Game Review: Observation (Xbox One X)

Observation is an adventure-puzzle video game developed by No Code and published by Devolver Digital. You’re aboard the Observation, a space station in orbit above Earth in the year 2026. You take control of the station A.I. known as SAM. It’s down to you to help Emma Fisher, the medical officer. Observation is crippled after an unknown event. As SAM you must do everything in your power to assist Emma. However, things are not as they seem.

Sam can move its core presence between several of the modules on the station and manipulate cameras and other electronically-controlled equipment in that module. Further on, Sam is provided one of several small spherical probes that allows Sam to move more freely through the station and into hostile environments harmful to the humans aboard, including outside of the station.

At one point, SAM becomes unresponsive to Emma while being influenced by a signal. This causes alien-like glyphs to flicker on his interface. Instructions to ‘BRING HER’ appear. Things only get stranger from there.

What is happening aboard the Observation?

Observation is an excellent science fiction, horror-adventure video game set in space. Playing as an A.I. opposed to a human character makes it enjoyably unique. I wouldn’t be surprised if the creators were inspired by Kubrick’s Space Odyssey. It’s fascinating to go from camera to camera and witness the story unfold. You’re aware that SAM is involved in the strange events taking place but you’re unsure how. Playing as someone or something that you yourself cannot fully trust is a cool idea.

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Additionally, there are a large number of different puzzles to conquer throughout. Some require genuine thought due to how technical they can get. Still, they feel really authentic. That’s a word I would use to best describe Observation and that’s authentic. Also, the sound effects throughout are high quality. Venturing out into the vacuum of space as an orb really gave me the feel of there being no gravity. The soundlessness of the environments add to the already creepy atmosphere. Navigation can often be cumbersome and sometimes frustrating. Furthermore, the map system takes getting used to. Therefore, setting way-points is essential.

The story is a real highlight. There are some neat twists throughout that help further the already compelling mystery. It’s imperative that you explore the station fully and find most if not all of the logs. These help give some insight into the crew and their relationships. The environments are littered with small details.

You can tell that Observation is more of a budget title. Still, it looks really good. The facial animations are decent and are helped by some quality voice work.

Overall, Observation is awesome. There’s two things that I love in video games. One is games set in space and the other is horror games. Combine the two and you have something I will really appreciate. At the same time, this is a really unique experience. There are some issues here and there but for the most part they are certainly on the smaller side. This one is worth your time. Unless you’re looking for something more action-orientated of course.




Observation
  • The Final Score - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
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