Review: Beyond a Steel Sky

you need to be prepared for a lot of in-game reading…

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Beyond a Steel Sky comes to home consoles after a spell on just about every other format going. It’s a hark back to the point-and-click adventure games that you may remember from your youth, and whilst it has a few annoyances, it’s a decent yarn.

In the future, after the Earth has been trashed, Judge Dredd-style megacities sprawl the wasteland known as the Gap (side note, I ordered some clothes from shopping store The Gap recently, and it’s all I could think about whilst playing this game for the longest time). People are divided into two: the city folk who basically live under an extreme dictatorship, and the outlanders known as Gaplanders, who exist in the wilderness in a tribal lifestyle.

It’s a story-game through and through, with your character controlled in third-person, but your primary actions will be investigating different things to read, listen and explore in order to uncover and progress the story. Sadly, this means the world is rendered in a 3D space, and it’s here that the annoyances creep in. Some dodgy camera and graphics work sometimes jars a bit from the immersive story, but it’s not game-breaking.

There are puzzles, and for the most part, they’re pretty good. Without wanting to spoil any, a few Googles, while I got stuck, had me kicking myself. I also learned that Beyond a Steel Sky is in fact a follow up from a 1994 game, Beneath a Steel Sky. For those that remember and enjoyed that game, I imagine (given the depth of the story here) that it’s an exciting follow-up, many years later.

To flesh out the plot, you’re treated to an awful lot of dialogue. Whilst it’s very well written, you need to be prepared for a lot of in-game reading – if like me you skim the text and hit the button to speed up to the next bit, you’re still going to be here for a while. Thankfully, some stellar voice acting helps with the reading woes, and subtitles are presented in a comic book style overlay, which also adds to the style of it all. Dialogue trees add to the enjoyment to a degree, but quite a few times I found that I selected the ‘wrong’ answer to branch off the dialogue, and therefore had to sit through a load of the same dialogue again.

Reviewed on PS4

 
 

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