Bedlam is a first person shooter created by Christopher Brookmyre, based on his book of the same name. The game follows Heather Quinn as she becomes trapped in a world of first person shooters and corruption. Heather is trapped in a simulation of a video game. The game takes you on an interesting journey, where you meet various characters and attempt to stop enemies in your way. The game is a FPS that feels very simplistic and sees you transport through various worlds.
Many of the areas you visit are reminiscent of games like Quake, Doom and even Halo. The game starts out and you slowly face off against cyborg like foes. There is an underlying story and it and unfolds through narration and conversations. The story is based on the book by the same name. I really loved the idea that Heather is the only person to realize she is trapped inside a video game. During gameplay she makes various comments and observations about her surroundings, that are often very funny and a nice addition to the overall game experience. Heather is a genuinely funny character that has been well written and brilliantly acted. For a FPS, the story is actually very interesting and actually made me want to continue forward to discover what was going to happen next.
The levels are varied and interesting, but textures and characters looks bland, which I feel works ok as the game is about revisiting retro FPS games. The HUD is fairly simplistic and the compass at the bottom of the screen is often frustrating to follow. Often the levels feel fairly open, but at the same time fairly desolate. As you venture on your journey, you are able to experiment with different types of weapons like a crossbow, lasers, swords, fire and many more. They all have their small quirks and differences, but all of the shotguns, machine guns, and pistols might as well be identical. When you shoot enemies they fall apart in a humorous fashion, which I actually found extremely entertaining. The only diverse enemy types are the zombies, and they only appear twice in the entire game.
The game starts out fun, but slowly I found that the gameplay many consisted of chasing allies, only to miss them at the last moment. The game does actually become fairly hard towards the end of the game. There are some enemies in the game that can take half of your health with one shot, which can get extremely frustrating. There are also platforming sections that take place during the in between glitch worlds. There’s nothing really that interesting or challenging here though, as you simply jump across ledges and gaps. Most of these sections are only there to keep the player busy while narration occurs to thicken the plot. The best part of the game is the way in which the it mixes up the style of levels.
Each area finishes with a boss fight, that are all very underwhelming. The bosses are easy to defeat and the final boss is straight up disappointing. The graphics are nothing special, but that is the look they are going for, and there’s not really much going on compared to modern FPS games. To me the game felt too clunky and heavy-handed to be a truly enjoyable experience. It feels much better suited to PC gaming rather than on consoles.
In summary, Bedlam is a simplistic game with average shooting, varied levels but bland character and textures. The game needlessly becomes frustratingly difficult at times towards the end and the bosses are uninspired. The game at first glance is a nostalgic trip with obvious references to popular first person shooters. The game is well written, has good voice acting and is very funny at times. You even get to hear the whole story with Christopher Brookmyre voicing every character if you complete the game. I would recommend this game if you would like to relive first person shooters of the past. The game has some good elements, but certainly has a lot it could have improved upon.
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