Observer is a psychological horror game that was released in 2017 on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The game is set in a futuristic cyberpunk world and features Rutger Hauer, who played a prominent role in Blade Runner. It was released to unanimous critical acclaim and is one of the best cyberpunk video games to ever be released. Read on for our Observer video game review.
Developer: Bloober Team
Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Linux, macOS, Nintendo Switch.
What Is Observer?
Observer is a psychological science fiction horror game that gained notoriety for its world design, story, and visual effects.
The game is set in the Kraków, Poland, in the year of 2084. The world has recently fallen victim to a digital plague, or nanophage, that resulted in thousands of deaths and a subsequent rise in war and drug abuse. Poland has ceded control to megacorporation Chiron, which has resulted in the creation of the Fifth Polish Republic.
The Observers, a police unit working under Chiron, have been placed in charge of the country’s security and have been granted access to hack the minds of inhabitants. As a result of this, criminals and drug addicts are sent away to live in run-down apartment buildings.
The game has been well received by critics and gamers alike, and collected numerous awards for its gameplay and setting. Observer was lauded for its effective amalgamation of cyberpunk, sci-fi ad horror elements, and its success has led to the possibility of a film adaptation being released in the future.
The visual effects, the story and the world design are of the highest calibre in this game. In this Observer video game review, we will try to explain why Observer is one of the greatest horror games of the past few years, and why it is one of the best cyberpunk video games of all time.
Observer – Story
Players take on the role of Observer detective, Daniel Lazarski. At the beginning of the game, Lazarski receives a phone call from Adam, his estranged son. The call is traced to an apartment in one of the most run-down areas of Kraków.
After visiting Adam’s apartment building, a series of hints lead Daniel on a trail to find his son. The journey to find Adam turns out to be a rollercoaster of emotions for the detective, who eventually finds himself in an abandoned virtual reality salon called Sanctuary.
Inside Sanctuary, Lazarski encounters further surprises. What follows is a deep exploration into a digital realm that allows consciousness to exist in virtual reality and enables the possibility of transferring consciousness into a different host body.
Without giving too much plot information away in this Observer video game review, one thing we can say is that the story is as intense as it is enjoyable, with an engaging and emotional connection being crafted with the characters in the game.
If you’re enjoying this Observer video game review, you might also like our Anachronox review, another one of the best cyberpunk video games available right now.
Observer – Gameplay
The Observer gameplay is similar to other psychological horror games in the genre. It is played from a first-person perspective and allows the player to roam certain areas, interacting with objects and characters in order to solve puzzles to advance in the game.
A unique feature of Observer’s gameplay is the use of the Dream Eater. This device allows the player to hack the minds of people in order to interrogate them. In this cyberpunk game, the detective is also equipped with Bio Vision and Electromagnetic Vision, allowing you to thoroughly examine your surroundings and mark any interactable objects.
Aside from the main quest, players can also search for collectibles such as patient records and Nanophage cards. There is also an enjoyable mini-game available to play through computer terminals called With Fire and Sword: Spiders.
Observer – The Good
- Cyberpunk setting: It is obvious from the outset that the game is heavily inspired by Blade Runner, and Observer does a great job of emulating the cyberpunk setting and feel that made so many fall in love with the genre. The atmosphere is immense, with lighting and audio playing a huge part in the suspense. Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect, though, is that you are thrown into the deep end with little explanation and a ton of working out to do, it adds a great deal of immersion to the gameplay and couples wonderfully with the futuristic setting.
- Story: It is already mentioned above in this Observer video game review how good the story is, and it is worth mentioning again. Admittedly, the story is confusing at times, but if you focus on the plot there are some thought-provoking and current themes to the game’s story. Combine this with some top voice acting and impressive futuristic visuals, and Observer easily becomes one of the best cyberpunk video games of recent history.
Observer – The Bad
- Combat: Or lack of. Some players were put out by the lack of combat in the game. So, if you’re into horror games with a good dose of action injected into them, you may want to search elsewhere before trying Observer.
- Length and difficulty: A few gamers have complained about the length of the game. It will take around 8-10 hours to complete the game, depending on how much you interact with the environment. Others have levelled criticism at the ease of the game, citing the simplicity of the puzzles.
Games like Observer
If you’ve finished the game already and are looking for something similar, you are in luck. Here are some other games like Observer for you to try:
- Layers of Fear
- System Shock 2
Blog of Games Rating
You may have noticed from reading this Observer video game review that we are massive fans of this psychological horror game. It is, without question, one of the best cyberpunk video games of all time, and certainly one of the best psychological horror games of the past few years. We enjoyed this game immensely at Blog of Games, and this Observer video game review awards the title an impressive 8.5/10.
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