Observer: System Redux (PlayStation 5) Review

By Luke Hemming 08.03.2021 2

Review for Observer: System Redux  on PlayStation 5

Still hungry for some more gritty sci-fi after Cyberpunk 2077? Looking for that cybernetic shock to the system to tide you over? If answering "affirmative" to all of the above, Observer: System Redux might just hit all the right notes, providing an experience well worth getting lost in. Get lost you will, however, with similar yet beautiful backdrops, and unclear progression beats.

Re-released for next generation consoles after being somewhat of a cult sleeper hit on PC, Observer: System Redux takes the bold move of casting the late Rutger Hauer in a world of Bio-mechanical enhancements and mutilation, set against a future dystopian backdrop. Something Mr Hauer would have no previous experience in surely? Playing Detective Daniel Lazarski, Agent with the KPD, an organisation focusing on crime solving by entering the minds of the cities inhabitants, Lazarski is sent to a decrepit apartment complex on the trail of murder most foul. Fitted with various augmentation devices himself, Daniel can scan for clues, access various tech points, and analyse any items that could be relevant. All of these however cause a deal of emotional and physical distress, mainly the Dream Eater software allowing for recreations of the events that took place previously in a warped dreamscape.

Screenshot for Observer: System Redux  on PlayStation 5

Initial impressions are impressive with the apartment block where the story begins looking fantastically atmospheric. A good thing too, as the majority of the adventure is spent here investigating the possible murder of your son and expanding into a network of connected threads and various other caseloads. It is clear that developer Bloober Team was aware that players could find one locale becoming frustrating and monotonous in the early stages. To counter this, it has made sure that every part of the scenery perfectly fits the proposed time period, and forms a truly engaging, atmospheric experience. Damp clogs the corners overhanging hologrammatic advertisements, while electricity buzzes through the out-of-date hardware, keeping the apartment block running at minimal capacity.

On the PS5 the visuals really shine due to the buzz word of the year: ray-tracing - the majority of the scene setting being achieved through effective lighting and reflections. Character models are however lacking as throughout the four to five hours of playing there is very little interaction with other three-dimensional characters due to the lockdown of the block early on, Janus the Caretaker being the exception. A relic of a war that has left his brain fried and ripe for augmentation, Janus provides cryptic clues and hints to guide Daniel to his next point of interest.

Screenshot for Observer: System Redux  on PlayStation 5

A massive credit however must be given to the amount of world-building that is created through interactions with the tenants hiding behind the many locked doors throughout the corridors. Interrogating them through an intercom system usually provides not only clues towards the case at hand, but a fascinating glimpse into how the world came to be. Rooms spill out with information of the Nanophage virus and its effect on the community, as well as some more personal stories ranging from the anxiety of the lockdown imposed being a government cover up, to tales of domestic abuse. When the occasional door is found to be unlocked, quickly Observer: System Redux can lead the player into a number of side cases, and the PS5 version holds three more cases that were not found in the original version.

Screenshot for Observer: System Redux  on PlayStation 5

Ironically, probably the biggest issue to be found is the Dream Eater system, which is used to hack the neural networks of various bystanders and witnesses. What was first a thoroughly engaging exploration of the dangers of Cyber reliance, and the addiction to self-improvement, quickly becomes one of the dime-a-dozen jump scare psychological horrors that any streamer would jump at the chance to showcase. Make no mistake, this is handled extremely well with events becoming twisted, abstract versions of original events. These are further enhanced by Agent Lazarski's deteriorating health issues. It's not a criticism really, more of a personal preference that this title could have held its own as a noir detective thriller without the standard "oh I'm in a forest, OF THE MIND" ideas.

The main issue however does come from the occasional feeling of being completely lost. At first this was put down to ignorance and missing the obvious, however more than once after checking an area over and over, a vital item or piece of information would simply pop into view. Prompts occasionally will only appear when perfectly face on with an object, or after a few switches between the various scanning options are available. Hopefully this will be patched in a later update, as it seems like a minimal, easy fix but it does affect gameplay to an intrusive degree.

Screenshot for Observer: System Redux  on PlayStation 5

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Overall, Observer: System Redux is a great pickup for those looking to see just exactly how well their shiny new consoles can perform, as well as having an interesting experience to boot (you know, like a computer). Environments are beautiful in a truly depressing, atmospheric manner, and lead Rutger Hauer really makes the effort to portray a downtrodden detective tired of the new cybernetic world order. This is a clear pick up for fans of psychological horror drama, looking for a few jump scares and… uncomfortable-ness over a few hours. For the rest, however, it's an interesting experiment that perhaps could benefitted from less of the shocks and more of the Detective chops.

Developer

Bloober Team SA

Publisher

Bloober Team SA

Genre

Horror

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

oh man that headline lol

Insanoflex said:
oh man that headline lol

Some of my better work that!

Lukezeppo

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