CITY SLICKER
PC Gamer US Edition|November 2020
CITY SLICKER
BEYOND A STEEL SKY builds a LINC to the past.
Ian Evenden

The 1994 adventure game Beneath A Steel Sky was considered quite good (like 91 percent good), and to call it fondly remembered would be an understatement. A collaboration between Revolution Software and comic-book artist Dave Gibbons, it addressed social divides, consumerism, and totalitarian control through pointing, clicking, and solving puzzles. And now, in 2020 of all years, it gets a sequel.

The last time protagonist Robert Foster was in Union City it was under the benevolent authority of his pal Joey. Ten years later, he’s dragged back to find it’s now under the control of The Council, and that everyone is really happy. They’ve got to be, because their lives hang on their Qdos scores. It’s nudge theory run rampant, as things like turning up for work and taking part in daily votes alter your score, which affects where you can go and how low in the towering arcologies you can live. Thumb-obsessed murderers and genius hackers lurk among the Monty Python-quoting droids and piles of junk at the tips of the steaming spires, their dimly lit world of furnaces and garbage crushers in stark contrast to the bright, wide plazas lower down.

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November 2020