>Observer_ Review (Psychological Horror)

Observer, if you’ve never heard of this horror game I don’t blame you. Released in 2017 by Bloober Team, Observer is a cyberpunk and psychological horror video game. And, it’s probably the best psychological horror I’ve ever personally played. If you, when looking at the picture right above thought to yourself, “What is going on in that screenshot” then you have no idea what is to come in Observer. The entire game feels like you’re on one big psychological schizophrenia drug trip. And it does it well too. So well in fact that even to this day, I still remember all the crazy scenes, horrifying imagery, and sad atmosphere. The game starts off with you sitting in what looks like a strange modified vehicle. You’re playing the character of Detective Daniel Lazarski who suddenly gets called by what seems like a co-worker to check out a case that’s in a nearby apartment block. The call however becomes interrupted and a new voice comes over the line who the Daniel identifies as his own son. His son asks for help at that same apartment block and Daniel feels like something is terribly wrong because not only does he never ask for help, but his son isn’t known to be up to any good. The call ends with his son and is brought right back to the co-worker who is shocked by the interruption, and tells Daniel to be careful and get there right away. Anything after this point would be a spoiler in a sense, but the most I can say is that this game is very inspired by Blade Runner and will really scare you.

The detective type psychological horror story is full frontal focus for most of the game. Because of this, this game exceeds expectations and does incredibly well in keeping the player engaged in what they’re playing. As you go through the story as Daniel Lazarski you analyze crime scenes, collect clues, talk to tenants in their rundown apartment building, play some small minigames and learn tons of fascinating world building.

Analyzing crime scenes is one of the main features of the game. You can look at dead bodies and determine how they died, what they died from, what they’ve been doing, what they haven’t been doing and the most important part is that you can see the memories of said person. Analyzing the body is important but in most cases it seems that to truly understand what happened to your suspect, you need to take a deeper dive. This is where most of the horror begins. The brains of these deprived and scarred civilians are nightmarish hell worlds where you must traverse through their battered and broken memories, their perspectives on what went wrong in their life and how they’ve ended up dead or permanently hanging onto life. Through these experiences you start to learn that death isn’t something that these people are afraid of, it’s the nightmares that exist in their brains that do.

One of the nicest side-questing type of minigame inside of Observer is, “With Fire and Sword: Spiders.” It’s a minigame you collect episodes/levels for as you progress and explore through the game. The game consists of you as a player moving through progressively more difficult areas as you fight spiders with limited swords and collecting coins. You need to collect all the coins throughout each level and pickup swords which can only be used once until they break. There is a lot of strategy to each level because of the limited resources of swords and the fact that spiders lurk around each corner, if they see you they will follow 1 step behind you being constantly on your tail. It’s a lot of fun and definitely worth playing if you get the time to.

However despite all the good things about this game, there is one aspect that can really take you out of it. Areas that definitely seemed out of place and kind of annoying based off of the pace for the rest of the game were the cat and mouse sequences. To put it bluntly, rummaging inside of memories and exploring this amazing world was put right to rest as soon as a giant enemy you had to sneak around came up to you and bonked you on the head. It was very out of place and seemed as if it were only there to extend the gameplay of some end areas.

Despite this one negative aspect, Observer stands as an amazing psychological horror video game set in the future. It’s very cyberpunk/blade runner in the way it feels and even how some of the story plays out. If you love horror like I do, I definitely recommend this game. Overall I give it a 9/10 because it’s a game I can see myself playing again in the future.

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