When Blooper Team released >OBSERVER_in 2017 it was incredibly well received and established that developer as another very talented Polish studio. It was a stunning Cyberpunk-infused horror/mystery/thriller game that stood out from the crowd.
They have recently re-released the title as the easier-to-type Observer: System Redux on next gen and legacy platforms featuring enhanced visuals, better load times and some new gameplay mechanics. The overall game was fantastic to begin with and these enhancements make it a compelling experience for newcomers and returning players alike.
Observer is a first person story-heavy thriller staring the late Rutger Hauer, who plays Daniel Lazarski, an elite investigator of the future. As an Observer, you hack into the minds of suspects to extract clues and evidence. Anything they felt, thought, or remembered can and will be used to solve your case.
The key hook to Observer is using a device known as the Dream Eater, with which we can hack into the minds of the dead and dying to relive their final moments and explore their fears and obsessions. This allows us to explore twisted neural mazes and search for clues that will help us find the elusive killer.
The game kicks off as Lasarski receives a call from his estranged son which triggers a strange vision. Heading to the rundown apartment the call came from, the game thrusts us into a complex, often disturbing thriller as secrets are uncovered while we guide the protagonist through the maze-like apartment complex.
At times a complex psychological thriller and at others a homage to great Cyberpunk movies like Blade Runner, Observer is a captivating game that is hard to stop playing. As the environments are explored, side tasks like an organ harvester or a little girl seemingly living alone are uncovered and explored, further fleshing out the world.
Countless times I found myself just wandering around trying every door, seeing if there was some fresh nuance to be discovered in this rich and compelling experience. The amount of texture, detail and care put into this world blew me away and is even more striking in this enhanced version.
I was able to check out Observer: System Redux on the PS5 and was quickly blown away by the little touches Blooper has added. Ray tracing implemented in a subtle but noticeable effective way, HDR lighting to add complexity and texture to the world, and haptic feedback make interactions feel truly alive. I also had literally no load times my entire playthrough thanks to the use of the SSD drive on the Playstation 5.
The biggest noticeable changes, though, are the 4k texture overhauls, refined mechanics and added side quest content. The character models are significantly better as are the environmental textures. It’s clear that Blooper spent a great deal of time making this title as polished (yet dark, dank, grimy and neon-infused) as they could.
Hacking has had a much needed boost so that it’s both easier and more enjoyable, with a rotating screen of numbers allowing us to see which ones are part of the code. Stealth was only used sparingly in the original but was frustrating; thanks to some tweaks and lighting changes it is now a better aspect of the overall experience.
The new content in the form of some new side quests is nice to see, including a very creepy search for love altars constructed by a stalker in the building. These extra bits of content are integrated into the overall experience and add further depth to the already compelling world.
The game is a stunning and compelling experience and despite small qualms about the uneven voice acting it is a truly exceptional experience that is unique in our current gaming landscape. Observer: System Redux takes full advantage of the refinements in technology since it first released, and is a game that people hungering for a movie-like horror/thriller set in a captivating Cyberpunk world should check out as soon as possible.
Observer: System Redux is available right now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S right now. While many of the refinements are across the board I strongly suggest playing on PS5 or Xbox Series X to get the very best experience.