>observer_ (Switch) – Review
Follow Genre: Psychological Horror
Developer: Bloober Team SA
Publisher: Aspyr
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Tested on: Switch

>observer_ (Switch) – Review

Site Score
9.0
Good: Great story and awesome visuals
Bad: The story can be difficult to follow
User Score
9.7
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.7/10 (3 votes cast)

After a successful release on PC, Xbox One and PS4, a release for the Nintendo Switch couldn’t be out of the question. The cyberpunk horror game Observer was well received on all platforms and while the graphics have been downscaled due to the hardware limitations, this game is still a beautifully designed cyberpunk detective game. Made by the creators of Layers of Fear, this is another exciting game with a great story.

Story

Observer is a cyberpunk horror game set in Poland. It’s the year 2084 and those who live have turned to drugs, VR and neural implants in a world that seems to be merged with technology all over the place. The world has gone to ruin after a digital plague has killed thousands of augmented people and a colossal war has wiped out any previous global superpowers. You play as Daniel Lazarski (voiced by Blade Runner’s Rutger Hauer), an elite neural detective called an observer. These observers are part of a police unit under the direction of the leading corporation of the Fifth Polish Republic, Chiron. As an observer, your purpose is to hack and invade suspects’ minds by entering their neural chips implanted in their heads, even post-mortem. Privacy is nowhere to be found in this job.

You receive a call from your estranged son. After tracing the signal, you’re going to look for your son in a slum in the worst part of Krakow. The citizens are divided into classes and this bleak Class C district is filled with many frightened people hiding in their apartments while escaping their lives through taking drugs, be it chemical or technological. Most of the time is spent in this part of the slums of Krakow. When you enter the apartment that should be your son’s, you find a beheaded corpse. Then, the investigation begins. In the search for your son, you’ll encounter many other cases that start once you discover them and it’s your task to solve them.

Graphics

Observer looks really awesome in many aspects. It’s played through a first-person perspective and by walking through this world, you’ll notice that your surroundings all seem to be merged with technology. The urban setting looks very depressing with a lot of decay, exposed cables, destroyed walls and a lot of augmented-reality overlays that are all over the place. Everywhere, you’ll see ads from the leading corporation, the Fifth Polish Republic, Chiron for their products. The cyberpunk-inspired graphics look awesome and perfectly fit the picture with the world’s background story. If you look at the console variants of this game, it’s clear that the graphics have been downgraded a lot, but it still looks awesome on both the handheld screen and on your television.

Inside the minds of others, you’ll notice that these worlds don’t make any sense at all. With floating objects, glitches and bizarre surroundings, these look like an absurd work of art. You can see that a lot of time has been spent in creating these wacky ever-changing areas that are supposed to be memories. This also proves how twisted this game is designed.

Sound

With hiring an actor like Rutger Hauer, known from the movie Blade Runner, who voices the role of the detective perfectly, you can say that the voice-acting in this game is amazing. his gritty voice-acting is mostly emotionally distant, but when it comes to personal affairs, much emotion can be heard there. Sometimes the music heightens moments when journeying through someone’s mind. For example, in one of these mindscapes, you’ll hear a child singing parts of a children’s song when interrupted by sort of screaming, it will give the area that extra creepy vibe it needs. Furthermore, the background is always filled with a lot of environmental sounds, as you’d expect from old run-down buildings. The sounds really complement the whole game in a fantastic way.

Gameplay

Observer is a first-person psychological horror game. The gameplay of this game is designed very simple. In this detective game, you wander around the various rooms while searching for clues and evidence to retrieve more information for your cases. Most of the time, you’re busy exploring the apartment building and wandering through the mindscapes of other people.

As a detective, you can use multiple vision modes to analyze your surroundings. With the bio vision, you can analyze biological materials like bodies, blood and other biological components. With the EM vision, you can analyze devices, implants and other technological things in your surroundings. All these things can provide clues to answer some questions in the cases. With the EM vision, you can detect the neural implants that you can use to connect with other people’s minds.

Some items can be picked up to be used later in the game. With the analysis visions in your possession, you can analyze objects and materials. These will offer new clues for solving the cases. When you find important clues by analyzing, reading and exploring people’s minds, Lazarski will say something involving those clues. You can also interact with a lot of furniture. You can open cupboard doors to check what’s behind them. If you don’t pay attention to everything you can interact with, it’s easy to miss some items or clues. Checking all the cabinets in every room will surely take a lot of time, but for the real detectives among us, it’s a fun thing to do.

The cases you are currently researching are shown on the device on your arm. This device poses as your personal identification, shows your health status and shows the current statuses of the cases you’re currently involved with. In many places, you’ll find pills of synchrozine. This consumable needs to be taken every once in a while, so Lazarski’s functions keep stable as he is also a modified human with implants. This consumable can be taken in the interface of the device on your arm.

After analyzing a neural chip inside someone else’s body, you can enter the minds of suspects and victims by connecting with a device that’s implanted in your body. This will let you enter a freaky world compiled by their thoughts and memories. This world will change constantly, and you’ll need to pay a lot of attention to understand some of their memories. While walking through this world of memories, your surroundings will change a lot and you’ll need to interact with some devices to continue on the journey through these memories. It can prove to be a hard task to get through as some of these appear to be a maze and you’ll need to take the correct path. In one memory, we entered the same room more than hundred times before reaching the next part. You’ll need to pay attention to devices like televisions that show some hints on which doorway you’ll need to go through.

The game also surprised us with a bit of a bonus game implemented through terminals scattered across the game. When you look at these terminals, you’ll come across a game called With Fire and Sword: Spiders. This minigame is a simple puzzle game that needs you to reach the end of each level with all the coins spread on the map without being killed by the spiders spread across each level. When you are two spaces from a spider, it will follow you. in each level, fiery swords are found lying on the ground. By walking past multiple spiders, they’ll all gather on the same space. When you touch these spiders with a sword equipped, you’ll kill them. If you’ve collected all the coins and the path to the end of the level is clear, you’ll complete that level.

Conclusion

This cyberpunk horror game is great in many ways. The environment looks awesome and the story featuring a well-known actor as the main protagonist is also splendid. Diving into someone else’s mind feels a bit like a taboo but the things you see there are unique. The cyberpunk style is very well visualized with a mix of decayed buildings and technology weaved together. This game is more of an idle walk through an amazing story where you need to do the investigation work. If you’re looking for more action, than this title might not be a perfect fit for you, but if you are in for the story, then this game will provide you with an amazing experience.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.7/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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>observer_ (Switch) - Review, 9.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Nickskuh


Administration is my job but gaming is my passion!

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