I’m not much of a good and nosy neighbor in real life, but in the past I’ve been the subject of scrutiny a few times by some pokey-snouted folks when I’ve either moved to or visited spots where they exist. A game like Beholder: Complete Edition normally wouldn’t even pop up on my to play radar, but here I sit typing out this review of a fairly solid yet depressing yet game experience. A mix of simulation, time management with a gloomy vibe straight out of Orwell’s 1984, the game may leave you with a jittery sense of unease because there seems to be no such thing here as a truly satisfying sense of closure.
Then again, when you’re forced by the state to spy on, harass and in some cases, have a tenant in the building you’re running bumped off, you kind of know you’re in for a weird time.
The time management aspect keeps you constantly on your toes as your fingers do the walking on your PS4 controller. You need to balance being sort of a good guy in spots while being quite the voyeuristic creep at times, but this isn’t as salacious as you think at all. If you’re easily guilt-tripped, this game will do a good job of making you want to take a shower or head to the nearest confessional even if you’re an atheist. As there’s no randomly generated content, failing here means you can try over and try to get past a few parts where you may have failed a few too many times while trying to make certain targets.
Juggling your spying and other tasks while trying to make enough money to keep your family’s own needs can be quite tricky business. The game isn’t at all shy about giving you too much to handle at once, so be prepared to get flustered on occasion. I’m thinking this is intentional because you’re playing a guy thrust into what’s basically a no-win situation where morals have to get tossed out the window on occasion.That said, you can actually help out some residents at the potential cost of being found out and paying a few harsh penalties. Controls are a bit tricky on the PS4 (the game seemed more touchscreen or Vita-friendly to my fingers), but you’ll need to get accustomed to them quickly if you want to succeed.
While it’s quite the intriguing concept, at times the game can be pretty vague at what it wants you to do. Again, that’s very likely by design, but it can be a bit annoying when you want to try and slap in a solid hour or two of play and suddenly have to wrap your head around a new concept. But this is exactly the sort of game that will find its niche in those fans who like this sort of uncomfortable creepiness. Newbies who want to actually finish this will definitely want to play on the easiest difficulty because the game ramps up the challenge if you decide to play outside your comfort zone.
Overall, it’s a not bad way to spend time, especially if you’re a fan of these sort of time management games and are looking for one that’s darker in tone and on occasion, somewhat droll and a bit thought provoking on a few fronts. Heck you may even start peeping through your neighbor’s trash or keyholes at some point if you’re really motivated. But don’t do that, folks. I don’t want to get any flack about real-life violence causes by a game like this where you’re supposed to keep your illicit activities confined to the small screen.
Score: C+ (75%)
Review code provided by the publisher