to be fleshed out further.
  5. Jan 24, 2018
    60
    It's clear that Beholder: Complete Edition is trying to tell a story about oppression, coercion, and state observation, but its heavy handedness and console controls dilutes the message it's trying to produce. Other games have achieved much more with so much less, yet that shouldn't distract from what is a management game with a delightful twist. It's fun to be the bad guy and hauling out a tenant because you spied them eating fish can be strangely compelling. Sometimes admin can be fun and Beholder exploits the subservient and rebel in us all.
  6. 60
    Beholder: Complete Edition initially impresses with its strong style and theme. The challenge and multiple choices, although welcome, require you to repeat the same actions to get to those interesting moments and if you want to succeed the game forces your hand to play a certain way. A great concept that stutters slightly on the execution.
  7. 55
    Beholder is an interesting management sim with brilliant morally ambiguous themes taking center stage, however it suffers from imbalanced execution. There’s far too much of an uphill climb to finally understand and begin to enjoy Beholder.

See all 8 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 1
  2. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Feb 5, 2018
    6
    Moving into your new residence, you watch as the previous manager is dragged out, beaten black and blue. After asking what happened, you’reMoving into your new residence, you watch as the previous manager is dragged out, beaten black and blue. After asking what happened, you’re informed he didn’t perform his duties adequately, and hopefully you’ll do better. Naturally, seeing someone beaten to the brink of death will encourage anyone to do well, but if the job entails that for poor performance, it’s unlikely the thought of what you’ll be required to do doesn’t pass through your mind. Your family is against the situation, but given the circumstances, you don’t have much of a choice. Such is life in a world controlled by the State.

    Starting out, you’re informed of how to purchase things such as security cameras, which will allow you to see into the darkness of the layout that will be familiar for anyone that’s played the likes of Fallout Shelter. While initially I thought these would later be used at your terminal at home, it’s just a way to see into the fog of war, as it were. That’s really about all the info the game provides if you choose to do the tutorial, although you can go to the phone and ask more questions about how to play. But the gist of it is you’ll be given a mission that you must complete within a certain period of time, and the way that you do so is up to you. The draw of the game is supposed to play heavily on the moral decision making, although a good amount of it isn’t necessarily a choice you would make because you don’t have the funds. And that’s what makes it all the more engaging.

    Many games like the last few Fallout titles, as well Mass Effect give you choices that are essentially good or bad. They attempt to frame it in another light, but that’s what it comes down to. The idea is that you’ll role play the character making decisions you would honestly want to make. However, in those games you almost always have the choice, regardless of the state your character is in. In Beholder, you can be good so long as you are diligent, but chances are you won’t have the funds to help everyone – and your family requires quite a bit if you don’t want them to die off. So you have to decide on whether you want to help your family or if you want to help the tenants. Bear in mind that the reward for helping the tenants opposed to selling them out is minuscule and much more costly. It’s here that the game shines, as you have to truly choose what you’ll do based on your finances and situation. It’s also important to note that the State sees a lot of what you do, and should you help people escape, it may result in a less than satisfactory end for you.

    The game has a fairly unique aesthetic, with the silhouetted characters in a dreary world. However, as you’re required to know who characters are by name and match them up to their designs, it may prove to be difficult. Silhouette art is beautiful, but it requires very precise and definitive features for readability. While some characters are obvious enough, others blend together and make it difficult to know whether you need to run out of their place of residence or not. This actually leads me to one of the more amusing things about the game. Regardless of what a resident is doing in their place – even if they’re dead asleep with a door between them and the front door, if you attempt to use a key to enter their premises they’ll come over to you very upset. In the event they are out on the town and you end up seeing them come out of the elevator of the building and walk toward their room, you won’t hide in their apartment – instead, you’ll either get caught being inside and they’ll be distressed, or you’ll run out right in front of them without them caring at all. As long as they aren’t in their place or looking in it with you inside, you’re solid. There are also some weird caveats with the z-axis, as you can go forward and back in the rooms, but this will often lead to some undue frustration when attempting to interact with objects. Between my nerves of being in a place when someone is away and trying to get the right option chosen, I would’ve been much happier if everything was on a single plane.

    Going into this, I was expecting something more along the lines of the upcoming Do Not Feed the Monkeys, but really it’s more of a management simulator with moral choices. Do you plant evidence to cause someone to get in trouble, or do you help them flee the State? Do you care about the characters and your family, or do you just go at with the intent of doing whatever you feel like? There’s a lot to take in; I just wish it was executed a bit more efficiently. Beholder: Complete Edition is a fun, unique experience for those that haven’t played simulators like it before, but I can’t help but think it’s more fitting on the original mobile and PC platforms. It does have a lot of promise though, and hopefully that shines through in the sequel.
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