Beholder 2 review for Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC

Platform: Switch
Also on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher: Alawar Premium
Developer: Warm Lamp Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

While I bought the first Beholder, I can?t say it left much of an impression on me. It was a decent enough management simulator (for lack of a better description) in which you spied on the residents of an apartment building to help your totalitarian dictatorship, but it didn?t do anything spectacularly well.

Beholder 2 is going to leave much more of an impression in my mind, I suspect. It?s superficially similar to its predecessor, in that it?s still about life in a dictatorship, except it finds a way to ramp everything up a notch, and makes itself one of the most memorable games in the year in the process.

It?s clear right from the get-go that Beholder 2 is a different beast from the first game. Rather than being confined to a dank couple of rooms, you?re rushing through a faceless crowd, giving you a better sense of the police state the main character is living in. Then you arrive at your desk, and you discover that you have a range of tasks to complete, and mandated orders to obey, all with contradictory orders. It?s the kind of gameplay that borrows heavily from Papers, Please, and just as it worked so well there, it comes together spectacularly well here.

The bigger departure from the first game, though, comes thanks to the inclusion of a proper plot. You?re playing as Evan, the son of the first game?s main character, and you?re trying to find out how your father died — whether it was an accidental fall from the top of a high-rise, or something a little more sinister, perhaps caused by the Dear Leader that you?re forced to love and revere. On top of that, your character is also trying to climb the corporate ladder (or, I guess, the Government ladder, since this is a dictatorship we?re talking about), and the penalty for failing to get ahead is death. It?s high stakes, and the tension drives the story along exceptionally well.

Of course, everything in Beholder 2 is done exceptionally well. This is a fantastic game that surpasses its predecessor in every way, and even if you never played that one, it?s still well worth checking out.

Alawar Premium provided us with a Beholder 2 Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A-