Reviewed on PC
Beyond a steel sky is a sequel to 1994 hit Beneath a steel sky. The game is a sort of point and click hybrid with a 3rd person perspective. It’s out now on pc and console, here’s a bit more about the game
‘An adventure set within a dynamic world, populated by wilful characters driven by motivations that the player can subvert. In combination with a unique hacking tool, multiple solutions to puzzles emerge from player choices.Unravel dark conspiracies and confront a terrifying antagonist in this dramatic, humorous, cyberpunk thriller, which explores contemporary themes: social control, AI, and total surveillance.’
Beyond a steel sky is cell shaded, this produces some beautiful scenery and environments to play in. Both Union City and the external area’s look absolutely fantastic and have real beauty, some areas of the city though lack atmosphere and some areas particularly in the city don’t feel as busy as they probably should, there’s NPC characters walking and they look good but the city doesn’t quite feel as alive as i thought it would. Otherwise Beyond a steel sky is an excellent graphical experience.
I’m not going to delve into the story too deep or I may risk spoiling. You take on the role of Robert Foster, hot on the trail of a missing child, this leads him to Union City where his ‘old Friend’ Joey was left in charge to take care of the city. All is not as it seems though and there’s plenty of story to enjoy, with the plot taking many twists and turns Overall the story was well paced and easy to follow and provided an engaging and interesting experience.
The puzzles are the real meat here and they’re mostly logical. I caught myself sometimes doing things in the wrong order or missing a seemingly unnecessary step in order to complete a puzzle and move on. This should be frustrating, however the hint system in the game is brilliant. You can ask for hints as you require to keep you on the right path or kick your journey back off.
One of the key components to completing puzzles is your scanner, acquired early on. It allows you to hack and modify a plethora of electronic devices in order to complete your puzzles, accompanied with your trusty old crowbar when you need to force your way in! Scanning and using the scanner was easy, only on one occasion did i need a helping nudge and the help section was more than effective in keeping me on course,
For a point and click style game Beyond a steel sky does it really well, you have the immersion of the city and the third person perspective making exploring enjoyable but you lose the somewhat dated side on perspective that most point and click adventure games stick with. It was incredibly refreshing.
Beyond a steel sky is a fantastic sequel to the 90’s hit. Its a refreshing take on the point and click adventure genre and real time and effort has been put into the storytelling and the pacing of the plot to make it a very solid and enjoyable experience. My only minor grievance is the lack of ambience in Union city which I felt a tad underwhelming. But overall a fantastic game with plenty to enjoy.