REVIEW – After more than twenty-six years since the launch of Beneath a Steel Sky, here’s the sequel as a better late than never title. The game continues the three-dimensional point-and-click adventure game style, which was previously represented by Telltale, which has since shut down and reopened.
The good basics are wasted on lacking material.
…have passed since the events of Beneath a Steel Sky, so here’s the sequel. Robert Foster has saved Union City, but his village gets pillaged by androids, with a little kid being kidnapped, making him go back there to restore everything with a little trick (chip in hand using a dead man’s ID), and I don’t joke when I say that Beyond a Steel Sky‘s strongest segment is the story, as Union City can easily be looked at as George Orwell’s ideas made into a video game. The nice-looking environment with all its dark secrets would be perfectly suitable in 1984. The well-developed story is also applicable to the characters, as they provide variety, good design, and I think their voice acting is also something I can’t say any negatives about. What about the dialogue? They are decent – I can’t call them as dry as a loaf of bread that you did not properly packed into a nylon bag after two days, but they might have been somewhat held back. I don’t know how to describe it, but it didn’t seem fulfilling in some format to me.
The somewhat cyberpunk-styled game would have been missing a huge opportunity if the hacking wasn’t included, and it’s going to be helpful in most of the puzzles, although some of the tasks will require ordinary items to progress. You will hack into a lot of things, as there’s at least one item per region which you can gain access to, and it could be anything from a holographic projector to a robot. It sounds fun, but it has its downside: Revolution Software might have gone a bit too far with it, as it makes the gameplay somewhat tiresome in a longer session. It isn’t always clear on what you have to do next, but the developers have thought of this in advance, as there is a tip system that will help you with what you should do. It sounds similar to what I have seen in Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders. However, here, you need to wait half a minute to get another tip that will easily help you solve the task, which will benefit both those who prefer to use some logic to progress as well as those who want to focus on the story.
4 engine unreal
We’re talking about a three dimensional, cel-shaded game that is run by the old mule, namely Unreal Engine 4 with all its positives and negatives. You can strongly experience how the developers didn’t seem to have the moolah for the visuals (just like how I have no money for another external because the next game – oh yes, once again we have the next game already piled on me… – will be impossible to install), as the graphics don’t look nice. It is stylish, but it doesn’t look good. The presentation is also ruined by how most of the characters have terrible animation, and if you look closely, the pedestrians in the background will also showcase this, as well as some clipping, thanks to subpar collision detection.
Oh, and if you happen to be in the way of one of them, they will decide to continue their animation at 1% or so speed, as they think they are still able to qualify for the running-in-one-place world championship or something. And if that’s still not enough: Beyond a Steel Sky’s optimization is lacking on PC. The frame rate might not be the best for you if you immediately crank each setting to the max. And the technical thought is pushed through the finish line by Robert itself, as he seems to imitate Nintendo’s Joy-Cons, with him seemingly drifting his attention away from the items. I don’t think I have ever seen anything like this before. How on Earth did Revolution Software pull such a „feature” (it’s not a bug, it’s a feature!) off?
And the drifting is why Beyond a Steel Sky gets just a seven out of ten instead of an eight. Compared to the original, it’s about twice as long (prepare for nearly twelve hours of gameplay), but the presentation on the basics show that Revolution Software’s likely not that revolutionary software possibly got intentionally an Apple Arcade time exclusivity deal – the devs possibly spent all their money on building the game with no resources left on making it look better. Still, it ends with a seven due to the story, the characters, and the ambience. The technical bugs and the puzzles ruin the result, making it a not-so-memorable product. It’s recommended to buy, especially if you played the previous game. The nicely written story and its presentation is a joy, even for Telltale fans. Replayability is possibly zilch. So nothing is burning under this steel sky if you asked me. It’s a seven out of ten…
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+ Most characters
– It’s technically problematic
– Puzzles might get tiresome
– Should look a bit better than this, and its optimization is questionable
Publisher: Revolution Software
Developer: Revolution Software
Release date: July 16, 2020