Krakow, 2084: Detective Daniel Lazarski is in crisis, but it often happens when he forgets to take his dose of Synchrozine. It is a drug that allows people like him to control synchronization with neural devices; after all Daniel is an Observer ,
an agent with the ability to connect to the mind of others to extract the information necessary for the purpose of their investigations.After an update from the police station on the latest episodes of uncontrolled violence, typical of a
society in which the inequalities are too strong to be tolerated, the man receives a mysterious call from his son Adam, who had not felt for years. He tells him that he got into trouble and needs help, but it’s all very strange: the call comes from a squalid building in the suburbs of the city, and that will be our first stop.
I SAW THINGS …
The Observer mechanisms are very similar to those of Layers of Fear , the previous Blooper Team title, and even structurally the two games have different points in common. The bionic eyes of Daniel Lazarski, however, allow you to experiment new
situations, interacting with the scenarios in a new way: a pressure of the right analog stick on its axis activates the infrared to see in the dark, while the right and left backbows start the improved vision respectively and the biovision : the first one allows to identify electronic devices and eventually to start hacking procedures, while the second tracks biological signs on the crime scenes and analyzes them to provide information on the victims and / or the attackers.
The way in which the investigations are conducted in the game is very reminiscent of the solutions adopted by Rocksteady for Batman: Arkham Knight, but in fact the development team seems to have drawn on several productions for this new project: 1984 by Orwell, mentioned several times, but also the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell.
In his search for his son, Lazarski runs into a trail of corpses and clearly wants to understand who killed these people and why.So it uses its special ability, it connects to the minds of the victims (who are still alive or already deceased, although this eventuality is expressly prohibited by police procedures) and there it faces more or less troubled and obscure paths depending on the case.
These “oneiric” journeys are almost always in the name of a peculiar imagination, the more disturbed the closer you get to the author of the murders. It happens at this juncture of having to solve riddles or simply having to complete a journey that culminates with a revelation: a place to be reached, the face of a loved one, a numerical code or other. It will be up to us to incorporate this information and exploit it to proceed in the adventure.
The voice of Daniel Lazarski is that of Rutger Hauer, and this choice by Blooper Team alone is enough to create a good 70% of the atmosphere of Observer, where the remaining 30% is due to a sound design designed specifically to always keep the tension high. In reality, however, we rarely feel in danger: when the protagonist of the game connects to the neural chip of the victims, we are well aware that what will happen from then on will be something
different from reality, although some sequences they see us avoiding a mysterious biomechanical monster looking for a way out, returning a game over where they get caught. The same need to inject a dose of Synchrozine from time to time does not make things particularly complex, because the vials of the drug are found with enough abundance around the locations.
This approach makes the experience closer to that of an interactive story, if we want, even if there are occasions when we are asked to touch the settings, activate switches, talk with possible witnesses and even give us a break while someone he chases us.
In comparison to Layers of Fear, in short, the authors have enriched the puzzle component and extended the campaign in general, which we completed within six hours but that should be replayed from the beginning to access both the possible endings and discover secret areas. The feeling is that however some “dreams” are pulled a bit ‘for long,
ending up losing the initial charm and revealing the obvious limitations of the project budget. From a technical point of view, Observer behaves as expected: environments well-made and generally detailed, with very interesting peaks, but very few characters, ugly and with mediocre animations. So, let’s forget the impossibility of running the game on the real 4K test configuration, with all the adjustments at maximum, without running into heavy frame rate drops.