Occasionally a title is republished within a few years of its publication. For the most part, it introduces slight improvements as well as some brushstrokes with new content. Seldom have I experienced such a complete facelift in a relatively new game as with our protagonist today. An improved version that hides a remastered / remake. Today I am analyzing an upcoming task. We traveled to a futuristic Poland … a cyberpunk Poland to experience a completely unknown terror, at the hands of my beloved Polish studio Bloober Team. Today we’re going back to Observer, this time with the Redux system added.
Year 2084, Poland. The great war and a deadly epidemic not only decimated the population, they also left power on a silver platter for a large corporation. Who, in the face of events, almost completely rules a devastated Poland.
We play Daniel Lazarsky, Dan for friends. An experienced detective with the corporate police observation unit. We are a bit weird, an observer, in that our “slightly” improved bodies allow us to hack into the memories of our goals, living in our own flesh their fears, phobias, and in some cases … death.
It all starts like a normal day in the city, but one phone call freezes us. Our son, whom we have not known about for years, is going to make us a strange call that will be abruptly cut off and take us to his location. A hodgepodge from a block of flats where the worst kind in town lives. A cave of doom full of losers, the sick, and the madmen.
As soon as we arrive at our son’s apartment, we will discover a decapitated corpse … and so the game begins. And leave us frozen and expectant to resolve the case. A promising and addicting start that I have seen in a long time.
Now is the time to be detectives. Looking for clues, corpse analysis that is pretty cool for living in the cyberpunk era as our improvements allow us to do a full forensic analysis that sheds some light on the event.
Things get complicated by reasons I’m going to reserve, but we’ll be trapped in the ailing block of flats. Now we are going to start questioning the tenants about their condition and, most importantly, whether they know anything about what happened to the decapitated man. How to start a simulator of knocking on the door, and in my opinion one of the most interesting parts that I’ve experienced in a video game.
Go door to door to see what we discover and find all kinds of characters from junkies to poor souls in bad hours. The building will turn into a maze full of locked locks and inaccessible doors. Where our only hope will be our detective instincts.
Bloober Team manages to create a really terrifying atmosphere with one of the best adaptations of the cyberpunk genre I’ve ever seen. And they do it by being one hundred percent themselves, giving up the Americanization of their game, bringing their cyberpoints to life in Poland. He does this with dubbing that looks Hollywood films in the face, hair-raising appearances and brilliantly written dialogues. He does it by leveraging his platform’s technology, using the DualShock 4 speaker, and using millimeter vibration (I don’t want to imagine how well this will go on his version of PlayStation 5) He does it with a spectacular soundtrack and with a Directional sound that could well boast of its 3D. And above all, with that photorealism achieved countless times, this Redux system is far more remake than the hundreds of games that boast of the nickname on the cover.
But the jewel in the crown is without a doubt its setting, which is composed of the above, but is characterized by its artistic component. The color palette with predominantly bluish gray and pure darkness contrasts strongly with a neon line, but without being intrusive, but rather subtle and depressing. It’s just something extraordinary and very original based on a genre that is trendy and has already experienced several booms in the history of the medium.
If I remember anything from this Observer: System Redux, it will be the addiction I suffered. It was not half normal to spend the seven hours it takes to be on the screen and suffer from terrible dark circles while I am giving you these lines. This is due to its simple but profound mechanics (based on analysis and hacking to find clues and thus the way) and above all due to its excellent rhythm that does not let up for a moment. In addition, in this improved version we find several secondary missions that I found brilliant, with cases of madmen resolved in unthinkable ways, making us prolong the investigation, but at the same time not what leads us to lose the main route, but they serve us along the way so that we can stop just enough but still enjoy (or suffer) those subplots that fit perfectly into this wacky building.
If there’s one thing I can blame … it’s that it’s still a bloober team, for better or for worse. That said, I felt something similar to what I experienced with The Medium. The title starts off like a beast and develops even better … but these endings are what kill me. When we stop being a nondescript protagonist and start being something else. When the game breaks in our protagonist’s mind in search of answers … or at the end of the day we lose the coherence of the narrative to mix it with our own psychological one. I would have had more fun (or at least I think) if the game hadn’t made the leap to psychedelic terror and focused more on the realism or everyday life of a simple detective … but other than my simple opinion, it’s true that the “craziest” moments are an audiovisual past. How they play with lights, shadows, loops … even verging on danger, and that visual fatigue can reduce the experience, and be especially careful if you have epilepsy or are sensitive to light. Even so, you have access options to help you out if that is the case.
That said, I really enjoyed this piece that should go straight to the Museum of Good Video Games. With an experience that made me feel like a real detective in a terrible future. An adventure that captivated me from the first minute and gave me brilliant moments. If you liked the previous Bloober Team games and you haven’t tried Observer, you are missing out on its best work and I can’t think of a better way to enjoy it than by updating it.
An unforgettable experience.