04th Sep2017

‘Observer’ Review (PC)

by Paul Metcalf

observer_dan-and-janus

When you think of Rutger Hauer, one of the first movies that springs to your mind is of course Blade Runner. This is probably one reason that he was picked to be the lead role in Observer.

The first thing you notice in the game is that the game also feels very much like Blade Runner. The cyberpunk version of 2084 is where we find Daniel Lazarski, a detective who works for one of the leading corporations in the Fifth Polish Republic, Chiron. Taking place on the streets of Krakow there is a depressive air on the streets.

The despair felt comes from the results of a digital plague that killed thousands of augmented humans, and on top of that a war that has wiped out previous superpowers. Chiron filled the vacuum that was left and controls everything. As an investigator for the company, Lazarski uses his body tech to interface with people’s minds and take part in their memories, which leads to him finding out what they know and gives him the ability to solve crimes.

Things get complicated when Lazarski’s son appears to be trying to contact his father. This leads the detective to a rundown district in search of the truth. Only to find himself trapped inside an apartment building where somebody (or something) is killing the occupants off one by one as they search for the same thing; Lazarski’s son.

What is interesting about Observer is that it is a plot driven experience that works to assault the senses of the player. In the “real” world, everything is dark and electronic, even to the conversations that you have with the occupants of the apartments that are under lockdown. While you explore the areas open to you, you have the ability to investigate the area using Lazarski’s body tech skills. This works to extend the feel of being in a Blade Runner like world.

When you jack into the heads of the people you are investigating in Observer, this is where things tend to get a little weird. These people have normally been under stress and are hiding dark secrets, so once you are in their memories things go from strange to creepy. Rather than being scary though, it is more of an overload of the senses, with things not only attacking you visually, but also audibly.

Making your way through these experiences though, it all adds to the story that is building up around you, and with the game looking so beautiful, no matter how weird and overloading it can be, you just have to keep on going.

One thing I do have to say is that at first, I found Rutger Hauer’s performance to be a little wooden and it affected the immersion of the game. The further you get into it though, the better the performance becomes and with the tension of the game never letting go, it is fair to say that Observer is an effective game that certainly pushes your limits.

If you want a good single-player immersive experience, Observer is a good pick. Full of thought-provoking stories and experiences full of tension, it would be nice to see this game updated to allow VR play. Though it may be a bit too much to handle for some.

**** 4/5

Observer is available on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 now.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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