Observer_ [Game Review]

My adventure began, ushered in by opening cinematics and introductory text.
Immediately, I was mesmerized by the cyberpunk dystopian aesthetic and the attention to detail that was put into Observer_. The story takes place in the year 2084 and follows Daniel Lazarski, a corporate-sponsored police detective who uses the technology of the time to ‘hack in’ and interrogate the minds of those subject to his inquiry.

First Impressions of Observer_:

Besides the aesthetic, Observer_ had plenty of other lasting impressions.
Observer’s keyboard controls were clunky, unreliable, and honestly lacked depth.
To those of you who prefer the ease of use of a controller, let me save you some time and tell you now, you simply should not use one for this game. I mean that sincerely and not as some snarky PC ‘master race’ comment.

Mouse dragging to open doors had me feeling like the developers intended to implement Virtual Reality as the default method of game control. Unfortunately and to my surprise Observer_ has no support for V.R functionality, which seems like a HUGE oversight, especially with how you interact with objects within the world.

Observer_ logo and opening image

Aesthetically speaking, Observer_ has to be one of the best-designed games I have ever encountered, rivaled only by a few titles such as Bioshock, Half-life, Mass Effect, and pretty much any game developed by Bioware or Bethesda. Bloober Team did an astounding job keeping assets within the realm of possibility and believability. This level of talent is something I would expect from a major title or development group, certainly not from a small indie group from Poland! Observers texture assets are mouth-wateringly immersive, Bloober Team utilized the Unreal Game Engine to its fullest potential. It was unreal how everything within the game world seemingly fit perfectly together, it was a flawless adventure. (Pun intended)

The ambient music had me reeling and subtle transitions in ambiance gave little clue to incoming jump scares. When audio and textural ambiance match in such a seamlessly perfect blend, I found it easy to become fully immersed. Observer often forced me to sprint down winding corridors and virtually augmented areas that left me feeling claustrophobically anxious and when paired with having to utilize my mouse to interact with the environment, it had to be the worst case of Immersion breaks, I felt ham-fisted and clumsy at best.

I refused to spoil the game’s story in a review, I fear it would take a great deal away from your experience, let me just lead off with… Observer’s story leads to heart-stopping, gut-wrenching, arm-hair-standing exploration, filled with nightmare fueled encounters and artistically performed music and subtle ambient changes, truly the markings of a brilliantly crafted masterpiece.
I spent roughly 6 hours playing through the main story, which felt like a relatively short amount of time for a game of its genre type. If you are one of those people who enjoy reading every article in the game world that you can find, I’m looking at you Skyrim book hoarders, then there are countless hours more of hidden content that I skipped over.

The more time I spent investigating the hidden lore, the scarier the game became, I suppose investing time into your immersion and relation with the game will do that to you.

Observer_ scary mirror monster

The Verdict:

Observer_ is a title that is rich in story and is excellently crafted.

Although its movement and the interactive menus are dull and frankly irritating at times, the game still manages to pull through and shine brightly as a standalone game.
Additionally, it’s affordable for the level of effort that went into its development.

If you are quick to solve puzzles and don’t spend much time investigating all of your options, you might find the story to be short, a bit bland and even railroaded.

Overall, the graphics were stupendous! Bloober Team did an extraordinary job orchestrating the music and ambiance to a level of perfection we rarely see in triple-A titles, let alone indie studios.

The controls were bearable, but often took away from my immersion and left me rushing through areas rather than investigating them.

Additional Information
@blooberteam @AspryMedia
You can purchase Observer_ for $29.99 USD on the steam store.

Minimum System Requirements

Windows PC

  • Operating System: Windows 7
  • CPU Processor: AMD A8-6700 OR Intel Core i3
  • CPU Speed: 3.1 GHz
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Hard Disk Space: 10 GB
  • Video Card (AMD): R9 270
  • Video Card (NVidia): GeForce GTX 660
  • Video Memory (VRam): 2 GB

NOTICE: INTEL video cards are NOT SUPPORTED to run Observer