Bloober Team debuted in the psychological horror genre in 2016 with Layers of Fear, which was the true gateway for Bloober in a genre in which they feel tremendously comfortable and of which they have made their main hallmark.
Layers of Fear were followed by other titles. Layers of Fear 2, Blair Witch, the imminent The Medium, as well as the game that concerns us today, The Observer. In 2017, the Polish studio decided to leave the more classic setting behind to make way for a cyberpunk setting set in dystopian Poland in the distant 2084.
At first, Observer System Redux will surprise us with its dark setting. With a marked influence of cyberpunk from the 80s, the game places us in a dystopian Krakow that has witnessed two of the greatest plagues in our modern history. First, nanophagy, a disease derived from the alteration and digitization of the bodies and minds of human beings. Implants, chips, prostheses, modifications that corrupted their users to the point of ending them. And second, the great annihilation, a devastating war that pitted the countries of the East against those of the West, plundering Polish citizens at the very front of the war. All this takes us to the first moment of the game, our car.
Sitting comfortably in our vehicle, we play Daniel Lazarski, an Observer. Yes, Bloober Team has never gone into hiding and this way of starting the play is a clear tribute to Ridley Scott’s original work, Blade Runner. In the same way, our character is represented neither more nor less than by Rutger Hauer who in the original film would represent the replicant Roy Batty. These first bars already give us an idea of what we are going to find. A work in the first person, full of darkness, rain, neon, decadence and electronics. As we have mentioned, we are an Observer, part of the order corps and that we have reached a suburban area after the pertinent warning. From this point on we will unravel an intricate plot of murders and gruesome situations.
Because in Observer the setting is practically the total of its proposal. We will not cover large areas, but we will go through each of the nooks and crannies of the apartment block where the events will take place, no more is needed. As a good first-person graphic adventure, Observer is a quiet work that has to be savored as it deserves and the game invites us to do so in different ways.
The first through its scenes full of details. Do not be surprised if you are enraptured by contemplating a postcard image or a magnificent setting, Observer’s photography shines at a very high level and is one of the marks of the Polish team. The second is your crime scenes. In them we can focus on unraveling the events lived in that apartment or in that room to continue with our case. And for this, as a good cyberpunk work, Bloober Team has been inventive and we will have some very interesting resources at our fingertips. Our electromagnetic vision will allow us to tailor our vision to track any relevant electronic device that we find in the crime zone. This includes everything from external electronic devices to prosthetics or even nano brain implants.
The other vision that we will have available is the so-called Bio vision that, as its name suggests, will trace biological signs such as blood, hair or any relevant element. The combination of these will be essential to find the clues that will allow us to advance throughout this first-person graphic adventure. In addition to our special visions, the most classic exploration is added. We can go through the scenery looking for elements of all kinds with which to interact. Be careful since the sampling system for these is not optimal. In many cases it is necessary to be at a certain distance from the object with which we want to interact in order for it to show us the option. It is not something dramatic, but it has forced us to be in “tracker” mode in more than one moment so as not to ignore any detail.
Finally, the third element and in our opinion the most interesting, are the immersions that we do in the memories of third parties. As a good Observer, one of our main virtues will be to hack into these memories and delve into the memories and fears of the subject we are hacking.
Dark corridors, sudden movements, shadows, noises and spooky scenes will keep us glued to Observer for the approximately 10-12 hours of the game. These moments in which we cross these memories, anything will be possible so open your minds well because we will be out of any control of reality, simply let yourself go.
With all this, we are facing a devastating and extremely powerful cocktail for those who adore the cyberpunk aesthetic trinomial, psychological terror and graphic adventure. Regarding this last point, it should be mentioned that Bloober Team has incorporated in this System Redux version new secondary missions to expand the story somewhat. Very correct missions that look at a great level and that allow us to see that maturity that the studio is taking and that we hope to see in its maximum power in the imminent The Medium.
But let’s talk about power. This System Redux version is characterized, apart from its additional content that we have discussed, by a total face lift in its graphic section. On PS5, the title features ray tracing at 1080p with a frame rate below 30 frames at many times. Indeed, if we do not want to push our new consoles to the limit, we will always have a very decisive 1080 60fps mode. As in its original version, the soundtrack has been composed by the composer Arkadiusz Reikowski. A soundtrack that helps our immersion in the plot and in the skin of Daniel Lazarski while we go through each and every one of the nooks and crannies of this enigmatic and decadent building.
Ultimately, Observer System Redux is a more than excellent gateway to the new generation, but not only for its spectacular graphics but also for its original story, its masterful setting and its exploration of new forms for the psychological horror genre.