Reviewed on Nintendo Switch
Developed By: Bloober Team
Published By: Aspyr
Available Now on Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, and Xbox One
Oberserver has just released on the Nintendo Switch and it’s a new detective thriller game with a cyberpunk setting. Specifically taking place in Krakow, Poland in the year 2084 and once you begin the game you will notice the aesthetics to be very similar to films such as Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell. I really didn’t know much about the game before I started it so I was very excited to see what this game would offer in this world as I am personally a fan of the cyberpunk settings. You control a detective named Daniel Lazarski who is also called an Observer. They are people who are able to “jack” into people’s minds dead or alive so that they are able to find any information regarding the case they’re working on. After receiving a message from your son, your case begins with visiting an apartment complex only to discover a murder has occurred while looking for your son. The case from here begins to spin out into something larger for Daniel as he is now trying to figure out who the killer is, where the killer is, and most of all, find his son and hope that he is alive and safe. One of the interesting things that happens when you connect into another person’s mind, you go through a bit of their life and this lets you get to know the person much better but as you’re going through their life events. The screen will begin to get very jumpy as scenes will cut, flash lots of lights, look hazy, and make you feel a bit lost at times in a sense of what your surroundings are.
Controlling Daniel is simple as you are just able to walk, run, crouch, and interact with objects like doors and the such. You’ll also be able to scan electronic devices as well as organic material from body parts to people’s blood. These are needed to be done to progress as you put together the clues to figure out what has happened in certain scenarios. There are also times when you need to solve puzzles and finding the “keys” to complete the puzzles are never too easy but won’t drive you insane to find the answers. I did find that using the analog stick while holding down the right trigger to do things such as pull a lever or open a door to be a bit much since the same stick moves the camera and would cause me to shift the camera further away than I want. I think this may be due to the design initially being revolved around a keyboard and mouse configuration so I would have rather liked to have these types of interactions to be completed with just pressing a button. The use of the rumble feature was nice when I noticed it as it would help you in certain spots to avoid being detected by certain enemies which there are not a lot of here. Very few things will cause you death to restart the game at your last check point due to the lack of real enemies.
The main hook I found to be in this game is its narrative with the wonderful voice cast that really draws you in, even if you at times may feel lost with the story. If you’re also someone that has never been fond of the first-person horror indie genre, there isn’t much here for you to change your mind outside of the narrative. For as much as I enjoyed the story and certain mechanics of the game, controls just felt clunky at times when interacting with objects. The pacing for the story is well kept as you never stay too long in any spot of the game. Fans of cyberpunk will be pleased initially starting the game but when diving into minds, that may cause players not wanting to continue the game as that focuses more on the psychological thrilling factor over indulging in a cyber-punk world.