Top Critic Average
Had Beholder released 5 years ago, it would have been hailed as a ground-breaking title for its subversive qualities and biting commentary. As it stands, it is a solidly realised idea that unfortunately falls under the shadow of Papers, Please – a much leaner, older title that is more efficient in conveying many of the same messages.
Beholder is a rare breed of game. It's a dark, gritty theme with the odd comical moment and a hint of strategy all crammed together around moral, game-changing options and outcomes. I love it! If you have played Papers, Please and enjoy that style of gameplay, imagine that along with a hotel simulator and a TellTale game and you kind of get Beholder. The game has a lot of replay value, not just for trophies but also to see how people react to different options and how different choices play out.
Beholder: Complete Edition is a game that is worthy of your time and money, and I had an absolute blast playing. There are several endings you can reach and many ways you can handle each situation. The decisions you make will impact the endings, so if you want to see everything you'll need to play nice/be the bad guy and alternate as needed.
Spying on your neighbours and rummaging through their belongings has never been as fun and stressful as it is in Beholder: Complete Edition. The game has some minor blemishes when it comes to tasks and time limits, but the Complete Edition of Beholder is still an incredibly unique and enjoyable totalitarian experience.
Spying on your neighbors has never been so fun and enjoyable. Even though the game gets empty and monotonous at its end, taking complicated decisions and suffering with its consequences turn Beholder Complete Edition into great fun.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
A dark game with a satirical edge, this is an addictive, fun and challenging game. The concept is unique with only a few frustrations, like a steep learning curve and sometimes fiddly controls, that stop this from being truly great. Worth checking out!
Beholder is a great management game where you need to decide where your loyalty lies. It plays great and looks awesome. The dark theme fits perfectly with socialist reality of the game and makes for great and somewhat dark experience.
Review in Polish | Read full review
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.
Beholder's dystopian world provides a grimly satisfying management playground to work in. It's got plenty of heart – albeit a rather scorched black one – and it forces you into making genuinely interesting moral and ethical decisions, which should be enough to see you through the tiresome grind, muddled signposting and rather flakey controls.
Beholder: Complete Edition is a unique and thought-provoking package that should pique the interest of any gamer that isn't averse to a bit of strategy. It may not stand up so well to many repeated playthroughs, despite it having multiple endings aplenty, but while it lasts it'll have you on tenterhooks as you go about your duplicitous operations.
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.
All in all, Beholder will certainly capture your attention for quite a while with its dark premise and complex relationships. Keep in mind, though, some of the controls don't work as intuitively as you'd expect, and some of the actions you have to do can be a bore. If you can see past that, this is a fantastically-designed management-sim with layers of art and complexity.
While not everything quite comes together as likely intended the game experience is, without a doubt, unique and will challenge you in a few different directions. I would have appreciated a little more in-game direction as getting started and being sure what you need to do can be perplexing. Once you get into the routine of taking communication from “The Ministry” and working out what needs to be done it can provide few a few playthroughs (the included DLC adds an alternative situation as well) of something very different.
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.
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.
Once the basics are understood, they're repeated ad nauseum, and while the story has some interesting elements, the monotony of the gameplay is indefensible. Few will be able to power through enough to see the many endings hidden here.
The visual style is certainly unique enough despite how much it may remind some of Playdead’s Limbo. The gameplay is also inspiring when first experiencing it for its mesh of strategy, management, and stealth. It’s just a shame that it gets bogged down by the economy when trying to complete key objectives. The controls are serviceable also but will take some getting used to at first.