Beholder: Complete Edition (Nintendo Switch) Review10/12/2018
Imagine having the ability to own an apartment in which you are persuaded by the government to watch any and every move made by your tenants. This even includes having a master key to everyone’s apartment and the ability to set up cameras so you watch them at all time, GET YOUR MIND OUT OF THE GUTTER YOU PERV! How and what you do with the data you collect in entirely up to you, do you use it to blackmail the tenant for your own personal gain, or do you report them to the police right away? These are the types of decisions you will make while playing Beholder: Complete Edition.
While Beholder is not necessarily a new game, originally out on January 18, it is a new game on the Nintendo Switch. Essentially the game, made by Warm Lamp Games, is a mix of adventure and strategy. You have only a certain amount of time to complete each task, if you fail, you will take a hit to your own personal resources or even worse, result in a game over. Time management is absolutely crucial to be able to complete all your tasks in a timely manner.
So, what makes this version different than what we saw at that January release? The Complete Edition comes bundled with the DLC Blissful Sleep which, by all means, is a fine add-on. You can only complete the DLC once you have finished the main storyline. The DLC is a prequel to the main story. It doesn’t add much as far as gameplay is concerned and it is set in the same location, but it does add about 4 more hours of game for you to enjoy, It’s fine!
You have to make a conscious decision early on if you want to work for the totalitarian government or try to work against them. The game can be difficult in either direction you decide to go to, however working against the government to your own gain is, hands down, the much more difficult route to go. In my first play, I decided to work with them and I found that the tasks were a lot easier to work towards. When I decided to try the other route, I honestly didn’t make it too far as the difficulty of the game is definitely spiked. I try to look at this as what it would be like in real life; if you “fall in line”, things are a bit more simple, good luck trying to fight the governments’ laws!
Speaking of which, as you are working for the government, the game will constantly tell you about new laws that are being made. These get downright silly! You can use the laws to your advantage to get your tenants evicted and into jail. Some of the included laws are “Not owning Foreign Music” and “Apples are illegal!” Each new law is a new strategy you, the player, can utilize. I also saw the new laws as comic relief in a game that could be otherwise very depressing! This, of course, does open up the game to having multiple endings as well. Playing into the model citizen role that the government wants can make you many enemies, and they will ultimately try to come and murder you, in fact, there is an individual that may come kill you later in the game that was a bit of shock!
Much like real life apartment complex’s, each apartment is home to a unique cast of individuals. From families like your own to couples, you will be renting to a host of folks with backstories that you can use to damn them to jail or blackmail them to help in your nefarious deeds. It all comes down to how high your moral compass is in your game. Unfortunately, though, this is entirely what the game is, so after a few hours, the game does get to be a bit repetitive. I feel like most of the game could be bypassed if someone discovered a glitch to make infinite money so that you could buy all the contraband of the merchant that appears daily. Too often, my time was spent trying to come up with money to repair rooms, or buying illegal objects to get tenants in trouble.
The graphics and overall presentation of Beholder are great. Artistically speaking, the characters are all shadow-like. You see white on them for some features though. Your main character, Carl, though is the best interpretation of a slummy hotel manager I have ever seen. He is overweight so the way he runs around is kinda funny. His clothes have a dishevelled look about them as well. With having a game where every character looks this way, it is amazing that they were able to establish so much emotion and character into each tenant with a lack of major facial emotion.
Beholder feels like the perfect game for the Nintendo Switch, of course, no disrespect to all the other consoles it is on. It is great for picking up to play for 15-20 minutes to even bingeing the hell out of the 8-ish hours’ main story over a weekend. It is a cool mixture of strategy, stealth, and adventure with a cool art style. Is the game revolutionary?? Not necessarily. Though it is a game that won’t kill your bank account and with the branching endings, will give you plenty of replayability!