Point-and-click adventure games have come a long way and Beyond a Steel Sky is a promising entry in the genre so let's check it out.
Beyond a Steel Sky originally released last year and it's now finally available for console. Although it received generally positive reception, some folks complained about its poor quality while citing bugs that would prevent progress and cause performance issues. After completing Beyond a Steel Sky on PlayStation 5, I can happily say that I didn't experience any obvious bugs or performance problems at all and certainly wasn't blocked from making progress at any point. If there were issues prevalent in the past, the developers have obviously ironed a lot of them out for this console iteration. v1d30chumz 3-229-135-146
Anyway, you play as Robert Foster as he arrives in Union City hoping to rescue a missing child who was kidnapped by a big machine that was seen heading towards the city walls. Robert has a colourful past that lead him to trusting Union City to an AI over 10 years ago and giving it the directive to make the citizens happy. Upon returning to the city, Robert discovers a rich utopian paradise where every citizen's needs and wants are catered to but there's something sinister going on behind the scenes that resulted in the kidnapping of the child. Overall, the story is quite intriguing and it all ends in a satisfying climax. However, I felt like the main characters weren't all that interesting and I would have liked to see more time spent on their back-stories to give them a little more depth.
The cel-shaded graphics of Beyond a Steel Sky are exceptionally crisp on PS5 and I quite enjoyed them, especially in the scenes that have colourful backdrops of the vertical futuristic city complete with monopods that fly on tracks across the sky. There's nice visual variety in the collection of locations that you'll visit within the city, too, but the total number of locations is pretty limiting overall and makes the campaign feel quite small. Having said that, I completed it in just under 10 hours and was quite happy with the length; feeling like the story came to its natural ending at just the right moment.
Aside from the typical point-and-click adventure gameplay that you may be accustomed to, Beyond a Steel Sky introduces a very fun hacking component. At any time, you can take out a machine that can hack into electronic devices in the vicinity which brings up a UI that allows you to change the behaviour of them. For example, when someone without permission tries to get a can from a pop dispenser, you can reverse its behaviour and get an unlimited supply of pop by swapping out the block that says to deny the request with one that says to dispense a can whenever a user doesn't have permission.
It gets even more interesting when you are in the vicinity of multiple hackable devices and can swap commands and settings between them to produce some very interesting results. Getting a hackable device to be close enough to another one in order to swap their commands can be a challenge in itself, forcing you to plan a sequence of events. I had a lot of fun with some of these challenges and the hint system did a great job of providing me just the right amount of information whenever I got stuck on what to do next.
As you're exploring Union City, you'll occasionally come across a new skin for a digital brooch that you wear to show off your Qdos which lets you gain entry to places that you wouldn't get into otherwise. These skins serve as collectibles and there's a solid amount of them to find. That's about it for collectibles, though; unless you're into trophy hunting, of course. 🏆
Beyond a Steel Sky is an impressive adventure game with an intriguing story and a fun hacking system that adds a layer of challenge. As you play, you'll constantly wonder what situation you'll face next and what chain of events you'll have to complete while you're there.
- + Intuitive adventure with a challenging hacking system that can be a ton of fun
- + Colourful graphics and interesting scenery
- + Intriguing story with a rewarding climax
- - You don't get to know the characters enough to care much about them
- - Not a lot of locations to explore