I was thrown through the horror grinder mentally with the slow grind of horror game Observer. A horror game that did not rely on the tough split second jump scares – but more on that atmospherically building slow burn.
The year is 2084 and you are Daniel Lazarski, an elite neural detective known as an Observer. You are a part of a corporate-funded police unit whose purpose is to hack and invade suspects’ minds.
But all does not seem to be right when you receive a mysterious message from your estranged son, a high-level engineer for the almighty Chiron Corporation, you journey to the seedy Class C slums of Krakow to investigate. As you hack into the minds of criminals and their victims to find clues, you are forced to relive their darkest fears.
“How far will you go to discover the truth? Developed by Bloober Team, the creators of Layers of Fear, >observer_ is a cyberpunk horror game meant for mature audiences. What you see will disturb you.”
From the start, you are thrown in to the story at the deep end. The cyberpunk setting is brought to the forefront with the visuals of the environment. The horror is a slow burn but taking it slow is key to enjoying the game.
You play as a “Observer”, a cop that is the new front line of neural police. Dan Lazarski, is your name and his voice acting is terrific (done by Rutger Hauer of “Blade Runner” Fame). You slowly descend into the horror with you on the case. Attending crime scenes and then hacking and invading minds are introduced slowly – but you feel every step.
“In this future, anything you think, feel, or remember can be used against you in a court of law.” – https://www.observer-game.com/
The mind invasion aspect, hits you hard. The more unstable the mind – the more dark the fears. It does force the player to question the reality they are seeing. Not to mention their sanity too.
Saying anything more about the plot will ruin it – so I will leave it to your imagination to find out.
I went down the rabbit hole and didn’t come out for several hours – its great. It tackles the horror in a different way – and I like it for that aspect. Initially the pacing felt too slow but I got used to it eventually.