A fast paced FPS with an engrossing storyline written by cult Scottish author Christopher Brookmyre. You play Heather Quinn aka “Athena” trapped in a world of video games, desperate to find a way back home. Will you make it? Or will you be trapped here forever? Here's where you find out..
User reviews:
Recent:
Mixed (11 reviews) - 63% of the 11 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Mostly Positive (268 reviews) - 76% of the 268 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Oct 13, 2015

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About This Game

BEDLAM - THE GENRE JUMPING SHOOTER

Bedlam is a unique FPS game based on a novel of the same name by cult Scottish author Christopher Brookmyre.

Pitched as a shooter for those who survived online gaming in the 80s and 90s, Bedlam takes a look through an iconic time in online gaming and serves up some authentic gaming nostalgia with up-to-date graphics and gaming features. Bedlam is set entirely in the first-person but will explore other game genres from a first-person perspective.

In the game you play Heather Quinn (aka Athena) a colleague of Ross Baker (aka Bedlam). Heather is an overworked and underpaid scientist developing medical technology for corporate giant Neurosphere. One rainy Monday morning Heather volunteers as a test candidate for the new Neurosphere brain scanning tech - anything to get out of the office for a few hours.

But when she gets out of the scanner she discovers she's not only escaped the office, but possibly escaped real life for good! Heather finds herself trapped in Starfire - the violent sci-fi game she spent her teenage years playing - with no explanation, no backup and, most terrifyingly, no way out!

Join us in Early Access and get ready to unleash BEDLAM.

The description below was written by Christopher Brookmyre for the release of the novel in 2013

Heaven is a prison. Hell is a playground.

Would it be your ultimate fantasy to enter the world of a video game?

A realm where you don’t have to go to work or worry about your health; where you can look like a hero or a goddess; where you can fly space-ships, slay dragons, visit any period in history, any realm in fiction, yet all of it feels completely real. A realm where there are no consequences and no responsibilities, to the extent that even if you die, you can just respawn and start again.

Or would it be your worst nightmare?

Trapped in a place where every demon ever conjured by the human mind can be made flesh. Cut off from the real world, unable to see your family or friends ever again. Stuck in an endless state of war and chaos where the pain and fear feels real and from which not even death can offer an escape.

Prison or playground. Heaven or hell.

This is where you find out


Check out the first hands on preview of Bedlam by Rock, Paper, Shotgun: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/07/25/bedlam-game/

One of the first Bedlam play thru's by Jim Sterling of The Escapist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jutpej9ZcyM
And coverage about our female lead character Heather Quinn by BBC News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-27695235

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP or later
    • Processor: Dual Core 2Ghz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Any DirectX 9 level (shader model 2.0) capable card
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Storage: 4 GB available space
    • Sound Card: Any DirectX Compatible
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7 or later
    • Processor: Quad Core 3.5Ghz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Any DirectX10 capable card.
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Storage: 4 GB available space
    • Sound Card: Any DirectX Compatible
    Minimum:
    • OS: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
    • Processor: Dual Core 2Ghz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Any DirectX 9 level (shader model 2.0) capable card
    • Storage: 4 GB available space
    • Sound Card: Any
    Recommended:
    • OS: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
    • Processor: Quad Core 3.5Ghz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Any DirectX10 capable card.
    • Storage: 4 GB available space
    • Sound Card: Any
Customer reviews
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Recent:
Mixed (11 reviews)
Overall:
Mostly Positive (268 reviews)
Recently Posted
roost
( 6.2 hrs on record )
Posted: June 26
This game is underrated. Seriously. If you grew up on oldschool shooter games- from Doom, to Quake, to COD, Timesplitters, Halo- and if you dev games, you owe it to yourself to play this. The shooting mechanics are fun and simple, the dialogue is very well done. Everything about this game screams bittersweet nostalgia- it's a love letter to games past and present. It may be a bit rough around the edges in parts, but it's very entertaining. If you've read Ready Player One- yea, it's kinda like that too. <3 this game!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
3213143251412412
( 27.0 hrs on record )
Pre-Release Review
Posted: June 22
Nah!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Cubone Clubbin
( 3.9 hrs on record )
Posted: June 6
Plays like an old school FPS like Quake. THe Story is pretty interesting and engaging. Only took around 3 hours to beat. Got it on sale for $1.50. WOuldnt break for the $12.99 price tag (that is just wayyy too high). Good Game overall. Enjoyed.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Altthracian
( 4.6 hrs on record )
Posted: June 6
Pretty fun game, good story, good voice acting, unfortunately, some of the levels run a bit too long. It got to the point in some situations that I just bypassed the enemies so I could get more of the story.

Also the final boss is a joke.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
tRIP 6 s 6 i 6 x
( 5.1 hrs on record )
Posted: June 4
The game had a nice concept, and I tried to forgive its faults, I really did. It has a decent story. The gameplay is so-so, mostly because hit detection is just plain spotty (especially melee - I can stand in front of someone, punch straight ahead, and the hit doesn't register at all, but when i swing sideways like a spastic idiot, they go down every time). I made it all the way to the planetfire stage, then turned it off in aggravation. The perfectly aiming AI (even in easy mode) zerg rush on top of the spotty hit detection just killed it, sorry. I'll be uninstalling shortly.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
hole'n'head
( 6.5 hrs on record )
Posted: June 2
Game breaking bugs. It would not save my progress as I moved to a new area so I had to keep starting way back in the game. Unfortunatley I wasn't good enough to make it through the rest of the level/game without dying.

I was able to play the first half of the game and, while the game is nothing spectacular, it was relatively fun. But it seems this is one of those Early Access games that was released from Early Access too soon.

I got it cheap, and would gave given it a positive review because of that but, with the later game breaking bugs, I cannot recommend it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
wander j
( 5.7 hrs on record )
Posted: May 27
Have to give a very weak "recommend" on Bedlam. WHile I enjoyed the concept and storyline involving being trapped in 90's FPS games I found the actual gameplay lacking. The game has no problem sarcastically pointing out that "those zen levels in Half Life were SO moch fun" while it forces you to do the same tired platform hopping found in 90's shooters. I don't know how many times I fell off a platform while perfoming the same jumping through an empty cyberspace that caps off EVERY level. Aside from that I enjoyed the precesion most guns required (the exception being the incredibly inaccurate ww2 sniper rifle) but I found the the guns lacked audio/visual impact. Luckily the experience is short enough to recommend a run through just to see the novelty of the story play out,even if the gameplay doesn't show the same inventiveness.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
VanDie
( 5.9 hrs on record )
Posted: May 25
Criminally Under advertised, this great game has an engrossing plot and all the action of many classic shooters emulated near perfectly creating false nostalgia to be replaying childhood/teenage classics,you've palyed every level before in some way but it remains fresh and interesting throughout. hard to put it down, despite having full controller compatibility i suggest using mouse and keyboard for superior aim
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Double-O-Snake
( 5.4 hrs on record )
Posted: May 16
Did you miss:

Aim-bot AI
Wallhack AI
Longshotting shotgunner AI´s
Longshotting shotgunner wallhacker AI´s
Slipping and falling from the map
♥♥♥♥♥♥ass jumping system in platfrom maps and fall because of jumping so ♥♥♥♥♥♥ way? (okay this one was hard to explain)
Savepoints where you die immadietly?

Me neither, just big ♥♥♥♥ YOU developers, fix your ♥♥♥♥ and make this better and easier ffs.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
antibiotic-pig
( 0.7 hrs on record )
Posted: May 16
Great narrative idea but plays like a dog.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
4.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 6
Pretty fun game, good story, good voice acting, unfortunately, some of the levels run a bit too long. It got to the point in some situations that I just bypassed the enemies so I could get more of the story.

Also the final boss is a joke.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.9 hrs on record
Posted: June 6
Plays like an old school FPS like Quake. THe Story is pretty interesting and engaging. Only took around 3 hours to beat. Got it on sale for $1.50. WOuldnt break for the $12.99 price tag (that is just wayyy too high). Good Game overall. Enjoyed.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
59 of 72 people (82%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
5.6 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: June 13, 2015
I never laughed so much while playing a video game. Here in this little piece of art you'll find so many references to other games and game modes, I haven't expected this at all when I first saw the screenshots. Don't let the graphics scare yourself off, they are part of the game at the beginning and might let you feel like you're back in the nineties.

The concept is very unique; a bit RPG here, some retro arcade games there, all the references and that filled with funny dialogues and from time to time good music. While you're hooping from one gameworld to another the graphic improves while everything else will stay the same: Shooting and smashing yourself through a horde of different enemies with all the weapons you're able to find in the previous worlds and try to find a way out of the missery your character is in.

The ending though really strained my nerves. The game begun to stutter caused from many enemies that spawned, often resulted in a gamecrash. It's still in the early access so I hope this will get some improvements.

I really enjoyed the game and felt often reminded to the games I played back in the days. It took me around 5.6 hours to beat the game 100% but it was absolutly worth my time.

Get it while it's in a sale or in a bundle and you won't regret anything!

Personal rating:

7.5/10.0
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76 of 101 people (75%) found this review helpful
7 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
7.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 18, 2015
Bedlam should be an incredibly cool game that takes players through a thrilling ride of landmark shooters like Quake, or Medal of Honor while exploring the evolution of video game design. Instead Bedlam mostly just shows us what other great games look like while feeling like a fairly bland shooter itself.

The journey begins when some gamer, known for technical prowess in shooters, realizes that she is in a game. From there, stuff happens and she has to shuffle around to other games. Bedlam tries to explore various video game genre/subgenres but doesn't ever quite commit. The horror game give you some tighter corridors and zombie enemies, but that's similar to the annoying catwalks that fill out the sci-fi inspired shooter levels, and then pretty much every other level just has wide open spaces but with different fillers (tanks in the World War 2 shooter setting, cottages in the fantasy one). Playing through this game is less like actively exploring different games and more like playing a single game with lots of costume changes, which just comes off as weak. Why does a fantasy game feel like Quake-lite, Medal of Honor have no setpieces, and the futuristic shooter have no interesting weapons? Imagine how something as simple as adding a directional damage indicator when jumping into the Medal of Honor section would have been to communicate growth, or adding a regenerating shield in the future settings, mana and light RPG elements in the fantasy setting, and so on, until the player actually feels the difference in settings and genres. Really, the feeling of movement and how resources are managed would have been an easy way to the chart the growth of shooters. It's these little missing details that really would have made the game shine.

None of the mechanics or level designs ever grow, which is a real shame. All the different weapons you get feel pretty much the same and seem to have no qualities attached to them: the crossbow shoots a bit lower and sometimes one of the shotguns feels like it actually hurts enemies more up close, but enemies aren't too picky on what you kill them with so there is hardly any strategy or risk involved. Bedlam doesn't exclusively stick to shooters: there are some levels inspired by Pacman, fantasy RPGs, Warcraft, classic and horizontal shooters.

What probably feels most out of place is the fact that your character is an absolute bullet magnet. Enemies you can hardly see gun you down with pinpoint accuracy so you sometimes just don't have a chance to even see what killed you before you have to reload and hope that you sprint behind cover fast enough to avoid whatever magic bullets are finding you. Due to level design shifting from bland with dull color designs to a nightmarish mess of ramps and platforms full of holes, the AI gets very annoying. However, towards the end of the game, the quasi-platforming steals the show as the most frustrating aspect.

I feel the ending of the game dragged on for a few hours too long. But it probably only felt like that because I was constantly having to reload due to me missing a jump when I just missed it by, who even knows how much, because I cannot see my feet. Platforming without being able to see your feet is like having to race in reverse, or shoot a gun that always fires off-screen. The jump button was also hit or miss on a controller at times. On top of the inaccurate jumping, the game's platforming sections are all designed like a maze with jump pads that are hard to gauge, alternate routes that lead you backwards, platforms full of holes that will drop you sometimes. This is absolutely one of the most annoying combinations I can even imagine. If anything, this should have been the psychological horror section of the game.

The concept is certainly interesting, but the mechanics house little creativity at best and are near-broken at worst. You are better off just popping in the games that Bedlam seeks to emulate. The concept and ambition are there, but too much of what should make Bedlam unique is left at surface level.
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59 of 77 people (77%) found this review helpful
Recommended
19.4 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: August 8, 2014
I've played for two hours and was actually able to complete the game in this time. Initially I was uncertain whether it was a good choice considering that it's got $20 price tag, however;
- It was overall really really fun, it's buggy but some of the bugs made the game even more entertaining
- BUT the full game isn't actually available yet, you will reach a sign saying after only an hour or two that says 'end of early access, check for updates’ and a dead end

http://youtu.be/kfPwOlYgAlc
http://youtu.be/Qeft_KXzh0M
Okay to start off with you are are in a world with a theme that borrows heavily from Quake II. I loved that game. You get to play as a Strogg. They don't actually call themselves Strogg but I'm just going to refer to them as Strogg. I was very happy to get to be a Strogg =). I decapitated my superior officer with my salute and off I went. Initially combat wasn't so great. You have a blaster but it's nowhere near as cool as the real Quake II blaster. I found it hard to aim, you need to be very precise and I found it hard to fine tune aiming with the mouse in this game. However after playing for sometime I found aiming easier, so I may have just needed time to adjust. I still think your projectiles need to be bigger, especially your rockets. By the way the rocket launcher in this game has an identity crisis, it doesn’t know whether its a rocket launch or a rail gun lol. I soon found myself in a section playing domination i.e. capture all the points against the AI. That part is a bit of a work in progress, I think they could flesh it out quite a bit more. After taking the points I fought a boss in the next area. It was a cool Quake II style cyborg tank.
_____However I had trouble progressing through this section. At first it just killed me because it was too strong. Then I was unable to confront it again several times because the guard you need to kill to trigger the boss fight just wouldn't die no matter how many limbs I chopped off of him. So I had to reload and start from the end of the last area a few times until it worked. It also took me a while to discover the chaingun you need to defeat the boss.
_____Combat started to get more fun at this stage, mainly because there were more enemies. Sometimes you have specific objectives but they can be a little buggy or apparently not fully implemented e.g. at one point I was supposed to proceed to a tower and destroy it. However as soon as I made my way to the tower I was given the next objective without having destroying a thing. Gameplay mainly consists of heading to the next area and fighting through the enemies.
_____Along the way were some sort of alternate dimension instances filled with purple metallic platforms as well. There wasn't much to these areas but they were interesting locations, sort of like a non-organic version of the alternate dimension in the Half-Life series.
_____There is one bug at the moment which persistently made the game difficult and apparently it is something to do with the gravity levels. I found that when I reloaded after dying the gravity is for some reason extremely high. You are unable to jump, jump pads a rendered useless and for some reason it creates a really big frame rate drop. Until this bug is fixed in a patch the only way I could find to return the game to normal is by restarting it. This doesn't take long to do, just use quicksave so that you don't lose any progress. There is a bright side to this issue, it causes enemies to do cart-wheels when they die =)
After completing the Strogg act you find yourself in a World War II themed area fighting Germans on your way to church. Unfortunately the game ends before you get to your destination. I never actually saw some of the locations and weapons featured in the screenshots on the steam page.

The game doesn't look too bad. Obviously it is intended to look like older titles. Make sure you choose the right aspect screen ratio in the display menu. For some reason mine was incorrect by default and I spent the first half hour or so unable to see most of my HUD. Also the game looked a lot better after tweaking this.
_____Did I mention that I really liked being a Strogg? =) You retain this form throughout the game even during the WW2 section, which was cool.
_____I found several visually entertaining bugs or unintended features. You can pick up dropped enemy weapons with E and launch them out of the map with left click. You can pick up corpses and flail them about around like Ragdolls. Sometimes amputated limbs of enemies will roll continuously without stopping. I sliced of a Strogg's head and it rolled all the way across a large room bounced off the wall and kept on rolling. Usually the AI is good at aggressively finding you and hunting you down but sometimes enemies spin around continuously or walk around and around in tight circles. If you shoot enemies with the crossbow it takes them to the ground in a low arc and pins them there instead of carrying them at high speed to the surface behind them. Some of the stuff I saw I think should be left as it is =)
_____The dialogue wasn't always amazing sometimes it was amusing. I found it a bit painful to hear feigned American accents however, especially when I had to repeat that scene multiple times. Some of the sound effects sound like they are straight out of familiar old titles, which was pretty good for nostalgic reasons.

So yeah I did enjoy enjoy playing this. But I do think $20 is a bit much for what you are getting at least at the moment. I was expecting a full albeit buggy game. Yes I would have preferred not to have been set back so much to buy this game. But I'm not too worried about it personally. However I'm pretty sure it's guaranteed that a lot of people would not be happy to pay $20 for what they would get get in this case.
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64 of 91 people (70%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
12.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 13, 2015
The short: While the core ideas are great, the uninteresting and uninspired environments, terrible gunplay which never improves, ridiculously accurate and frustrating omniscient AI, and lousy jumping puzzles in a game that is incompetent at platforming, all add up to a tedious and frustrating game experience.

The long:

I really, really wanted to like this game. The idea of going on a journey through the history of gaming within a game is great and one of the reasons I loved the first 3/4 of Evoland, before it became victim itself to the genre characteristics it strove to make fun of (RPGs). This romp-through-gaming-history is what also drew me to Bedlam. Here however, the genres being mocked are early FPS games, which I thought for certain had to be less tedious than the latter parts of Evoland when it reduced down to a grindy RPG. However, the great premise, witty humor and writing in the early parts of the game, and even the Scottish female protagonist could not save Bedlam devolving into yet another exercise in tedium.

The graphics and gunplay in the early part of the game is very basic, but the humor of the situation and the voice exchanges between the protagonist and other game characters were enough to keep me amused and interested to see where things would go. However, after trudging through the levels of this first 'FPS universe', it quickly became apparent that I would have to struggle through the tedious combat and uninspired game environments for longer than I would have liked.

The second game world that is explored in Bedlam seems even less interesting than the first. Lots of buildings and streets full of nothing but empty cloned rooms and textures. The only thing really occupying this world is the AI opponents - which themselves are also boring and repetitive.

Speaking of AI, let me just say this. At all times, as long as you are within a certain radius of the enemies, they will know exactly where you are, even if that happens to be up 3 flights of stairs or behind cover. They are also incredible marksmen and will never miss a target if it stands still for even a split second. This grew annoying very quickly, and while I kept hope that this game logic was just a way to mock early AI systems, nothing in Bedlam's core game behavior ever changed. Things actually get progressively worse as the enemies gain access to better weapons.

Oh and about those weapons! Alright, don't let anyone tell you there is no such thing as having too many weapons. This game proves that, beyond a doubt, you should not have access to every weapon you've come across at any point in time. Not only is it terribly difficult to choose a weapon in later stages of Bedlam due to the overwhelming number you have (especially using a mouse wheel), it is also terribly confusing as to which weapons are more or less powerful than one another. The developers could have easily remedied this situation by restricting access to weapons that are available on any given game 'universe', or at least removing ones that are similar in power to one another.

And now back to the game universes.. I wish I could say that the game worlds that Bedlam visits improve in design, or that the FPS gameplay itself improves, but that would be a lie. Okay, the one 'low gravity' Unreal-Tournament-inspired level was a bit of fun to play, and actually quite hilarious as the voices of angry teens mocked or reacted to my actions. I'd also give props to the 3D PacMan-inspired level if it was actually any fun to play, but it and the Space Invaders level just feel like early unfinished prototypes that were shoehorned in and wind up feeling just like filler. Luckily those two non-canon (FPS-wise) levels are over rather quickly.

The game world that annoyed me the most would probably have to be the 'void' that lay outside of all the game universes you visit. Its this weird fractured landscape that introduces platform jumping puzzles, and really shines a light on just how bad such a thing is inside an FPS game. Sure, there are probably one or two first person games that do this relatively well, but they are the exceptions to a rule. However, Bedlam goes one step further here by introducing a delay between the button-press and the actual jump. Yes, the character actually takes one extra step before jumping, which meant a lot of falling off obstacles to my death. It wouldn't be so bad if this was done only once or twice in the game, or it didn't reset to the beginning of the level, but unfortunately this mechanic is used and reused and becomes a major problem especially on the final levels. Learn to save often if you find yourself braving these areas of the game!

Alas, there's not much saving grace for Bedlam. It has a fun concept. It has good writing and humor in early parts of the game. It has a fairly decent voice actress. And it has one fun level. That's it. Terrible gunplay, AI, level design, and yes jumping puzzles all hamper the experience and make it an overly tedious and frustrating game to play. I'd suggest saving your money or buying this at a discount.
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34 of 42 people (81%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Recommended
14.8 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: January 14, 2015
Length of Time Played: 7 Hours
Distance Played: Beat The Game (Up To What Is Finished)
Personal Grade: B+

Opinion of Each Aspect

Grading System - Outstanding, Excellent, Good, Acceptable, Poor, Horrendous, Abysmal

Gameplay: Excellent
Stability: Good
Story: Excellent
Controls: Excellent
Graphics: Good
Music: Acceptable
Sounds: Poor
Difficulty: Poor

Notes: + (Positives), = (Small Gripes), - (Negatives)

+ A fairly good story based off the novel of the same game
+ Scottish accents are always a plus
+ References to older FPS's is a nice touch
+ Feels like an old school shooter with a better engine
+ A very large variety of weapons

= Gun sounds could be a bit more believeable
= Enemy AI has rather horrendous accuracy
= Enemy Snipers on the other hand have perfect accuracy
= Gun switching should be via Half-Life style with a small hud

- The difficulty is absurdly easy on Medium
- Zombies....really?
- Many of the guns feel useless (Pistols)
- The game itself is rather short
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31 of 38 people (82%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.2 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: October 29, 2014
Bedlam is an original and fun take on the old school first person (multiplayer) shooters from the 90’s (and even before the 90’s). If you enjoyed playing Quake or Unreal Tournament back in the days (you might even play them to this day) then Bedlam is everything you want and more. No need to look any further. Here’s why:

Since this is an Early Access game – and therefore still incomplete – I can’t tell if the final product will be worth your money and time but the first few chapters that I’ve played so far are very entertaining to say the least. I won’t go as far as to say it’s brilliant, but I can’t remember a game that has tried this sort of story before. Not like this, anyway.
The basic story is as follows: your character is a scientist who’s volunteering to test some new brain scanning tech. The scan it makes eventually puts you inside a game, but you quickly realize that you can’t get out of it so the scientist is now experiencing the game herself. That’s correct; you are a female gamer, and a Scottish one at that.
The story is fairly to-the-point, so you’ll receive mission objectives and you carry them out. The girl will narrate as well, but this is mostly done for comic relief and a bit of a backstory.
Normally I’d write a whole paragraph about the gameplay, but the game plays like most first person shooters. So there’s a whole lot of shooting involved while completing different objectives. These objectives range from capturing checkpoints, blowing up towers, just plainly killing enemies and even winning an Unreal Tournament inspired low-gravity deathmatch. All made as a nice tribute to some of the older, but still great, games most of us used to play when they were young.
I haven’t yet played any of them, but there also seem to be a few levels that are a bit different as far as the gameplay is concerned; one of them seems to be a sidescrolling shooter (yup, it’s still all about shooting things). I think it’s a good idea to mix things up a little because not everyone might appreciate and enjoy this sort of repetitive gameplay nowadays. People keep looking for new things and ways to excite them and giving them an old school shooter might not just be the best solution/idea here. But there’s always an audience for things, no matter how silly, so I’m sure it will do just fine.
Bedlam is a game that references a lot of older games but it doesn’t seem to introduce anything truly new to the genre. Don’t get me wrong, because that isn’t really necessary in any way, of course; the game stands outs because of its fun voice-overs and over-the-top action, while it will also let you think back of the times when things were simpler. The Unreal Tournament-like level especially triggered some memories for me. Great times, and I’m certain there are a lot more people who will agree with me here, not just for that level.

The graphics can also be seen as a tribute with some old-school ugliness in there, especially in the earlier levels, but it gets increasingly better as you progress. It never becomes perfect or beautiful, but it’s all very serviceable nevertheless. Despite its (intentionally) ugly models and environments it all looks very sharp and clean. The developers have done a great job here, even if my review let you think that I maybe didn’t appreciate any of it.
The voice acting is charming but the Scottish accent can get a bit tiresome sometimes (no offense to Scottish people ;)). Sometimes it feels like she’s trying a bit too hard but overall I’m very satisfied with how it’s done. The rest of the cast also does a great job here.
In short; nothing wrong with the audio-visual experience here.

Because the game isn’t complete or even out yet, and levels are still being added, I can’t really tell you how long a playthrough will last you. I finished half of the levels in about an hour so I’d say that you can complete this Early Access version in 2,5 hours or so. I’m not sure about this, but I think the final product will last somewhere around 5 hours, maybe even longer.

Bedlam is all about bringing you a new old-school experience, and with success. It references a lot of the older shooters from the 90’s while adding some humorous voice acting and levels to complete the package. It might not do anything truly new but if you’re one of those people who doesn’t care about that sort of stuff then you should absolutely play this game. It’s a nice trip down memory lane, no matter what.

[Rating: 77/100]
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22 of 24 people (92%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
41.8 hrs on record
Posted: February 22
The player assumes the role of Athena, a normal everyday woman who has somehow woken up inside a virtual world of a video game. She makes plenty of self-aware quips throughout Bedlam, ranging from obvious and cringy to downright hysterical. She quickly realizes she's in a shooter from the '90s, and it's not long until she manages to escape through a glitch in the game to be transporting to various other worlds.

Bedlam will take players through different time periods and genres of video games, but does eventually become too formulaic. Players will enter a world, complete its objectives, enter an "in between" glitch world, and then move on to the next section. While not predictable in the sense that the new world will be a surprise, the concept becomes rigid and boring.

There is an underlying story besides "look at the funny parody worlds," and unfolds through in-game radio chatter and hidden sections within each world. It's all based on the book by the same name, which I haven't read, but seems to deal with essentially the same thing. In a way, Bedlam felt like a long winded way of saying "hey, you should read the book." The story is somewhat engaging and certainly well written, but the lack of closure at the end of the game was a huge letdown.

Bedlam handles like a first-person shooter, with one or two exceptions, and does a great job of nailing down the shooting mechanics. Each world has a unique set of weapons to acquire, but ammo for each gun is limited to its respective world. This sounds like an interesting mechanic on paper, but in reality the player gets so many guns that ammo is never an issue due to the wide breadth of options.

In fact, and I didn't think I'd ever say this, but there are likely too many weapons. They all have their small quirks and differences, but all of the shotguns, machine guns, and pistols might as well be identical. The large number of options also makes it a pain to switch between weapons, especially when using the mousewheel. Every number on the keyboard is assigned to a weapon, and it never really felt worth it to memorize what was where.

There are also platforming sections that take place during the in between glitch worlds. I'm hesitant to even call them platforming sections since the player is literally jumping over small distances from one long rectangle to the next. They are in no way challenging, but I did die a few times, usually because I had no idea that there was no ground in between certain sections. Most of these sections are only there to keep the player busy while radio chatter occurs to thicken the plot.

Perhaps the best part of Bedlam is the "tour" through various styles of first-person shooter tropes. I won't spoil them all here, but all of the classic FPS environments are present, and some that will definitely take players by surprise and have them laughing. Of course, going back in time does have its design downfalls, as some worlds are more barren than anything else, and there's a few instances of poor mission design that will leave players frustrated and anxious to jump into the next section.

The last level in particular is especially drab. It falls into the classic pitfall of "throw everything possible at the player and see how they do." Honestly, I used the explosive weapons to rocket-jump through just about all of it. Perhaps that was intended, but considering how wonky rocket-jumping physics are in Bedlam, I highly doubt it.

Each world ends with a boss, and they're all impressively mediocre. The big thing shows up, player shoots it a lot. The last boss in particular is tedious, and offers up just about zero challenge to the player. Despite the poor boss fights, the game has enough brilliant small moments to really stand out. After I had completed the game, the things that stuck with me were the tiny segments that used its plot device to its strength and didn't adhere to the obvious formula that it was playing with. I'm confident in saying that there are enough of these to keep the player interested throughout most of the game.

To accompany the decade-hopping mechanics, the game's aesthetic varies from place to place as well. Most noticeably, the models get progressively better as the meta-titles get more modern. However, things like the health and body armor pickups remain the same throughout every world. It would have been interesting to see the developer also explore how health system evolved as the genre itself did, but instead we get floating health packs that are way out of place in most of the worlds.

The voice acting, at least, is top notch. The radio chatter is entertaining and very well done, it's just a shame that a handful of times I was forced to read the subtitles because the surrounding noises, like being in a firefight, drowned out the actual voice acting.

Bedlam will take players on a jaunt through various first-person shooter worlds, but the problem is that none of them are particularly great. There are some absolutely wonderful and memorable moments strewn throughout the experience, but they are brought down by some poor design in both the missions and boss fights, and essentially the entire last chapter. I genuinely did have some great laughs, and there are worse ways to kill an afternoon, but ironically Bedlam falls prey to many of the same issues of the games it apes.
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19 of 19 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
7.7 hrs on record
Posted: April 19
Bedlam was a blast to play. In a time and age where most FPS are designed to appeal to the masses, few titles evoke the sense I had when I first played DOOM or Quake, unless we’re talking about the recent Wolfenstein game. That said, I’m not saying this is comparable with those games in terms of quality and overall production values, but I do strongly believe that this is an underrated gem and so I’d like to express how this game deserves to be played.

In Bedlam you play as Heather Quinn, or Athena (her nickname). You’ve recently got a new job and soon enough you find yourself trapped inside some sort of videogame. Soon enough you realize the sort of mess you’ve put yourself into and uncover a conspiracy that is placing your digital life in danger. This is what I really enjoy about Bedlam. The game takes place inside various game worlds and is brimming with tons of references that trigger so many memories and filled me with nostalgia so many times.

Throughout the game you’ll play on various different settings, from alien worlds that reminded me of Quake, to medieval villages and a war torn Europe. Each of these sections will give you access to a whole new range of weapons that fit this timeline. This is also one of old school aspects of Bedlam that I really appreciate. The fact that you can have up TONS of weapons and switch between them as you see fit, instead of being restricted to 2 or 3 weapons like in most FPS these days. Weapons range from blasters, a crossbow, a minigun, a railgun, a sniper rifle, you name it, there is something for everyone. Of course, each of these settings will also present you to a new aesthetic and new types of enemies. Therefore, the game manages to keep the levels interesting and fresh by not only changing the graphical style but also the way the levels themselves are designed.

As you could expect, this is an homage and a love letter to the times when the FPS genre was at its height. In that sense, the game is extremely fast paced, there is no walking, you’re constantly on the move, and you need to be so, in order to not be hit by enemies. The fact that you move so fast and have access to such a huge arsenal made the game a lot of fun for me to play, since different weapons would be more suitable to defeat certain enemies.

There is only two complaints that I’d like to mention, the fact that sometimes the enemies would get stuck behind walls and other times they’d shoot behind those walls (still hitting me), and the other complaint is related to the hitboxes of props, sometimes I’d shoot over an object while having my crosshair directly on the enemy but the shot would hit the object in front of me. Besides that, it’s worth mentioning that the game is also somewhat short. It can easily be beaten in 5-6 hours (atleast on medium difficulty).

To finalize, Bedlam was an extremely pleasant surprise. I had it sitting on my library for ages and I’m very glad I went ahead and gave it a go. The soundtrack is mindblowing good and I’m actually sad I can’t find it outside the game. If you’re a fan of first person shooters, especially if you’re a fan of games like DOOM, Quake and Wolfenstein, Bedlam might be worth check out. It is fun, varied, charming, challenging, nostalgic, filled with gaming and geeky references and features a rather interesting and unique storyline. Please give this one a chance!
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