Observer Xbox One Review

Through the grimy neon-lit world of 2084 Karkow a cautionary tale of augmentation, war, and suffering blend together to make the Observer an exciting tale

By Grayshadow, Posted 21 Aug 2017

Blade Runner released back in 1982 and continues to inspire people to this day, developing cyberpunk worlds and stories from creative creators. Bloober Team has taken inspiration from this classic film to developer Observer, even casting Blade Runner's Rutger Hauer as the main character. Through the grimy neon-lit world of 2084 Karkow a cautionary tale of augmentation, war, and suffering blend together to make the Observer an exciting tale. 

Observer,Bloober Team,Aspyr,

Players take control of Daniel Lazarski, a detective with unique forensic technology embedded into his body, working on the streets of Krakow under a leading corporation called the Fifth Polish Republic. Traveling to a low-income, called a Class C district, apartment block to investigate a message from you estranged son things go bad as the whole building goes into lockdown, leaving Daniel trapped in the cramped environment. With nothing left Daniel searches the building for clues over brutal crime scenes by talking to people and amazing the environment using 2 visors; one for mechanisms and the other for organic evidence.

The apartment's primary hub is the central courtyard where cyberpunk structures linked together with yards of electrical wire, connecting one place to another. Sometimes the vista will change depending on your choices throughout the story. At first, I dismissed these as just cosmetic but it held significant to the overall story but feels empty. With the exception of a few characters, most of the people you'll interact with are hidden behind doors. You use an intercom to speak to them while choosing different options ranging from aggressive to understanding. These yield different results, giving Daniel access to evidence unique to that choice.

The people hidden away during the lockdown are a diverse collection. Citizens here are desperate, frightened, and sometimes troubled with their only escape being a daily dose of drugs or technology. Varied conversations offer information about the work, such as the cyborg brain disease that wipes out global powers and killed many, and about Daniel's own life. These discussions are optional and there's no way to tell which door houses a person so you'll have to interact with all of them. However, some offer side cases with multiple outcomes.

Observer,Bloober Team,Aspyr,

The scares from Observer comes from fear generated over time by distance screaming, warped faces, and being teleported without warning. Threats are sparse with the exception of Daniel being chased. Here he must hide, wait for the foe to retreat, and bolt for the exit. These are the most vexing parts of Observer but fortunately, checkpoints are generous and load times are fast. 

Observer does have some significant issues. On the Xbox One performance was a constant problem with the framerate constantly shifting, especially when outside. This issue is supplemented with long loading times. When entering a room the interaction icon's dot will bounce around to signify a now loading room. These can take between 10-25 seconds each and extended my playthrough by at least 1 hour. However, the development team at Bloober Team is aware of this issue and is working on a solution.

Observer entices you to explore every section to learn about the world and the story. Surreal moments and surprises pepper the game, sometimes showcasing how technology can cost us our humanity. The writing of every character feels genuine, constructing desperate and lost people attempting to grab on to whatever they can to remain rooted in their reality; whether it's their children or watching television. These unexpected situations made Observer amazing, but haunting at the same time. 

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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General Information

Observer

89/100

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): Aspyr
Developer(s): Bloober Team
Genres: Survival horror
Themes: Cyberpunk
Release Date: 2017

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