Observer made its debut exactly a year and a half ago on PC, and after landing on PS4 e Xbox One the guys from Bloober Team have decided to bring their peculiar cyberpunk adventure also on Nintendo Switch. The game is set in the Krakow of 2084 and puts us in the shoes of Daniel Lazarski, a police officer equipped with cybernetic grafts that allow him to read the minds of the victims, whether they are alive or dead: an Observer, in fact. Lost in the streets of a metropolis torn by social disparities, the man receives a mysterious call from his son Adam and decides to investigate to see if something has happened to him. But when he reaches the apartment from which the transmission started, the only thing he finds is a decapitated body and some strange clues. The condominium is dilapidated and is run by a strange guy, but who lives there must have seen or heard something: after analyzing the crime scene using the improved and biometric vision, Daniel decides to knock on every door to see if there are any witnesses. At one point, however, he runs into a disturbing trail of victims, torn apart by what appear to be big claws. Who killed these people, and why? The only way to find out is to connect to their neural chip and retrace their memories.
Gameplay and structure
Conceptually, Observer is a title very close to Bloober Team's previous project, Layers of Fear, albeit from the point of view of gameplay several elements of interaction are introduced and there are sections in the campaign where it is possible to run into the game over. The claustrophobic, sometimes dreamlike horror that the authors have tried to paint does not always work, as certain situations lead the user to remain relatively detached, for example when the protagonist connects to someone's mind and relives their memories, trying to put them back together like a puzzle.
- puzzles they are actually varied: we move from detections in real life, with objects that can suggest a code or other information useful for the continuation of the investigations, to the activation of mechanisms and devices useful for revealing hidden passages or evidence to be collected. However, when the action takes place in the virtual world, asking us to complete increasingly complex paths, in which we must find the right order in order not to get stuck in a loop, even attempts to jumpscare they often end up failing. Daniel can keep track of his progress by calling up a holographic interface at any time, which serves as a useful guide to the next steps to take.
The display also indicates if you need to take a dose of Synchrozine, a drug needed to inhibit the effects of rejection. In case you run out of active ingredient, your vision becomes blurred and things get more complicated, but luckily you can find bottles inside the scenarios with some frequency. The layout of the commands on Nintendo Switch it is the same that we had experienced in the original version using the controller, with the triggers and the back buttons to do the bulk of the work. If you want, you can move easily enough, you can run and this is useful in some of the most excited moments in history, but in general we are faced with a reflective experience, which makes the atmosphere and the narrative context its strengths.
Atmosphere and technique
In short, it is above all the atmosphere that makes Observer fascinating: the audio design developed by the authors allows you to immerse yourself with conviction in an engaging story, in which there is no shortage of twists and moments of reflection, underlined very well by the charisma of Rutger Hauer, who lends his voice to the protagonist and gives life to interesting dialogues, often interpreted with the tired tone of an aging policeman who has seen so many. Many of the visual solutions adopted for the game are clearly gimmicks aimed at masking a production value that is not at the highest levels: sometimes the trick works, sometimes it doesn't.
On the Nintendo Switch, however, things are made more complicated by poorly defined, very dirty graphics, which barely hold up the 30 frames per second although nothing chaotic ever happens on the screen. The game also takes a few moments too long when trying to access areas not yet visited, and this breaks the pace of exploration a bit. Observer is not the most suitable title to take advantage of the portability of the Nintendo console, given the focus on the atmosphere that can certainly benefit from a large screen and a decent audio system, but at least there are no substantial differences between a mode and the 'other.
CommentTested version Nintendo Switch Digital Delivery Nintendo eShop Price 29,99 € Resources4Gaming.com
Observer is also confirmed on Nintendo Switch as a disturbing and evocative title, with an effective narrative sector and a great atmosphere. Daniel Lazarski's investigations take place in a linear way, through the resolution of various kinds of puzzles, and the variety of these situations manages to keep the interest alive, even and above all when the danger becomes concrete and a false move can result in the game over. Unfortunately, the visual rendering of the game, already modest in the original edition, is further impoverished on the hybrid console of the Japanese house, with poorly defined assets and a general feeling of dirt.
- Great atmosphere, good story
- The investigation system is interesting
- Rutger Hauer gives depth to the protagonist
- Technically mediocre
- Slightly limited gameplay
- Quite trivial challenge