If you’ve been around me for any amount of time, you know I’m good at breaking games. You could say it’s one of my traits, or maybe even a skill if you will. You may also know I’m good at seeking out issues in games. No, I wasn’t born with this skill set. It’s a thing I’ve learned over time by playing thousands of games. I don’t know if this necessarily makes me a better reviewer or not. But it has helped me in knowing what to look for and what to ignore.
Now, before I step into my known persona and start picking on the game. According to Steam, I’ve played Beacon for more than 14 hours. So I’d like to think I gave the game a fair shake and have a pretty good understanding of what the game wants to be. I also held off writing this review in the hopes these issues would be taken care of before the game left early access. But here I am, days after release, having the same issues I did weeks ago.
Pit of uncertainty
Imagine running up to a turret and giving two shits about anything else than destroying it. That was my mindset when starting the game. I mean, it’s a turret. It will put you on a stretcher if you don’t have your defenses up and weapons ready to go. So yeah, I wasn’t too bothered when I couldn’t see any HP bars above them. The problem is I didn’t see any damage output when hitting them either. So I had no idea if I was doing any damage or not. At least not up until I destroyed one of them. I decided to venture off and explore other areas of the platform before going back to take care of the last turret. This is where things took a turn for the worse and the game decided to figuratively throw me off the platform and into a dark pit of uncertainty.
When I reached the last turret, I still couldn’t see the expected HP bar above it. But I could see the damage output. Now, I already knew the Gods of game-breaking bugs were up to no good. I just couldn’t put my finger on what. You know, much like the triggers on the weapons I wasn’t allowed to pick up along the way. Yes, you read that right. Fact is, I had to go up against one of the bosses with a starter weapon because some of the pickup prompts weren’t available or didn’t work for the weapons that had dropped before getting there.
Elusive eye candy
It’s not like I perform better with bigger and more explosive weapons. But I still expect them to be an actual option and not just some elusive eye candy. And the same can be said about jump pads. Imagine that you found your way onto a platform and seconds later realize there is no way off because the jump pad doesn’t work or isn’t there. What would you do, call Joe Labero and ask him to return what he made disappear? I know what I ended up doing. I jumped off the platform like I was part of a diving competition and killed myself. I just hope the non-hostile enemy who was stuck in the foliage can forgive me for leaving them there.
The shield wall
I obviously thought killing myself would solve my issues. But as the saying goes, it doesn’t. Yes, you guessed it. I ran into even more issues. I’d go as far as to say that something already bad became even worse. Take the image above as an example. I couldn’t kill some of the enemies because my hits wouldn’t register. It was also raining HP drops for no apparent reason. Who knows, maybe it was the game’s way of saying sorry for not registering my hits? But the thing that made me even more perplexed was the shield wall. There was no way for me to get rid of it and much less get past it. And guess what? The only way off the platform was on the other side!
My alternate reality
I don’t think I have to tell you this. But these issues, no matter how frequent they are, would stop most people from playing the game and request a refund. I couldn’t do either as I was stuck in a loop between two teleporters. Fact is, I made sure to write this while it was happening just so I could say I wrote this review in an alternate reality. You know, the same reality where enemies were clipping through walls just so they could give me a cheap hit. And had it not been for me being able to do the same I’d scream foul.
Now, I’m sure others will do just that when it comes to this review. Scream foul that is. And why wouldn’t they? I mean, there have been many gamers before me who played this game without running into these or any issues at all. But even so. I’d be remiss as a reviewer if I didn’t tell you about my experiences. It’s quite simple. If it happened to me, it can happen to you. And that leaves us with the following question. Are you willing to give Beacon a chance and risk having the same experience as me?
Disclaimer: Beacon was provided to me by the developer Monothetic for review.
Beacon looks good and offers more character variation than most games. But it also has more issues than other games, which render its good parts irrelevant.