Observer: System Redux Review

Observer was first released on the Xbox One just roughly shy of four years ago. At that time, whilst the game was okay, it didn’t blow many people away, mainly because it was slow-paced and with somewhat lower res graphics compared to the PC version. Plenty of remasters are doing the rounds at the moment, specifically for the next generation of consoles. So, here we have it, yet another remaster hoping to be catapulted to stardom.

Observer: System Redux Review

Observer: System Redux is a game full of immersion, from the (now) spectacular lighting effects, ray tracing and amazing sound, you really feel that you are playing within a living cyberpunk city of the future. The main character, Daniel Lazarski (Rutger Hauer), is a detective who loses himself within the minds of others as the Observer. I’m not going to go into the story too much as, one, I don’t want to drop any spoilers, and two, as this game has been out for almost four years, most gamers will know what it’s about. Instead, I want to concentrate more on the enhancements with the Redux version for Xbox Series X.
The original game had a number of stealth sections, which many complained about as they weren’t done that well, and you gained very little from exploring the world. This has now changed, and as the Redux version has been re-written and developed with the new generation of consoles in mind, there is now more of a mixture of gameplay, making everything more atmospheric than the original. Everything runs very smoothly too, which certainly helps with gameplay and immersion, which the original lacked a great deal. From the get-go, Observer now looks fantastic compared to the original. With the addition of ray-tracing, 4K textures, HDR lighting, improved character models and animations – they now make Observer stand out compared to some other games of this genre. The immersion of the game world shines through the neon lights in city and the people you interact with, it all really looks great. As immersive as the game is, it’s also eerie at times, and it will definitely keep you on your toes.
Observer: System Redux Xbox
The game is a narrative-driven adventure, meaning you will not be going in all guns blazing, which some may be disappointed with. This is not Cyberpunk 2077, and the pace can be very slow and thought provoking. This won’t be to everyone’s taste, unfortunately, which is a shame as there really is a decent story going on behind all the special effects. For anyone into puzzles and exploration, they will get a lot of enjoyment from Observer. I was surprised to find that the majority of the game is played within a large apartment complex. At first I thought I would find the game boring, and I worried that there would be little variation. However, as part of the game, your character must take drugs, which help control his anxiety, breathing and thinking, especially when he comes across some of the horrifying crime scenes. The drugs will cause you to hallucinate and see things differently within the world. This does put a slightly different perspective and slant onto the apartment complex that you are stuck in.
Observer: System Redux

As I mentioned earlier, this game is very slow-paced, and not everyone will appreciate what the game is bringing to the table. I know at times I became quite frustrated while walking around with little to no clue as to what I was supposed to be doing. If you are not into this type of gameplay, I would not recommend it, unfortunately. However, if you are into games that make you jump and play with your mind, such as Layers of Fear, then you should be quite at home with the Observer.
I also found investigating crime scenes a little  laborious, with pretty everything I was doing consisting of some form of trial and error. You have two different filters that you apply on a crime scene: one for biological matter, the other for technology. I really felt unsure most of the time which filter I was supposed to be using, so I just kept flicking between the two in the hopes that I would see something. This does make investigating crime scenes tricky and at times boring.

Observer: System Redux Xbox Review
Personally, I did feel a little underwhelmed by the whole experience. The visuals are great and look much better on the Series X. The sound was great too, although I did find the main character’s voice to be slightly wooden with little emotion. However, anyone who likes Rutger Hauer will love listening to his dialogue. Observer: System Redux isn’t a bad game in its own right, but I think it’s aimed at a narrow market of gamers, and if it wasn’t for the upgraded visuals, there really isn’t a great deal to return to on the Series X.

Developer: Bloober Team, Anshar Studios

Publisher: Bloober Team, Aspyr, Koch Media

Platforms:PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC

Release Date: 16 July 2021

Gaming Respawn’s copy of Observer: System Redux was provided by the publisher.

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