GamingReview: Beholder 3

Review: Beholder 3


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Is Beholder 3 worth it? Very simply. Yes. It’s a rarity when a non-AAA title game feels so polished, detailed, and original that it contends with the best of the best.

Set in a dystopian totalitarian state reminiscent of science fiction TV shows, books like 1984 and sadly some real countries you play Frank. Frank is unfortunate. He was framed for crimes against the state and spared ‘the mines’ or worse by becoming a state informant and spy. Inserted into a regular apartment building Frank now must maintain the building, ensure his tenants are following the laws of the harsh regime and make sure his handler’s enemies are taken care of. You spend time in the apartment building and in the Ministry Offices.


As Frank you can move around the apartment building and offices, but much like in real life there are places you aren’t supposed to go. As Frank is a reluctant spy, however, he can peep through keyholes, break into to offices and apartments and plant hidden cameras just about in every room. Most objects are searchable and will reveal mundane items, items that help you build profiles or contraband that you can use, or plant, to get those dissidents arrested. The story driven narrative takes you on a journey as you complete perilous tasks for money.

That money gets used for paying building bills, fines and buying items that you need. You also must balance this alongside a job at the Ministry that unlocks early on, and family issues. Outside you can find a vendor and a black-market seller. Useful in your quest to control the narrative. Of course, as the game develops you can turn from simply surviving to full out thriving as you take advantage of what you can get access to. For the most part, this is a point-and-click adventure with puzzles to complete along the way as you get missions from the State or side quests from residents.


The quests in Beholder 3, more like little story chapters than a ‘mission’, are well varied despite running back and forth in the same locations. These quests are often time sensitive with time ticking away as you play. This is the same with paying bills – don’t pay, it’s game over. Bankrupt its game over. Fail a mission for the state it also mean game over. While not difficult per-sae, there is enough challenge to keep them interesting. You can also get creative. In one scenario I used the drugs from my daughter’s room to frame another tenant because the State wanted them gone. I felt uneasy doing it, but the game demanded such.

Sometimes you will need to break in and plant a hidden camera, others you will need to interrogate people and in some you may need to search for incriminating evidence. While these naturally take up a lot of time, don’t forget to take care of the chores, pay the bills, look after the tenants needs and your family. Choices matter though, and some quests will be unavailable to you if you act in haste to get objectives complete. This type of gameplay is interesting as it means with each playthrough there are new paths to take. It also means you must be tactical in your approach to completing things.


The world is wonderfully drawn and cartoony in nature. The use of shadows for people is especially telling for some visual representation of living in the shadow of a totalitarian regime. The game, like the theme, is bleak. Lots of washed-out colours, brutalist grey architecture and darkness. Even during the day, it felt oddly dark. While this suits the game perfectly, it isn’t exactly an inspiring visual treat for the eyes. It does, however, fit the game perfectly and would have been jarring had it looked any different.

Beholder 3 has some issues…

Now, Beholder 3 is not perfect. It’s rare when a game is to be honest. There are bugs, NPCs will sometimes get stuck. The game also lagged for me in places for no real reason. It isn’t exactly graphically challenging, and my gaming pc can handle recent AAA titles just fine. In addition, I did experience one crash during my playthrough. Outside of the bugs the dialogue can be a little dry in places. It’s all very bleak and in some cases obvious.

My biggest complaint, however, is when mission objectives randomly just vanished from my HUD and I had to track them down, usually while breaking into someone’s apartment, which didn’t exactly help evade being caught. Hopefully these are all easy fixes that can be patched soon.

Is Beholder 3 worth playing?

Beholder 3 takes the best bits of the first two games in this series and blends them together to make a fun, dark, morally challenging point-and-click adventure. While slow in pace is still thoroughly enjoyable. If you like dystopian fiction, if you like puzzle-based point-and-click adventures, if you like strong narrative then Beholder 3 might just be the game for you. It’s one I will be playing again and again.


+ Pleasant yet unnerving graphics
+ Engaging story and variety of missions
+ Interesting array of diverse characters
- Lagged for unknown reasons in places
- Can be slow-paced

Beholder 3 is out now on PC via platforms like Steam and GOG.

Reviewed on PC.
James Refelian
James Refelian
When I was seven years old I tried to write a spy novel. It was terrible; in case you wondered, but I’ve always loved stories. Then I got to play videogames and suddenly here were stories that could be told in so many ways, coming to life in front of my eyes. I’ve been hooked ever since and have enjoyed games on pretty much every platform you can imagine. If you love stories too then I hope my reviews help you discover something new. You can always celebrate storytelling with me on Twitter, Twitch and YouTube - @Refelian66.
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Review: Beholder 3+ Pleasant yet unnerving graphics <br> + Engaging story and variety of missions <br> + Interesting array of diverse characters <br> - Lagged for unknown reasons in places <br> - Can be slow-paced <br><br> Beholder 3 is out now on PC via platforms like Steam and GOG. <br><br> Reviewed on PC.