Observer: System Redux is a great remake that fixes a number of technical and gameplay issues and brings an array of welcome graphical improvements.
Observer: System Redux is a remake that grows even more important because it’s one of the first to be available on and designed for next-gen consoles. Bloober Team and Aspyr decided to rework the psychological horror of Observer to take advantage of the new technology and extra power available in PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. That means HDR lighting, support for 4K resolution, improved character animations, and ray tracing take center stage.
Like most other games of this type, Observer: System Redux is a sort of cross between a point-and-click adventure game and a walking simulator. Very little has changed in that respect when it comes to the remake. Players still have to examine the environment for clues, switching between Electromagnetic Vision and Bio Vision to discover electronic devices and biological evidence. Just like in the original, players also have to hack into the minds of suspects and witnesses.
The biggest change to Observer: System Redux gameplay comes with its stealth sections. These were easily one of the most frustrating and disappointing aspects of the original Observer, as it was very easy to get an instant game over when being hunted by the sinister creature haunting the main character’s nightmares. Now there appears to be more leeway in terms of getting everything right, and perfection is no longer demanded from the player. That means that the player won’t be punished immediately and forced to start over, especially with the new lighting that takes away some of the hiding spaces for the monster.
This is not the only improvement made to the player’s quality-of-life in Observer: System Redux. Hacking into systems now requires less knowledge of the in-game world and is more based on a mini-game. This involves seeing which letters and numbers don’t change on a screen of switching characters, which feels like it fits better with the rest of the action. There are also some noticeable changes to things like neural interrogations, making them shorter and less intrusive. These modifications let players focus on the story and stay immersed in the world more rather than getting distracted with sometimes tedious gameplay.
The story of Observer: System Redux has also not changed with the remake. Players still take control of detective Daniel Lazarski, played by the late Rutger Hauer, as he attempts to locate his estranged son in a dystopian cyberpunk world. Set in the year 2084, there has been a digital plague known as the nanophage that wiped out thousands of lives and led to rampant body augmentation. Lazarski is an Observer tasked with policing citizens via hacking directly into their minds.
This remake of the 2017 game also includes three completely new side quests. All of them fit seamlessly into the story rather than simply being bolted on at the end. While they are not groundbreaking, the extra missions provide some great insight into the in-game world. They also provide some incentive for players to revisit Observer: System Redux if they have already played the original.
Perhaps the most obvious improvements in Observer: System Redux are those made to its graphics. Characters now look far more realistic than ever before thanks to fresh models, enhancing the film noir atmosphere. Meanwhile, higher quality environmental textures and animations help to make the world more compelling visually. The ray tracing effects are particularly impressive, giving every surface an authentic reflection, and the fresh lighting system helps add extra contrast to locations. Ultimately, the visuals make this an even better looking game that begs to be explored.
As a remake, Observer: System Redux not only ticks all the right boxes in terms of gameplay improvements but it also showcases what next-gen consoles are capable of for pre-existing titles. Gone are the long loading screens and texture pop-ins of the past. In their place come significantly improved graphics and silky smooth animations, alongside load times that truly make a bigger difference than they seem at first glance. Combined with the quality-of-life enhancements, this remake is certainly worth playing even for those who have already experienced the original title. For those new to the series, though, this is the perfect time to jump in and enjoy Observer: System Redux.
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Observer: System Redux is available now for PC, Xbox Series X/S, and PlayStation 5. Screen Rant was provided with a digital code for the Xbox Series X version of the game for the purposes of this review.
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