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Review of Beholder – “Imaginary freedom”


The street is 1984 and gloomy gray streets filled with tired and sad people. However, this is not surprising, because in this state, for a long time, they no longer rejoice in the sun so much, do not dream of going abroad, and even more so to write poetry. This is what a totalitarian state looks like, where literally everyone is under a hood …

An early version of Beholder looked like a pretty interesting and attractive version of a dystopia. But discarding gloomy colors and a unique depressing design, it is worth remembering that the presented strategy promised to plunge the players headlong into the days of one, so to speak, “family snitch” full of despondency and darkness. And what was my surprise when, having entered the game, it turned out that the developers did not fail and that all this is really present in the game. Moreover, in the form that everyone imagined, but, alas, the project was not devoid of some shortcomings.


The informer who was noticed is bad


So, the main character of the Beholder becomes a certain Karl, who came from another city. Karl has an average family, which includes a wife, an almost adult son and a little darling daughter. Naturally, not everyone liked the move. In particular, this applies to the little daughter. However, where to go? The bottom line is that Karl is one of the employees of government agencies, so he goes where he is ordered and does what he is told.

→ Fire alarm is the best place to install a security camera in Beholder. And the more cameras there are, the better.

So it is not surprising that Karl was shoved into some hole at the “call of the position”. Karl now holds the position of house manager. And okay, if only a man’s duties included settling new tenants, clerical work, various events and other official routine. In addition to all this, complete control over the tenants was added to Karl’s duties. Therefore, now a man must report for every step to those who sit “on top”. Or, to put it even easier – shamelessly knocking on the tenants.

In fact, Beholder is a real guide for dummies on how to inform and snitch correctly. You really have to do the dirtiest “rat” deeds during the entire passage: spy on those who live in the house; peep through door openings; break into apartments while the owners are not there; search for all kinds of compromising evidence and thereby expose the innocent, and sometimes even rather dirty to engage in blackmail. And of course you will have to inform about all this once again.

→ In some cases, the surrounding characters can be trite to put pressure on with their authority, forcing them to make the necessary decisions. But remember that such a move is carried out at the expense of influence points, and security cameras are also bought with them.

However, everything would be pretty boring, if not for one “BUT”, in Beholder there is a choice, because you don’t have to do all this. You can talk with local residents, get into their position and even, maybe, provide invaluable help to someone. Nevertheless, there will still be problems, since Karl is constantly under the hood. The essence of a totalitarian regime is simple: if you stop sending denunciations “upstairs”, if reports stop coming in, if you finally stop inciting cruel gendarmes against free-thinking citizens, then the state will soon come for you. As it should be, they will break your little hands and send you to some exotic “correctional camp”, where everyone just loves their home country to death, I work at least 15 hours a day and from where they usually do not return home alive.


When I grow up I will become a snitch


Of course, Karl does not want to end his life in this way. At least due to the fact that he has children and a wife. So you have to constantly somehow get out in a new position. How? For example, without any remorse, you can deliberately “sentence” some murderer or drug addict, because you would not want to send some other poor fellow simply because he keeps a foreign glossy magazine?

But there is still room for maneuver, when at least a drop of good can be brought into this gloomy world. Beholder is essentially harsh in terms of humanity: in the game there are a lot of not only unpleasant situations, but also practically hopeless ones. For example, his wife unexpectedly ends up in the hospital and Karla desperately needs to raise a huge amount of money for expensive treatment in the next few days. Here you want to, you don’t want to, but you have to go over the heads or step on the throat. But what is most interesting is that the worse the situation is, the more unfortunate people will have to screw up, but this is still easy to say. Beholder makes it clear what you need. Well, the choice … there is always a choice, albeit not always a pleasant one.

→ It’s embarrassing to search other people’s apartments only at the beginning, and then it’s just a common thing. In addition, you can always leave a couple of compromised pieces of evidence in your apartment.

The gameplay of the game is clearly tied to espionage, infiltration, peeping and decisions. Wandering around a dark and gloomy house, you have to check possible caches, install security cameras, peep into apartments through locks and even draw up huge, long written denunciations in which you will have to reasonably report “who, for what and why.”

The balance is no less cleverly arranged: you will have to collect money, which is paid not only for performing direct duties, but also for snitching. Moreover, authority will also be important in this matter, which will make it possible to stock up on new “devices” for their “espionage” activities. However, the only problem with this is that it will be necessary to literally “farm” cash and in huge quantities.


All for the money


Moreover, this process will be constant and extremely necessary, so that it is for this reason that a certain part of the Beholder atmosphere is lost precisely because of this. It’s easier to say: while you are getting to know new residents, learning their life history, the “top” of the government will shower you with new tasks and directives. Therefore, over time, as much as you would like it, but some “excursions” along with dialogues will have to be abandoned, focusing on only one task. And a little later from the start of the game, on Karl and thus on you, they will bring down a whole “pack” of family problems that are connected, as you might guess, with the very money (or rather, with a lack of it).

In this regard, it will not work to “snitch” enough and be a bad person (or a good, practically human) manager of the house: almost the entire game will have to constantly spin like a squirrel in a wheel, balancing between the requests of the authorities and plot family troubles. Actually, from here the next important problem “follows” smoothly – the unnecessary linearity of what is happening. The fact is that the entire scenario for the game has already been pre-written, all movements are calculated as much as possible, so only the first entry into the game can become a surprise.

→ Remember that not all scenarios are harmless, because in some episodes Karl can be arrested or shot. So always try to be careful when doing something.

So, in general, for the passage of Beholder, it is enough to simply know who and when, and where exactly, this or that character of the game will go. At such moments, all that remains is to simply burst into the apartment, put a security camera, find (or plant) evidence and just dump, along the way, coming up with a scenario of the whole picture. Now it’s just a small matter – to write a report. Although you can, of course, engage in extortion or blackmail. And yes, the task can be simply stupidly “drained”, having received a well-deserved fine from the government and a bonus from the tenant.

And the only thing that will keep the screen to a complete collapse (and when you enter the game for the first time, you will definitely find yourself behind bars) – the scripts of the residents. For example, what will happen to the poor fellow, where will the wife go if suddenly the husband does not become – this is really interesting – tragedy, life, fate.


Gloomy dystopia


He perfectly emphasized the meaning of what was happening and that very oppressive mood in the Beholder visual style that hovers literally in every apartment of a multi-storey building. Yes, it is worth admitting that the game has a rather simple style and rough drawing, but the characters look quite expressive to themselves and can cause not fake emotions when they shoot themselves in the temple and take their brains out, or they sincerely sob over the bodies of relatives and friends, or in general end their lives in a noose.

→ Not all directives are bad, because there are those that make it possible to “evict” someone and thereby make it possible to take all the belongings of the poor fellow.

The same goes for the musical line – it’s not bad. One of the main advantages of the game is not bad progress in terms of atmosphere precisely because of the presented soundtrack. Music in the Beholder can evoke mixed feelings. And be that as it may, all the sadness, melancholy and dullness of the game just goes.


Eventually


Beholder is another pleasant and at the same time unexpected project from indie developers. The idea of ​​the game is not bad. In addition, there is an atmosphere and a rather unusual setting. It’s really interesting to play Beholder, no matter how sad the whole picture looks on the screenshots and videos.

However, one huge disadvantage should be noted – money. Problems of a “monetary nature” and the need to rush somewhere, not even regularly, kill a certain part of the atmosphere, thereby driving the players into an artificial framework. Nevertheless, the first acquaintance with the game will be pleasant and memorable. But when it comes to deep learning, there really aren’t many prerequisites. Although the authors promise to slightly weaken the gameplay, to slow down during the pursuit of cash in some new “simplified mode”, so far nothing has changed. In any case, Beholder is an exciting game where you have to make and break destinies, engage in snitching and espionage. And always remember that you will always be watched “from above”.



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