Freedom is in the eyes of the Beholder 2

Beholder 2 (and its predecessor Beholder) speaks to the player’s moral consciousness and tests his judgements. Its gloomy, Orwellian setting is in direct contrast to the liberty we’re so accustomed to. If you want to jump right into the game, Beholder 2 is now available through Steam.

In Beholder 1, you played as Carl, a landlord appointed by the State. Dazed by an emotion-suppressing drug, Carl dedicated his life to spying on the residents who lived above him. He’s the invisible hand that enforced the State’s rules; one bad report to the Ministry, and the tenant is erased from society. Nothing came before the Ministry. His tools were many, but friends were few. Besides Carl’s family, his closest allies were the security cameras and the phone tightly tethered to the Ministry’s headquarter.

Beholder 2, on the other hand, leads you to the Ministry itself as the hopeful careerist Evan Redgrave. Eager to climb the career ladder, Evan seeks to establish a prominent position in the dictatorial government. Upon arrival, however, he learns that his father, the leader of the mysterious Department 6, had fallen to his death just hours before. Now, in addition to his main task of organizing reports, Evan will need to dig up the cause behind his father’s death and unravel the State’s hidden secrets.

Beholder doesn't test your agility with complex controls. In the original Beholder, the player controls the protagonist in a side-scrolling fashion, and only occasionally venture onto the Z-axis when rummaging for evidence in furnitures. In Beholder 2, character movement still one dimensional, but has been updated to scroll diagonally, leveraging the new 3D background to help with setting the tone and mood.

Just like the original beholder, Beholder 2 builds its complexity through sacrifices and consequences. You’ll be stacked with seemingly impossible challenges as you progress through the story, and must think deeply to predict potential outcomes. Even the most menial gesture could drastically alter the course of your story, and their effects are bound to extend into future events.

There isn’t just a singular outcome either. It’s entirely in your the system or fight against it. Regardless of how you play, your choices will lead you to one of the multiple endings. Your career may be short-lived when you are arrested for embezzlement, or disobedience, or snooping, or...something even more criminal.

Ultimately, the power is in your hands to dictate the fate of all the characters you encounter in the game. You must weigh the merit of one action, or sometimes a person, against another. Whether you do this out of self-interest, righteousness, obedience, or otherwise is up to you. But no matter your decision, someone has to draw the short stick. 

As an employee of the State, you hold more liberties than most will ever have in their entire lives. You can freely abuse your position, or use it to benefit others. But understand that your power is a mere privilege, a privilege that can be revoked at any time. Once again, Mengsk's words resonate well with the theme of Beholder 2:

As you’ll soon learn, even freedom has a price.