Bloober Team, the developers that brought you Layers of Fear, is taking the next step for the exploration, defenseless horror that is surrounded by puzzles for your detective mind to decipher in this digitally augmented world! With their latest title >observer_ you will find yourself solving the case of what is happening at an apartment building in the stacks, or the ghetto as we know it today.
The year is 2084. The world is in ruins after a war between the East and the West known as The Great Decimation. This war killed a major part of the population and brought the corporation Chiron to power.
You play as Observer Dan Lazarski, a gruff modern man who got a strange call from his son, after 15 years without communicating with him, and found himself tracing the call and rushing to his sons aid. Finding that his son lives in the stacks was a surprise, but what lied within the building was a case unlike any he could of expected!
Starting with the headless corpse he found in his sons apartment, which he convinced himself wasn't proof his son was dead, he will be traveling through the various floors and rooms all over the building, talking to tenants and the owner for clues and answers, and tapping in to the memories of the victims of an unknown assailant.
Thanks to the lock down that kicked in moments after entering the building, nobody can enter nor leave so you have time to get down to the truth of what's going on. But do you think you will be about to handle what is lurking behind these attacks?
The game follows the feel of being a detective by having you search and scan for clues, following leads, and interrogating the people who live within the building.
While a lot of what happens is another intriguing yet often disturbing experience that you will witness or push through, it is not entirely safe either! As you further progress, the case will become more dangerous as you dive into the subconscious of dying or dead victims to gain answers to questions only they would have the knowledge to answer.
Showing the side of fear that living in a purely digital world could only express, you will find that you are not so alone nor as in control as you may think. The longer you are within the subconscious, virtual dive for answers through memories, you will find that there are creatures that lurk within there that can be just as viciously fatal as anything in the real world!
There is also a mini game that can be played every time you find another computer that has the program. It doesn't seem to play a big role in the game, but it is an entertaining break away from the grueling detective work.
Check out my first dive into a victims subconscious in my gameplay video:
Visually the game is amazing! Everything had a realistic look to it and the environment matched what you would think of a post-war setting that killed most of humanity would look like. The subtle notes, from having blasted walls as hallway or room openings to a crazy apartment layout that really shows the people are working with what they got, adds a lot to give the environment it's eerie cyberpunk accuracy too. It also maintains the futuristic look thanks to the augmented reality layout that engulfs your surroundings. The augmentation also plays a big role in how you search and scan clues.
Most of the time the sounds are based on the environment, leaving you in silence unless you hear tenants talking, a radio playing, creatures crawling or growling, or the smaller things like birds flying or the rain falling. There are occasional music moments played for things like finding someone dead or a dramatic part of the story is happening. It is a good choice to go with this as it keeps the focus on getting the answers and finding clues to further your progress on the case without distracting you from the current task.
What Could Be Better
I would of liked to have more moments around the creatures as to bring more of the defenseless horror to focus rather than it being mostly the experience horror moments.
This game is an actually scary experience that will keep you in your toes! With an intriguing story and constantly evolving case to unravel, the experience of the game shows just how horrifying an augmented future could be and make you want to second guess a digital world!
"It's like trying to find a serial killer while maintaining your grip on reality."