Beholder 3: A Dark World in Which Player Choices Matter

Beholder 3
Reviewed On
Steam (PC)

When Beholder 3 crossed my desk, I had a flashback to 2017 when I played the first one. It reminds me of games like This War of Mine and Papers, Please. I remember how much I enjoyed the first one and I was excited to dig back in. The story follows Frank, who gets a mysterious file that has the symbol of the resistance movement. One thing that stood out to me was during the opening cutscene there were parts where Frank was going to hit enter or delete. Only, you (the player) had to hit the keys instead. It was a nice change of pace from typical opening scenes.

He gets caught by big brother and has to move his family to a rundown apartment to be the caretaker/spy of the building. You are given numerous missions to perform for your overlords like setting up cameras, making notes on renters, and filing reports to have them arrested.

On top of being a fascist landlord, you also have to connect with your own family and try to get them adjusted to their new life. One thing I like about Beholder games is that there is a list of ever-changing laws of the land, and you have to look up the exact code that was violated before an arrest report can be sent out. These laws can include items such as not allowing dancing or even crying.

SPOILER WARNING: I really can’t cover Beholder 3 without talking about some key elements of the plot. If you want to play this game and have all of those surprises intact, then by all means go and do that now. It’s a great game and lots of fun in a serious type of way. If on the other hand, you don’t mind some light spoilers, then please read on.

Beholder 3 puts you in a bind when you meet a longtime friend who is a really nice person, and they happen to support the party in power. So good, right? However, soon after you get a phone call from your handler who tells you to arrest him. If nothing bad is found in the apartment, then you have to place something there and frame him. Otherwise, you and your family could be arrested. This also comes to a head when a renter who is homosexual, which is illegal in this game, takes an interest in your daughter. It really forces you to have to think about your actions, what is right and what is wrong, and how far you would go to save your own skin and your family.

I honestly believe that games like Beholder 3 have the best version of the moral choice system that we often find in games like this. There are no arbitrary good or evil options. And there are no rewards or powerups given depending on the path you choose. Doing something “evil” to save yourself is not necessarily bad. Choosing to help one person and condemn another is also not judged by the game. Yes, your actions have consequences, more so than most games do actually, but whether or not your actions are good or evil are really up to you.

Games like Beholder 3 force players to look into themselves and think about their fictional family and what they would actually do for them, or not do for them. I found myself following the fascist rules of the land, but feeling more and more sad after each person was arrested. This was especially true later on when I learned what became of them because of my actions.

Beholder 3 is a dark game, there is no way around that. It follows that same pattern from the rest of the series, and maybe even goes a little farther down that dark road.

But, I think it is dark in a good way and could even hold educational value alongside other games like This War Of Mine and Papers, Please. My only complaint would be the muttered nonsensical noises made by the characters as you read the dialogue is slightly off putting, but that’s it. And that is a very minor point to make against this game that really did make me think about the world.

The character of Frank was a relatable everyman type of person. His family issues were realistic too, and all of that added emotional depth to the game. Overall, I think Beholder 3 is another good game in this series that adds to the atmosphere and gameplay of previous titles to provide another unique experience. Beholder 3 earns 4.5 GiN Gems out of 5, and I for one am thankful that I got a chance to review this game.

Share this GiN Article on your favorite social media network:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *