Beyond a Steel Sky (review)

Dec 6, 2021

Boring is a mood. It is a mood that works mostly, but there are times when playing a video game where it does not. Have you ever fallen asleep during a movie, to wake up when the credits are rolling? You’re mad you missed the movie. With Beyond The Steel Sky, I wish I went to sleep and woke up at the credits. I would not be mad, I would not be upset. Beyond the Steel Sky is a game full of slow boring dialogue, a boring story, and visuals that just barely save the adventure game.

Developer: Revolution Software
Publisher: Microids
Release Date: December 14, 2021 (Playstation, Xbox)

Game Image
Explore the world as Robert Foster

Gameplay

Slowly walking or moderately running your way from point A to point B is a choir. Talking with NPC’s throughout Union City with deplorably bad dialogue is awful. Using a crowbar, or a can of soda over and over again to solve puzzles is a waste. The gameplay is not where Beyond the Steel Sky shines. shines. Okay this is very negative. I understand that. That doesn’t mean it is not true. It is an adventure game that feels more like loitering around a city that doesn’t want you there. When the majority of the game is spent moving the character from one place to the next at an incredibly slow pace well, that’s not a positive.

This game is a throwback to the 90’s adventure game. A PC point and click. In my opinion, in a new age, this game does not work for a modern audience. A puzzle game that requires some thinking on the player’s part is encouraged. But if I have to slap myself aside the head to stay awake while playing? That’s not a good thing. The only saving grace is the hacking tool that will lend itself to vending machines, coffee machines, or another tech throughout the city. It’s a tool that makes good use of the puzzle adventure style the game is trying to sell.

Visuals/Sound

A unique 3D comic book art style – A beautifully detailed, comic-book styled world, from the mind of legendary comic artist Dave Gibbons. The art style and visuals are where the game shines through. The setting of Union City breaths of life and of hope. It is interactive and expressive. The game is a sight to look at and the comic book style lettering and dialogue bubbles add to its wealth.

Character designs are fun and bright. I found the voice acting to be unnerving. In both the main character and the side characters, the mood and weight of the topics being discussed never changes. Whether they’re talking about sandwiches or someone who has died. It is all the same when it comes to the dialogue. Accents and vocabulary are also something of a strange tale. In both cases, I found myself wondering if another recording session would have been the way to go.

Game Image 2
Union City

Story

Man sees something bad, man goes to solve mystery. Man goes to place that was once known to him, to see how much it has changed. And then learns more along the way. The story along with most of everything else in the game, is boring. Motivations are something that I was left wondering about. Why are the characters doing what there doing? Why are the questions being asked? Foster never seems in any hurry to get to the bottom of the mystery, so in that regard, I in turn didn’t care either.

Final Thoughts

It is easy to say, this game is not going to be for everyone. Beyond the Steel Sky is not supposed to be. It doesn’t try to be. In that sense, this game was not for me. I’m not sure it will be for most. With its comic book style visuals, pedantic dialogue, and sub-par storytelling, Beyond the Steel Sky is beyond boring.

Score: 6.3

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