Observer: System Redux steps into the next generation with graphical, performance, and gameplay enhancements from its previous iteration. Our biggest drawback to the experience? Ray Tracing. Find out why in our review.
+Graphical and performance-based enhnacements stand out instantly
+Sound effects with 3D audio pop extremely well
+Rutger Hauer provides a performance that brings Observer to life
+Load times are drastically reduced on PlayStation 5
+Full use of adaptive triggers adds to the sense of immersion
-Ray Tracing absolutely bogs down console performance
Observer: System Redux is what you would consider as a remaster due to how many improvements have been made since the release of its 2017 version. Many improvements come in both the audiovisual side of things where Observer: System Redux shines over its predecessor in every area mentioned.
A few gameplay enhancements have been made which include controller-based feedbacks as well as streamlining the overall experience. The most impressive worth talking about, however, isn’t actually the latter, but the prior. Especially since games such as Observer: System Redux, depend on their atmospheric designs in both audio and visual elements.
Observer: System Redux stands out thanks to its technical upgrades
Much like its new coat of paint to bring the atmosphere alive, Observer: System Redux also sees some major upgrades on the technical side, which sees framerates improved upon, rather heavily, as well as massively reduced load times.
In our testing, load times were shorter than 20 seconds, bringing it almost a full minute ahead of its PlayStation 4 predecessor. Another area that has received massive upgrades is how the game itself actually sounds. You’ll find that thanks to the PlayStation 5’s native support of 3D audio, Observer: System Redux is as immersive as ever before.
One area, where technical improvements do not show as an improvement, is the use of Ray Tracing. Unfortunately, this is the only part of Observer: System Redux that we didn’t find an improvement in. Rather, we found it to actually kill the game’s overall performance due to the overall lighting and shadowing aspect of the game.
RTX on hurts performance, but provides an absolutely stunning bit of eye candy
While having RTX enabled, you will find that Observer: System Redux is an absolutely beautiful visual treat. Reflections, including rain and neon lights, really pop, driving the overall experience home. The real-time reflections, however, are numerous and at times, downright dizzying.
It’s at least an experience worth having, but currently, Bloober Team does have to improve the Ray Tracing aspect of the game. We didn’t see the framerate drops in Fortnite and the critically-acclaimed title Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Both shine leagues ahead of Observer: System Redux in the Ray Tracing department.
With Ray Tracing disabled, the enhancements are still noteworthy across the board. Visuals themselves are leagues ahead of the previous release, allowing the environments to pop thanks to the 4K visuals and HDR capability. The differences between the two are night and day thanks to the graphical capabilities of the PlayStation 5.
DualSense’s Adaptive Trigger’s really make the difference
Now, if you haven’t spent a lot of time with games that use the Adaptive Triggers on PlayStation 5, you may or may not know just what to expect. That’s fine because Observer: System Redux takes advantage of this feature almost completely.
Gripping door handles actually feels as realistic as you would hope as the trigger tightens up, making it so you have some sense of actually holding the handle through the use of the trigger. Let alone do the handles have weight to them through the use of the adaptive triggers, you will also find that everything else within the world does as well, to an extent.
Now, one of the other improvements is the vibration of the controller. Unlike DualShock 4 or its predecessors, or even an Xbox Series X wireless controller, you’ll find that the haptic feedback changes the experience. You’ll feel that each impact, each soundwave, when utilizing the haptic feedback, is beyond realistic and well delivered, making it feel as if you were actually in the game.
With the visual and audio upgrades comes an expanded experience
Now, as you already know, the experience has been expanded upon, giving a chance for players to go one step further as Daniel Lazarski, an Observer, who is an elite investigatory with the ability to hack into the minds of suspects in order to solve the case in which he is investigating.
Now, for the plot, there are two major plot points that are worth noting: the Nanophage and the War. Both of which led to the industrialization of human augmentation with robotics, making it so that humans would become cybernetically enhanced.
The Nanophage is where a new deadly disease had cropped up, which lead to a software-based illness that causes those who have been cybernetically-enhanced, to become dangerous, but also, progressively weaker. They, however, could also make those around them sick due to their nanomachines infecting those around them.
The Great Decimation, often referred to as The War, is another backdrop, which took place from 2052 until 2059, which saw nuclear bombs dropped, rendering much of earth’s natural resources useless due to radiation and or extinction of those resources.
As governments collapsed, corporations took over as controllers, leading to them bringing in their reign with unlimited power. To enforce their laws, they released their own police units, The Observers. These law enforcement units have the power handed to them by the corporations.
Daniel is sent out to investigate his missing son’s disappearance, and a mysterious string of murders he could be linked to moving forward. This is actually where gameplay itself has also been improved due to the investigations having been previously drawn out just for the sake of longevity.
Some gameplay mechanics have been streamlined for better enjoyment
Now, the area that was deeply improved upon, for those that played the original, is the neural interrogations. Unlike before, these moments don’t last near as long as they did previously. They’ve been streamlined, allowing for these investigative and stealth-driven moments to feel a bit more straight to the point.
Stealth, as noted, has also been vastly improved upon. Instead of having to restart entire segments, as you did previously, Observer: System Redux, doesn’t do that. It gives players room for mistakes, giving them a chance to get in and out of sticky situations without dying.
And trust me when I say this: You will die. Even as someone who loves these kinds of games, I struggled in the previous release, but not near as much in this release as it seemed that the enemy constantly hunting us during interrogations seems to allow for some margin of error and gives players a chance to hide if they can break its line of sight.
It’s a nice change and it allows for Bloober Team to truly deliver a psychological horror-story experience worth playing.
When releasing a next-gen variant of a game, it’s always worth taking notes on the areas to improve upon. This can include adding new features such as improved framerates, upgrading visual fidelity, improving upon the gameplay loop, and even adding all-new features to the experience.
Observer: System Redux
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X
Platform Reviewed: PlayStation 5
Developer: Bloober Team
Publisher: Bloober Team
Release Date: Available Now
Bloober Team has excelled at doing so, giving us one of the best horror-driven experiences to date with Observer: System Redux. It’s an exemplary showcasing of what next-gen remasters should look like.
Our review is based upon a retail version of the game provided to us by the publisher for the review. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native video game reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook today.