Beholder 2 Review – Nintendo Switch

Developed By: Warm Lamp Games

Published By: Alawar Premium

Reviewed By: Rachel Ingersoll

Thank you so much to Alawar Premium for providing a review code!

Story

Beholder 2 follows its own separate story from the first. Aside from keeping the same Orwellian setting and bleak color palette, Beholder 2 is a completely different game in both its gameplay and its characters.

Beholder 2 captivated me with its story from start to finish. You play as Evan Redgrave, son of a high ranking government official. After hearing of the mysterious death of your father, Evan is transferred to the Ministry where his father once worked and is given a job processing papers. Here, you begin to investigate the death of your father, however the only way to learn more is to rise through the ranks and earn a promotion. It’s your choice to work your way to the top floor by using your merit or, by blackmailing others.

Gameplay

Beholder 2 is a strategy adventure game with some management elements. You start each day with a set time of nine hours which act as your activity points. Throughout the day you spend your time to perform actions like snooping through desks, working and if you save time for when you go home at night, you can use your time to go exploring and learn new information about your colleagues or find items.

You begin the day at the Ministry to work. Although processing paperwork is your job, this is only a small part of what you’ll be doing, with most of your time being spent on quests and trying to backstab the other employees. Although I spent most of my time doing other things, the paperwork became one of the more tedious parts of the experience.

Sitting down at your desk, you listen to people’s appeals and fill out papers according to the appeal type. You choose which ministry handles the appeal and which office the person should go to. Filling out papers properly earns money and authority points. Should you incorrectly choose the appeal type, ministry, or office you will receive less of a reward. Although fun at first, the paperwork soon became a chore. As bills began piling up at my door, I spent many days simply grinding for more money to pay my bills and survive. Although this isn’t the main mechanic of the game, it did take away from my overall experience when I wanted to spend time fulfilling quests and doing other things.

While spending money on bills, items and bribing guards is important; managing and gaining authority points is important as well. Authority points are earned by finishing specific quests and by finishing paperwork. Authority points are used to earn a promotion to the next floor and can be used on co-workers to convince them to do something for you.

Beholder 2 offers many quests for the player to partake in. It is your choice if you want to ignore or finish a quest, but almost all quests serve a purpose; whether it is building enough of a relationship with someone to convince them to quit the Ministry in order to steal a promotion, or framing another employee of a crime they didn’t commit. This emphasis on choice and creating your own path makes the experience much more personal and overall very fun to partake in.

Along with the gameplay there are also many collectibles. Information on your father and other employees can sometimes be found hidden around the Ministry, along with important items called “Heimdall Codes”. Both these collectibles are actually very important to unlocking the overall story and discovering each ending the game has to offer.

Presentation

The music used in Beholder 2 is not very noteworthy but it gets the job done. However, what it lacks in its soundtrack it makes up for with a stunning artstyle and frightening atmosphere.

One of Beholder 2’s strengths is in its setting. It’s Orwellian atmosphere and its bleak, black and white locations create a perfect setting for the totalitarian government future in which the story takes place. It’s especially interesting to see how each floor you are promoted to becomes increasingly more disturbing than the last.

Although all that distinguishes the NPC’s from their black silhouettes are their white eyes and accessories, each has their own personalities and interesting backstories to uncover.

Technical Issues

Throughout my time with Beholder 2 I experienced no technical issues in docked or handheld mode.

Summary

Overall I enjoyed my time with Beholder 2. The story and sometimes gruesome settings showed the reality of an all-knowing and all-powerful  totalitarian government. The emphasis on choice and sheer number of quests made me weigh all my options on how I wanted my story to unravel. Aside for some occasional annoyances in grinding for cash, I would recommend it to anyone looking for a deep and sombre narrative that’s combined with thoughtful gameplay mechanics.

8/10

Pros

  • Interesting Dystopian Story
  • Emphasis on Choices Mattering
  • Tons of Sidequests
  • High Replay Value
  • Frightening Atmosphere

Cons

  • Some Sidequests Can be a Bit Confusing to Complete
  • Tedious Grinding For Money

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