Sometimes we are witnesses when we have to wait for the continuation of some works of pop culture for a really long period of time. Sometimes it is simply technology that allows the creators to realize their intentions, other times it is necessary to take a break before returning to the universe, and other times it is simply about persistence and an idea that goes to the heads of talented teams after many years.
We waited 16 years for the first of the Star Wars prequels, the same was true for the period between “Godfather II” and “Godfather III” – here again 16 years. We had to wait even longer for “The Color of Money”, because it was a quarter of a century. We also have such cases in the gaming industry – for the continuation of Beneth a Steel Sky, titled Beyond a Steel Sky, the biggest fans had to wait 27 years. A lot, right? Well, the first part made its debut before I was born.
So I do not hide that I am not one of the people who have waited for years to return to the known world. I will say more – I have not had contact with the 1994 edition, so it is a fresh approach for me. Do you need to know the first part to understand the sequel, and is it possible to have fun entering this world with zero knowledge? And most of all – is this form of adventure game still defending? I will answer these and other questions in the review itself.
Beyond a Steel Sky – What is it?
The game under review is, as I mentioned, a full-fledged continuation of the 1994 project. And from every angle. We not only get the fate of famous heroes (headed by Robert Foster), but also exactly the same creators who had the opportunity to create the first game. Dave Gibbons and Charls Cecil returned to their familiar universe and decided to provide something that not only will appeal to the Beneth and Steel Sky phenomena, but also attract new people.
Considering the reception of the game itself (it debuted on PC and iOS devices over 1.5 years ago), it actually worked. At the end of November 2021, the game finally hit all other equipment – consoles from Sony and Microsoft (previous and new generation), as well as Nintendo Switch. The excuses for obliterating the said title are actually over – it remains to go for it.
And although I cannot speak from the perspective of the persona who remembers the events of the first part, I can say whether new people should reach for the reviewed Beyond a Steel Sky. Well, the short answer is yes. We get here a completely changed formula of the game, which has been perfectly adapted to our times. Not only in terms of the mechanics themselves, but also graphics and story solutions.
Orwell would be proud
Already after the first hours of the game, we begin to understand that we have entered the world, where strict surveillance is crucial for its functioning. All residents who want to live relatively well-off pay with their privacy. In the main metropolis, of course, we have very high living standards, social welfare, free drinks, but … a bit like Facebook. Supposedly for free, but we pay with information about us.
Very can be quickly found in the reviewed Beyond a Steel Sky reference to one of George Orwell’s greatest novels, 1984. There, too, we observed a society that was monitored and controlled all the time, and each deviation from the norm was treated as a manifestation of insubordination or something like a bug in the fixed code. Here you can feel the same and we quickly suffer from hounding ourselves.
Color revision in Beyond a Steel Sky
However, I have to mention that when I read 1984, I imagined everything as dark and dirty. The world created by George Orwell had shades of gray for me and I saw it like an industrial land filled with smog and metal. It is different in the reviewed game. Beyond a Steel Sky takes us to a truly beautiful, fairy-tale world. One in which a fairy tale for children could take place.
It’s really colorful here, and the comic-book graphics with all those pastel colors make it really good to look at. The climate is not overwhelming and does not tire, which is a great advantage. I have the impression that the sense of surveillance, which is built by “collectibles” and subsequent conversations, could simply be too overwhelming if it were supplemented with a dirty atmosphere straight from post-apocalyptic science fiction works.
In this case definitely the right balance has been foundwhich was certainly not an easy task. It is enough to look at the colossal difference between this installment and the game from 1994. There you could not really rely on the graphic values - here they can serve as part of the story. And sometimes it does, although I have the impression that it is more of a tension relief. Or maybe, as it turns out later, just letting go of vigilance? I will not cheat!
The disadvantages are, it cannot be hidden
Though The reviewed Beyond a Steel Sky for PlayStation 5 fares really well, it does have a few downsides that just can’t be overlooked. One of them is optimization – the creators offer something that has already become a kind of standard. We got the Performance Mode and the Graphics Mode. The former is, of course, more frames and less details, and the latter is quite the opposite. Assuming that I don’t need maximum fluency in an adventure game, I chose the looks.
And as I mentioned in the previous part of the text, there is no point in sticking to them – it’s very good. However, the issue of liquidity is worse. You don’t have to be a Digital Foundry expert to spot occasional frame drops. Actually, it’s not that a lot is happening on the screen and suddenly there is a “drop”. I have the impression that in Beyond a Steel Sky on PS5, they are downright random. This is not something that spoils the gameplay, but is a bit irritating.
Another disadvantage is definitely the dialogue issues. It can be fun, nice and smooth, but I think that in 2021 you can somewhat secure the same repeated clicking. First of all – the game only slightly changes the color of the dialogue option that we have already chosen. You hardly see it at all. Second – choosing the same, we are not blocked in any way. Thirdly – when scrolling through the conversations, they can somehow drift apart (their text, their character). It could have been played better.
To sum up…
It seems to me that despite several months since the premiere of the game on PC, this one it still has similar bugs that I read about in the reviews back then. Optimization is still there, but it is not, and some problems still seem to annoy to the same degree. However, when it comes to the adventure itself, it’s hard to fault anything here. It’s a really nice representative of 21st century adventure games, and it was a pleasure to pass this title for review.
It is nice, it is puzzling and it is relatively logical. A cause-and-effect sequence, which is undoubtedly a fundamental issue for good representatives of this species, at Beyond a Steel Sky it operates at the highest level. While playing, I didn’t get the impression that I needed luck to arrange specific sequences of events well. You don’t have to click blindly or return to one place hundreds of times. A moment of deduction and solved.
The key to having fun in the reviewed game is not whether you know the predecessor. There are a few references, but we get used to this world very quickly. Here the most important thing is whether you like adventure gamesthat combine point & click elements, as well as simply 3D platformers. I hope that the next update will improve some aspects, because then I will be able to add at least one grade to the assessment with a light hand.