The Beast Inside is a narrative-focused adventure game narrating the parallel stories of Adam and Nicolas, one a cold-war era secret service code-breaker, the other a mid 19th century upper class man, and developed by Polish studio Illusion Ray. During the course of the game, the two protagonists’ stories become fatally intertwined, among a web of soviet espionage, ancient mysteries and occult happenings encompassing the secluded city of Blackwell.
First impressions aside, The Beast Inside distinguishes itself from the average walking simulator game, mostly by introducing gameplay styles belonging to other genres throughout its levels. While it mostly stays true to being a narrative, exploration focused title, it also manages to not become repetitive thanks to the implementation of said twists in the formula, giving out nice changes of pace at the right moments. First person shooter sections with even a proper boss fight, chase sequences with quick time events, stealth levels, platforming, and also several well-thought puzzles all contribute in making the experience varied.
The main features to stand out positively are the excellent degree of environment interaction, where most props are physics objects that can be grabbed, dragged, thrown around, while also very good visuals with detailed environments, models and quality of effects, which is paramount for this genre. The numerous collectibles scattered around give more insight about lore and events, while exploring also has a practical side on gameplay, as players need to find consumable gasoline and matches to see in the dark, which are however plentiful. Some instead negative aspects to the experience are to be found with inconsistent performance optimization, excessive use of quick time events during some sequences, and also general stiffness of the controls when interacting with world objects, while also the voice acting is not exactly the best.
The Beast Inside is a solid title for this genre, which partially suffers from lack of polishing and sometimes doesn’t have the best game design choices, but overall delivers an involving, varied experience that sill surely please fans of this genre, while also other types of players should give it a chance because of its variety. Priced at 20€ base tag, and offering about 8-10 hours of good quality content (depends on exploration rate and puzzle-solving ability), I can recommend buying at full price to fans of the genre, while only curious players could wait for a partial sale.
Pros & Cons
+ Excellent graphics, delivering detailed and well crafted environments, effects consistently.
+ Varied gameplay situations, including stealth, shooting, platforming, puzzles and more.
+ Overall interesting storyline, despite being considerably convoluted.
+ Multiple endings, united with a good amount of collectibles and secrets, allow some degree of replay-ability but only for the most hardened fans of the genre or achievement hunters.
– Inconsistent optimization, resulting in noticeable performance drops in certain areas and sequences.
– Mediocre voice acting of certain characters, making them sound quite awkward.
– Excessive usage of quick time events during chase sequences.
🎮 Gameplay Analysis
The Beast Inside’s gameplay is divided into Exploration, Puzzles, Chase Sequences, and Combat.
Exploration is the main gameplay component, and is performed almost always on foot. While exploring, players can find several items of interest, some critical to the main quest, other secondary collectibles, often with secret messages or additional background inside them to be discovered. Often, exploring certain areas will require finding keys, tools or devices in order to open up locked paths and progress: this is done in a very interactive fashion, with players having to man the tools they use in a realistic fashion, for example by dragging the mouse over a pickaxe’s handle to use it as a lever to break some planks. Lanterns and matches are critical to see in the dark, finding fuel and matches around, especially early on, is necessary and further encourages exploration of environments.
Puzzles are never excessively difficult but definitely will put up a challenge especially for players not accustomed to them. From decoding Russian secret codes, to opening ancient safes, the game offers several creative puzzles which are a nice change of pace and not frustrating to solve.
Chase Sequences are plentiful, and consist in players escaping from one or more enemies in a fast-paced run for their lives. Choosing the wrong path means death, same goes for being too slow in activating a device or failing a quick time even’t timing, so expect to fail at least a couple times in most of these sequences. The fact some of them have many quick time events is annoying. Generally these sequences are well done though and are very involving, changing completely the game’s otherwise slow pacing.
Combat is present only in a specific part of the game, and consists in using an old revolver to fend off several monsters, while trying to escape through the woods. A proper boss fight with phases and attack patterns is also present, which is very unusual for this genre and definitely a welcome addition. Generally the shooting model is done alright for this type of game and there aren’t many problems with it.
🔩 Performance Analysis
PC Specs: RTX2080Ti, Ryzen 3900X, 32GB RAM DDR4.
The performance is inconsistent, with some areas giving severe FPS drops even below 40 from a steady 120. Overall most areas run decently though. For the rest, I have no particular notes to make about the technical side, which generally is on a good level, only lacking some polishing work.
The Beast Inside is a solid adventure game that manages to detach itself from the monotony by introducing gameplay variations often not found in this genre, united with an overall good technical side, making ultimately a pleasant experience.
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