While many horror fans are waiting for Bloober Team’s next game The Medium to arrive in January they also just released an updated version of one of their older games. Observer: System Redux is an enhanced version of Observer that the team released back in 2017. This new version makes some visual enhancements for the newly released consoles, touches up on some gameplay elements from the original, and throws in some new content to round it off. If you missed this game the first time around now is the time to correct that mistake.
Observer: System Redux is a first-person cyberpunk thriller that has you playing as an investigator named Daniel Lazarski. The voice actor for Daniel is none other than the late Rutger Hauer who you probably know from Blade Runner among his other works. The year is 2084 and the world has been affected by a virus called the nanophage that has people stuck at home (doesn’t that sound familiar.) Daniel ends up getting a call from his son who seems to be in trouble but the call is cut off before Daniel can get all the details. Upon arriving at his apartment, all you find is a badly disfigured corpse that could or could not be Daniel’s son. This is just the start of the horrific things you’ll see in this game so strap yourself in.
Daniel is known as something called an Observer and as one, he has special tools that allow him to perform investigations even while in his apartment complex. These tools include night vision, bio vision, electromagnetic vision, and the Dream Eater. The entire game takes place inside this apartment complex which ends up feeling like a character itself. You can go around to the other resident’s doors and talk to them through the intercom but you never really run into much of anyone else throughout the game. Talking to these characters though is how you’ll gather your clues and start piecing the mystery of what happened to your son together.
Daniel’s tools allow him to see hidden things in the world like blood, hidden compartments, and more but the Dream Eater is the most interesting. This tool allows him to enter the memories of the dead and find out what happened to them during their last moments. You’ll gather valuable intel by doing this but you’ll witness some horrific things as well. You never know quite what to expect when entering one of these mind puzzles either as the game does a good job of throwing different environments at you full of haunting imagery and creepy sounds. The tale Observer: System Redux tells is quite captivating and I highly recommend you don’t let it pass you by in favor of the other next-generation launch titles.
If you already played this game before you might be wondering what exactly is new that might make you want to play it again. Well, there is a few new side cases that weren’t in the original game for you to solve. A lot of other parts of the game were also improved to make them more enjoyable such as the stealth sections that you encounter and some of the mini-games. I played through the original back in 2017 and I definitely found these improvements in System Redux to make for a less frustrating experience. I reviewed this on the PlayStation 5 and Bloober Team included some Dualsense functionality in this game too. When going to open doors in the game you’ll feel the resistance in the triggers if the door is locked. The game also has some nice haptic feedback that is tied to some of the sounds in the game. None of these are huge game changing features but I did find them to make the game just a bit more immersive which is always appreciative.
Of course, one of the big upgrades Observer gets on the new consoles is to its visuals. The game now runs at 4K resolution and 60fps making for a smoother, more responsive experience. Textures have been touched up, animations improved, character models filled out with more detail, and beautiful HDR lighting and Ray-tracing support added. I really found this to be one of the prettier games on the PlayStation 5 right now even though the world in the game is depressing. The sound design and music are also top notch and really add to the experience. The voice-acting from Rutger Hauer is really good but some of the other characters lines didn’t sound great. Those interested in the trophies will find 24 of them including a Platinum. It’s a pretty easy list but one of the for finding all of the collectibles appears to be bugged right now so hopefully that gets patched.
I’ve played every one of Bloober Team’s games over the past few years and Observer: System Redux is their best one so far in my opinion. The way they tell their story in this game through the gadgets such as the dream eater is quite different from most other games out there. The world is interesting and horrifying and that is made even more true by the graphical enhancements and gameplay improvements that they’ve made in this version. There isn’t a lot of new content for those who already played the original but anyone who has yet to become an Observer shouldn’t pass up the chance.
*Observer: System Redux is available now on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, and PC. Reviewed on PlayStation 5. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.
Observer: System Redux$29.99
- Captivating story and setting
- Visual improvements make the game feel more immersive
- Great performance by Rutger Hauer
- Some gameplay sections have had refinements made to be more enjoyable
- Has some small DualSense additions that add to the experience
- Not a ton of new content here for previous players
- Some of the voice-acting from the other characters isn't great