Observer is a first person sci-fi horror game set in the dystopian future. Giving off a very Blade Runner vibe, it already promises to be a visually stunning piece. From the developers behind Layers of Fear, no-one had any doubts about how the game would look. And so far it has delivered. But, the question is, what else does this game have on offer? Is it just a beautiful hollow experience? Or does it have depth and interesting gameplay? Being such a new game I knew I wouldn’t be able to do a full review but I wanted to give my first thoughts on it so far. This is subject to change pending further game play but for now, here are my thoughts on Observer
Blade Runner Meets Deus Ex
We all know by now that the future is going to be saturated with technology and robots and everything will be automated. So, it was no surprise that this dystopian future mixed all the aesthetics of Blade Runner with the augmented populous as in Deus Ex. Of course, it does seem to have a lot of the sci-fi tropes you expect from the genre; from the high rise building advertisements to the evil corporation that owns everything. Suffice to say its a genre that has been done a lot but as a lover of said genre, I’m not really complaining. As a little added bonus, the guy who voices the main character, Daniel Lazarski, is none other than Rutger Hauer himself. Seeing as this game definitely pays homage to Blade Runner, having one of the original actors is a juicy bonus.
Gameplay – First Thoughts
The gameplay in this is all about detecting. Which makes sense seeing as you are playing as a detective. That being said, the way in which you detect is rather cool. You use your various augments to find clues around the crime scene. You can then analyse them to determine where you need to look next. I particularly like this feature since it makes it feel even more sci-fi. However, the other aspect of the gameplay involves walking through people’s minds. Literally. You plug yourself in and take a stroll through their memories.
It’s quite an awe inspiring sequence to the game but it very quickly becomes weird as hell. Taking from the style of Layers of Fear and multiplying the ‘WTF’ factor by about 50. Overall, it is quite a pleasing game to play so far. We will have to wait and see how repetitive it becomes later on in the game.
The Story So Far
At the beginning of the game we understand that the world is currently being run by some big name corporation. Pretty typical of the dystopian genre. We also realise that this corporation is bad. Really bad. But, as the protagonist, you are a part of this organisation. When you are contacted by your estranged son, you start to understand there is more here than meets the eye. You must find your son and figure out what is going on before it is too late. Okay, so this story isn’t anything new or special. But, if it is done well, I think Observer could really take this to the next level.
I am biased because of how much I love the sci-fi genre and yes, I may have been distracted by how pretty this game is. But, I have yet to be blown away by the story. That isn’t to say it is bad, it just feels very generic. Perhaps that might change later on in the game. We shall see.
So far, this game is quite impressive and visually has an exceptional style to it. If you love sci-fi and dystopian genres then you are more than likely going to love this game. I am yet to see how well the story pans out but for now, I would definitely say it is worth playing.