PUBLISHER: DEVOLVER DIGITAL | DEVELOPER: NO CODE | RELEASE DATE: MAY 21, 2019
Observation is a unique experience that gamers that want a cinematic single player campaign really need to try. It honestly feels like playing a six-hour version of Gravity, if that sounds like something you’d be into.
You step into the role of S.A.M., an artificial intelligence trying to get Dr. Emma Fisher’s mission back on track after a sudden mysterious event. At times, the gameplay feels like an escape room with intermittent cutscenes.
The visuals are pretty high quality, with a near photo-realistic environment that is your space station, and good character models. I did have a few issues with these visuals however, as the majority of this game depends on its immersion. Many times through my playthrough (and especially the final ten minutes, which is basically an in-engine cutscene), odd clipping and visual glitches would happen, sometimes affecting my ability to play the game, like stopping me from scanning an object that I needed to progress.
With great visuals, comes great sound–the constant, and precise sounds of this space station moving and coming apart, your AI sphere’s tiny air jets zipping you around, the voice quality and performance all get high marks. The only thing lacking here for me was an impactful score, as most of the sound design is ambience with some moments of “alien” horror music, but nothing that stuck with me after completing the game.
Observation is available on every system but Switch now–at launch, being PS4 and PC (Epic) only. I played due to its availability on Game Pass. Price at the time of writing is $24.99, so it’s pretty much right on for the six hour runtime, as this realistically is a game you wouldn’t play through more than once unless you’re anxious to complete achievements (two plays at max).
I really enjoyed most of my time with Observation and highly recommend any sci-fi fan give it a try. That said, the plot is pretty derivative, it’s largely nothing you haven’t seen in a film at some point before (you could call it homage, but I won’t). The gameplay itself is far from exciting (scan…scan again, fly somewhere else to scan things), but several of the puzzles throughout the experience scratch the right itch for those wanting to exercise their critical thinking skills.
SCORE – 77/100
4–AVAILABILITY (OUT OF 5)
5–CONTROLS (OUT OF 5)