Developer: The Brotherhood
Publisher: Untold Tales
Platforms: Switch, Playstation 4 PC
Reviewed On: Switch
Release Date: 28/05/2021
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code.
BEAUTIFUL DESOLATION is one of those games where it feels familiar while all the while keeping things fresh and pushing the boundaries of the adventure genera.
The story of BEAUTIFUL DESOLATION is set in an alternative 1980s South Africa where an alien artifact, The Penrose, been reversed, engineered and advancing human technology far beyond anything we could have hoped for. However, not everyone is happy with this discovery, our main protagonist Mark Leslie, who suffered a major loss thanks to The Penrose. With the help of his brother Don, ex-airforce pilot turned tour guide, inspected The Penrose. With Mark is a journalist and has personal interest he wants to know the truth about this artifact. Upon getting close to The Penrose a robot dog confronts them while trying to escape the trio are transported in to the future where humanity has been twisted and mutated in order to survive. It is up to the trio to get home safely.
There is no proper way for me to convey how good the writing is and how good the story is in this review as there is a lot that goes on and this review would be a little too long. It is however, one of the best stories in a game I have played in a long time that is not a AAA game. With BEAUTIFUL DESOLATION coming from an indie studio, I have to commend the team on a fantastic story.
The gameplay of BEAUTIFUL DESOLATION has a very nostalgic feel to it with its rendered backgrounds and animated characters I got the sense of Blade Runner (PC 1997) with a mix of Fallout 1/2 (PC 1997/1998) with some of the character designs you will come across. BEAUTIFUL DESOLATION is Fallout 1/2 without the guns. So the post apocolpictic twisted world but without shooting. The game wants the players to solve a multitude of puzzles and talk to everyone to progress.
Here is the major downside of BEAUTIFUL DESOLATION is the lack of feedback the player gets. The quests give enough information to complete them just the character feedback do not show what to do, you get a flat ‘no’ this does not help when you are looking for an object. A few puzzles I needed a guide for, as they lost me in what to do.
There were a few bugs I got nothing that are game braking just annoying, like pop-ups, not disappearing, objects at times only being intractable at certain angles. These are all easy patch fixes.
Overall BEAUTIFUL DESOLATION is a great puzzle adventure game that will have you scratching your head at times. It is also a stunning-looking game, with a few problems that hopefully will be fixed down the line.
BEAUTIFUL DESOLATION is worth a playthrough even with its progression issues.