Beyond a Sky of Steel Xbox review

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Welcome to Union City. The decrepit, decadent world you left behind all those years ago has turned into a bright, neon-lined utopia where everyone’s dreams can be fulfilled and no one needs anything. It’s heaven on earth. . . Where is it?

While only ten years have passed in the world of Beyond A Steel Sky, in reality it’s been much, much longer. Revolution Software’s cult classic cyberpunk adventure Beneath A Steel Sky was released in 1994, making the return of Robert Foster twenty-seven years ago.

As always, questions about how you follow a revered game or hit of any kind, especially when so many years have passed, will always linger. So the question becomes: Did Beyond A Steel Sky justify its own existence beyond mere nostalgia? Is the story she tells worth your time and is the world worth revisiting?

When we left Union City in 1994, Forster had defeated the evil AI LINC and left his friend IA Joey in charge of the city before returning to Gap and the world LINC had so cruelly taken from him. Alas, the past is not over with Forster and before you can tell tragedy strikes again, well it is. Another attack on the Forsters tribe ends with the kidnapping of a boy, Milo, by androids and Forster launches after them. The tracks, of course, lead back to Union City and once again to Forsters’ past.

Beyond A Steel Sky is a point-and-click adventure through and through, albeit told through the prism of modern technology. 2D artwork and sprites from its original 1994 incarnation are all but gone, replaced with cel-shaded visuals in Unreal Engine 4 for a full 3D experience where you explore the environment and can interact with people and the world by tapping. a button when you are near them.

You will spend all of your play time talking to people, exploring environments, and solving puzzles.

The game has well-written dialogue, a highlight being the conversations that flesh out Forsters’ relationship with Joey. There is no Mass Effect level of dialogue trees and options, which is here is designed to give the characters depth and provide you with the information you need about the world around you or whatever. you have to do then.

As with all adventure games, scouring the environment for clues and rooms to solve your puzzles is the order of the day, although I found the environments in Beyond A Steel Sky less dense in objects than most adventure games. Much of what’s here is mostly dressing so that when you find something insoluble there’s a good chance you’ve got to handle it in some way or another.

Most of the puzzles are related to hacking. With Forsters’ trusted hacking device, you can alter a robot’s protocols, manipulate panels, or open doors. And if your fancy little tech can’t do it, Forsters’ trusty crowbar will take care of the rest. All the puzzles in the game are based on logic. So even if you spend some time working out the order of things, you won’t be worried about trying to figure out how to open a crankshaft with a lollipop and two pieces of macaroni, for example. On the contrary, the puzzles in the game are a bit easy and I never found myself really stuck or without a clue. However, if they turn out to be too heavy for you, there is a handy hint system in the games inventory and menu section to help you out (not that I used it. Huzzah for me!).

Visually, Beyond A Steel Sky aims for a comic book aesthetic in its design. The cel-shaded visuals are pretty, as are most of the environments that look a lot like a retro-futuristic 1950s / 1960s take on what a utopia can look like. The game’s opening cinema is told through comic book panels courtesy of Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons, who also worked on the original game. The environments in Beyond A Steel Sky are rather small, however. Rather, the sense of scale for Union City is presented through the city’s backdrops, often leaving me wishing there was more to explore.

There were, however, two notable problems. The first is that Forster is moving too slowly, both walking and running. It’s not an action game so I wouldn’t expect it to hit mach 5 but sometimes in large areas it can be frustrating. The second is a visual / collision bug that allows NPCs to pass through me and other NPCs during conversations, with at least one instance where I also walked through Joey while solving an issue.

In many ways, Beyond A Steel Sky feels more like a callback for the first game, a callback to the biggest hits if you will. The game is full of references and nods to Beneath A Steel Sky, and while some of them may seem superfluous, the direction this new story is going makes most of them worthwhile. These moments have the added purpose of reminding fans of what went before while also allowing new players to jump in without having to play the first game. Make no mistake, Beyond A Steel Sky is best known after tasting the pixelated delights of the first game.

The game is at its best, however, when Forster goes about his detective work, which at times makes the game feel like a noir detective story. It’s also great for further exploring Forster and Joey’s relationship. There’s a bittersweet climax to the game that kneels heavily over the friendship between the two that, to me, made Beyond A Steel Sky’s journey through the world worth the price of admission.

Beyond A Steel Sky is an interesting mechanical advancement for adventure games. It brings the classic gaming nature of point-and-click adventures and updates them for a modern audience. The puzzle solving and story are solid, and the themes of how the AI ​​would interpret our commands are thought-provoking. But it’s the central relationship between Joey and Forster that makes the trip so memorable and, ultimately, heartbreaking.

Developer: Revolution Software

Editors: Revolution Software, Microïds

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PLUS

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