After convincing the patrons of Kickstarter and Steam users with a powerful demon, The Beast Inside goes on sale to delight us with its unique divided history: terror and ghosts, on the one hand, puzzles, and conspiracy on the other. Has the final product convinced us? Yes, but it may not be exactly what you imagine.
Have you ever been given to translate game names from English to Spanish? There are some quite absurd: “Super colleagues who stick: Definitive,” for example. But if we refer to horror movies and games, it’s easy to find a common pattern. “Resident Evil”, “The Evil Within”, ” The Beast Inside“… all those names flirt with the idea that there is something wrong inside us. The monster is chasing us, it scares us, but it comes from within, from normal people, from you and from me, from your friends and beings Dear ones, call it irony or sarcasm, but the truth is that the Illusion Ray Studio and Movie Games game lives up to its own name by offering us a great adventure on the outside, but that hides many problems inside. We tell you all the details about it under these lines.
In The Beast Inside, we venture into the sinister town of Blackstone to discover its dark secrets from two different perspectives: one, that of Nicolas Hyde, a young man tormented by the ghosts of his past who investigates his father’s disappearance in 1864; and another, that of Adam Stevenson, a cryptanalyst of the CIA who in 1979 moved to the countryside with his pregnant wife, in search of tranquility and stability, until he discovers that the Cold War is not willing to give him that haven of peace. As you can imagine, both protagonists are tied together by certainties that we are not going to spoil here. What we can tell you is how the game is in general terms of history, duration, and mechanics.
The Beast Inside, two-way mystery
A little over ten years ago, horror games were going through a strange moment. Perhaps due to the generational changes, we saw some fantastic works but clouded by dozens of experimental mechanics. It was difficult to balance the narrative with the gameplay, the terror with the action, the fright with the fear. Surely you know what I’m talking about if you’ve played Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of Earth. Something similar happens to The Beast Inside. In broad strokes, it looks like a sensational game, one that catches us from the first minute, which has varied action and knows how to alternate with mastery between characters, puzzles, stealth sequences, and cinematic cuts. There are elements of exploration, fast and obvious puzzles and others more complicated and satisfactory, and the game never leaves us too much time in the same location, nor on the same timeline, nor with the same characters. The last chapters of the story follow like those of a series that hooks you: what will happen next? Who is this character really? So.
This all sounds great, right? It is! And it would not be hard for me to imagine that at one time it will become one of those “jewels of independent terror” that every fan should try. But do not be fooled, we have complaints to bore you, and it is hard to believe that a game that is broadly so great has such terribly silly failures – it sounds unprofessional, but there is no other word to describe them – in all facets. For example, the official website of the game describes Blackstone as a semi-open world, and it is true that sometimes we have the freedom to explore as we please. But we do not recommend that you do it because you will not find anything. The game does not reward our curiosity with secrets, or collectibles, or survival resources. You can open any drawer, but you’ll almost never find anything interesting in them. We have plenty of ammunition in the few sequences of shots, and it is enough to be minimally attentive to our environment to accumulate matches and kerosene (the only two consumables in the game, both related to light) to kicks. If you uncheck the target in open areas, you will find that you cannot go anywhere other than the objective. It is a diametrically opposite exploration to the one we see in Firewatch, for example.
It is a game of contrasts, with many good things and many bad
the AI is extremely basic, predictable and clumsy as her own, and very easy to circumvent the normal difficulty, which is what we tried to do this analysis. The mechanics of interaction with objects seem to us little sensitive or polished, and others as interesting as photogrammetry are solved awkwardly, without providing anything particularly fun. The story often turns to boring clichés, like birds giving you a fright when you expect something very macabre in one place, or the typical desperate jump at the end of a dilapidated bridge that breaks. And worst of all is undoubtedly the ease with which the game resorts to the ‘jump scares’, to the scares that you practically see coming a kilometer away, where everything is calm and suddenly something paranormal jumps to your face with a shrill sound. These are cumbersome things that can take you out of context from time to time and make you see The Beast Inside: an adventure game with elements of terror, rather than a horror game with elements of action and exploration.
It is a product of chiaroscuros, which has a lot of good and a lot of bad. It is not possible to value this game without listing a long list of crimes that games like Amnesia successfully solved almost 10 years ago, but we also have to recognize how much we like and get hooked by the variety of situations and problems we face, and the brilliance with which he knows how to make us move on. If you get lost at some point, just open the inventory and read the notes to know, in a few seconds, what you are doing and what your goal is. There are very clear and obvious indicators in the game to know where we are without opening the map, and when we face a complicated puzzle, just do a little research around you to find all the clues you need to solve it. And it’s these little things,
The story mixes very well between time lines and knows how to flirt with the fourth wall and the symbolisms.
We can also reward that passing the relay between Nicolas and Adam not only changes the characters and setting of the game, but also the gameplay. For example, the 19th century houses all the paranormal sequences with visions, ghosts and stealth, and our character acts with shyness and worry, without trusting himself. In the twentieth century, we solve complicated encryption puzzles, thoroughly study each fragment of history and trust and embolden ourselves in the face of unknown evils, which are much more realistic. The night, the rain, the sounds of squeaky doors and the oppressive abandoned houses of Nicolas disappear when Adam enters the forest by day and relates to human characters, alive and reasonable, assuming control of the situation. But in the end, of course, evils end up hugging both of them equally.
We like, on the other hand, that history mixes so well between both timelines and knows how to flirt with the fourth wall and the symbolisms because they give many points to something that is already entertaining. The findings we find in one chapter are discussed in the next, and as we move forward in the campaign, the realities behind both protagonists become clearer and clearer. The last sections of the adventure are resolved as in a drain, where everything turns and joins to make sense of the events we have lived until then. And although the game does not have good replayability, at least you can visit it again to discover up to four different endings. We would have liked, yes, that these endings were a little more different from each other and less related to different morals and personal interpretations of the player.
Currently, The Beast Inside is only available on PC and offers modest configuration possibilities to suit our needs, but at least it has the basics and can fit into mid-range and high-end computers without problem ( requirements of The Beast Inside ). The game comes translated into Spanish only in texts, but it is a frankly well-located location that best respects the nature of each line of dialogue and puzzles. The original voices are at a pretty good level, as well as the musical fragments that accompany us during the story, although punctually we find quite poor sound effects and animations with some utensils and sections. On the other hand, at the graphics level, it is not a technical highlight and it is easy to see the seams in open spaces. But at least he does his job and manages to give a really sinister aura to every basement, hallway, and darkroom. It is very immersive.
The Beast Inside is a game full of chiaroscuro: it is easy to take serious hits from its mechanics, its interpretation of terror or its exploration; but it is also a more or less original game and that fulfills to spare when it comes to following an interesting, varied story, with some very intelligent and respectable duration puzzles. If it manages to captivate you in the first chapters, it is likely that it will also satisfy you until its interesting end.
- The story is followed with interest from beginning to end
- Wide variety of locations, action, and level design
- The most complicated puzzles are great
- Abuses too much of cheap ‘jumpscares’
- The exploration is there, but it disappoints a lot
- Some punctual lazy mechanics and control failures