With the launch of the new console generation, the Bloomer Team offered the first product to the horror game gods. The Medium promises a spooky trek to the reality of twins, but it’s not the company’s first next-generation game. Instead, that honor is given to the observer, one of the developers’ previous releases.
Observer: System Redux is a remaster of the original game released in 2017, a slightly enhanced version, boasting graphic overhauls, improved gameplay sequences, and some new content. The Bloober Team has changed a few things, but the actual experience is still punchy.
You are Daniel Lazarski, played by the late Rutger Hauer, an observer of the KPD. Daniel has extensions such as bio-scanners, high-tech scanners, night-vision devices, and so-called dream eaters. With this last instrument, you can connect to other people’s neural networks and experience their memories. This is especially useful when scrutinizing an apartment block for clues about Daniel’s missing son. Unfortunately, these apartments hold more than a fair share of disturbing and frightening situations. These enhancements also do not always work smoothly, as you need to take pills to reduce the strain on them and Daniel’s mental abilities.
Observer: System Redux is the title of the expedition and the story of the detective. Immediately after the blockade occurs, I get stuck in the apartment building. This happens in this world when there is a nanophage virus threat. So you start looking for Daniel’s son to work, but you never actually meet anyone other than the caretaker Janus. Instead, the way to interact with the majority of the building’s inhabitants is through the intercom. By talking to these people, you will learn about the desperate situation of buildings and inhabitants and give you clues as to how the future of this dystopia in 2084 will work.
Some apartments are open, but packed with clues to the main case or some side cases. Observer System Redux has three new side cases, so even those who played the original will find a reason to come back.
Things begin to enter into a state of psychological horror and thriller while exploring and using Dream Eater and jacking people’s neural connections. Wandering around these memories is not a nostalgic journey. Instead, you can relive someone’s horrifying moments and twisted abstract concepts. TVs that float like balloons and laugh like children, forests with trees made of cables, offices and corridors patroled by big daddy-type characters that look cybernetic, they are part of the tame memory. ..
All of these sequences have some interactive elements, but the key point is to use environmental cues to find ways to navigate the maze of memories. Much of the tension comes from not knowing what to expect next. At one moment you may be wandering in the hallway, and at the next moment you are listening while things are moving around you quickly. As the effects of reading the memory of others strike Daniel, we reach a point where it becomes difficult to ascertain what is true and what is not.
The observer system Redux looks great on the Xbox Series X. The devastated cyberpunk environment and memory sequences of the apartment blocks all shine in their own way and the details are rendered very well. The voice actors, especially Rutger Hauer’s, are very good, but the soundwork is also well communicated and the noise keeps you on the edge. The characters feel that something is wrong and that they are tired of what happened to their lives.
The game is not without some problems. In some areas, the interaction with the object was not particularly smooth, and there were moments when the prompt was only displayed at a certain angle and in some cases not at all. While work was being done to streamline some of the Dream Eater sections, there were moments when it wasn’t clear what to do next and progress was slow.