Much ado about nothing
Most of this review you'll find it in the "the bad" section. It's difficult to discover something good and prominent in an adventure that is very poor in every aspect. Maybe the best thing is its comic-book-style introduction, well narrated and illustrated, but short. Sadly, there isn't any vestige of that comic style in the rest of the game. I suppose a few pages of comic book won't convince to someone about this game, …or yes?
I'm not a guy who is on pursuit of every "over-hyped" game, in order to then join to the adoration with rest of people. Neither I'm of those that hate this games before play them. So, I approached to "Beneath a Steel Sky" with a moderate expectation, but with intention of enjoy it, such as with every adventure that I play. However, other than a promising preface (its comic-book), it took me no long time realize this game is of those that gained good reputation because of to have a nice title and a little of good luck in the law of "chain reaction" acceptance of gamers, even though in its essence is rather ordinary and lacking of personality.
As I said, the start is attractive, but I lost that interest immediately because of the important thing about the game is to solve frustrating and not very clever puzzles, which don't fit very well with the main story. Puzzles are of type (but not quality) of Lucas Arts's games. Perhaps I might have tolerated that if the story's unfolding had been attractive, but not: the unfolding is very, very superficial and simple, what confirms far more that the important thing is to solve un-intuitive puzzles.
The atmosphere is very poor: the graphics don't convey any feel of to be in a huge futuristic city, since they are so static and unoccupied that sometimes seem cardboard backgrounds. The music is practically one song, plain and monotonous. The (few) characters aren't interesting or important, in part due to hollow dialogues that we have with them: they inform very little about situation, background story, other characters, etc. They're there just because they're an ingredient of some annoying puzzle.
In its "comic"' introduction, the game shows a dramatic tone. However, that is an illusion. The main character jokes with everything, and in general, he doesn't take anything seriously, although there is blood and deaths during the plot. This attempt of comedy, plus its puzzles, did me feel as if I were playing a Monkey Island, but with deaths, little humor and boring puzzles. It is a confusing blend.
The Bottom Line
I don't understand why so many people consider it a classic adventure, raise it at the level of TRUE classics, like lots of Lucas Arts and Sierra's adventures. But, is it that they don't see (or feel) the huge difference? BASS is not a complete waste, but like sci-fi story, it's void and simple, and like a game, it's boring and frustrating. That's not to be a good game. And much less a classic.