Observer: System Redux is the remaster of the 2017 cyberpunk psychological thriller we previously reviewed, bringing upgraded visuals to next-gen consoles (Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5), additional content (it's 20% longer!), and overall general enhancements to the game.
The most significant upgrade of the newly released remaster is the graphical overhaul, vastly improving the visual fidelity. It looks fantastic playing on an Xbox Series X in 4K. The lighting is outstanding, the environments pop, and some of the game's crazier aspects stand out more. Although it doesn't feel like a new game, the fresh coat of paint helps deliver the dark cyberpunk world in Observer: System Redux.
My only issue with some of these visual enhancements comes from the oversaturation of the neon-colored lights and gridlines around everything, especially during the opening hours. I legitimately thought the game was bugged after getting through the opening sequence. Communicating with the guy behind the front desk in the apartment building made me feel like the Matrix exploded into the game. I ended up deleting the game and reinstalling on my Xbox Series X, but it turns out it is an artistic choice from the developers. It reminds me of the moment in Jurassic Park, where Ian Malcolm (played by Jeff Goldblum) chastises John Hammond and his scientists for not thinking of the consequences of their actions. Every other aspect of this game looks exceptional, but the massive oversaturation of neon colors is just too much. Even further into the game, when my screen isn't completely covered in green, I see what appears to be graphical glitches at times. It's a bit frustrating and completely distracting, but thankfully it only lasts for so long in the beginning portion of the game and isn't nearly as prevalent later.
One of the differences I experienced the most from the PC version to the Xbox Series X was the control differences. The controller felt very intuitive, but the game's interface seemed to have more "drift" than I remember having on PC. In one segment, I had to hunt for radios and manipulate them. The on-screen dot was particularly useless as I had to move my screen just a bit to the right to have a shot at interacting. The same goes for most other things I was trying to examine or manipulate as well – nothing felt entirely on center.
There's expanded narrative content through new side cases for you to complete as you make your way through. There's even a secret tribute to Rutger Hauer tucked away in the game, which I won't spoil. The core gameplay experience stays the same, however, there are plenty of tweaks and improvements that have been made. The enemy AI during the stealth sections have been improved, and the neural interrogations feel much better and have been slightly shortened. The additions still carry the overall creepy tone of the game and are quite fun.
Observer: System Redux remains a solid experience, but with more content and much better visuals. The oversaturation of neon lights is a bit much, but otherwise, the game is still the same great product I played a few years back. I enjoyed the additional content and graphical overhaul, neon lights, and all. This dark sci-fi noir game (still starring the late, great Rutger Hauer) continues to capture the imagination as you trek your way through the mystery of your son's death.Note: Observer: System Redux was reviewed on Xbox Series X. A digital copy of the game was provided by the publisher/developer.