Observer remains the best game Bloober Team has put out. The setting was both beautiful and horrific, the gameplay was immersive and intense, and the voice acting from the late Rutger Hauer added to the fear and sorrow present throughout the game. Now, with the almighty power of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Seres X|S, Observer System Redux takes what made the original great and improves upon many of the issues it had. If you’re looking for a gripping story with some solid gameplay and exquisite visuals, you’re in for a treat.
The story remains the same in Observer System Redux. You play as a cop called Dan Lazarski who receives a call from his son to head to his apartment. Once there, you find a body that could be him, but it’s hard to tell due to the bloody state of the corpse. The cyberpunk aesthetic looks incredible, more so thanks to the improved resolution and lighting the the next-gen provides. The dank apartments are filled with superb detail. Neo-futuristic settings are improved thanks to the light that trickles through the windows and the flickering of light bulbs, and the Chiron Corporation’s big brother-style messaging fills the world with tremendous detail.
Remaking Observer for next-gen consoles makes sense. The dystopian backdrop of a world affected by a digital plague always offers a claustrophobic reality. There’s nothing quite like it on the new consoles at the moment, and I hope it doesn’t get overshadowed by the likes of Miles Morales or Demon Souls. It’s a psychological nightmare that has been streamlined to focus on the story, which is something I wanted after being annoyed by all-too often chase scenes seen in the original.
Cybernetics consume the population in Krakow, and now the character models reflect these changes to the human condition with more prominence. Characters are designed with more nuance, and movement is less robotic. The voice acting was always a strong point, and now the models reflect the realism of the dialogue. Even using Lazarski’s Electromagnetic and Bio Vision looks better, highlighting clues with more definition. It could be awkward trying to find evidence in the original, but both these systems work a lot better now.
It runs so smoothly, erasing all the issues I had when it came out in 2017. Observer System Redux is essentially a “walking simulator”, and whilst the technical improvements are noticed instantly, the game itself has been upgraded. A lot of the mini-games presented are easier to solve, with hacking focusing less on clues you might have missed and more what is right in front of you. Stealth sections are also much better thanks to the quality of the visuals but also because it gives you better guidance. These improvements allow you to enjoy just how good it looks and the excellent story that’s present.
It’s hard to note every improvement, but by simply playing through Observer System Redux and not notice any issues with the gameplay or visuals is a testament to exactly how Bloober Team has improved upon almost everything. There were tedious sections, especially the nightmares that plagued Lazarski, but thankfully they’ve disappeared. The constrictive and haunting environment shouldn’t be applauded for looking so fantastic because of how grimy and grim everything is, but I can’t help but be amazed by how damn sexy it is. There are even new side missions to flesh out the story and the game as a whole, letting you delve deeper into what makes it so immersive, although I wished there was even more because I love it so much.
Observer System Redux is a gritty narrative that takes place in the dark recesses of a collapsing society. The story is engaging, the improvements to the gameplay, and the exceptional visuals make this remake well worth playing if you missed out on it back in 2017. Thanks to Bloober Team’s changes to everything from the frustrating stealth elements to the improved lighting, I’m glad I got to play the perfect version of one of the finest games from a genre gone stale.
Detailed environments that look incredible
Great improvements to stealth sections
Rutger Hauer is a superb lead
Not a lot of new content