Observer: System Redux

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Observer: System Redux Game Poster Image
Dark psychological horror remake improves on the original.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The game's a dark look at a dystopian future where crime and drug use run rampant, and a police state has been established without much in the way of ethics or civil rights.

Positive Role Models

Although Daniel's motivated by concern for his son and a sense of justice, he's generally just reacting to the grim situations he's confronted with. Other characters, when they appear, tend to fall on the darker side of the moral spectrum.

Ease of Play

The controls are essentially point and click, and the various puzzles presented to the player are generally easy to sort out. Outside of these, the game's essentially an interactive narrative with players' actions simply moving the plot forward.

Violence

Play doesn't shy away from brutality and gore. There are numerous scenes of graphic violence, including decapitations, impalings, exposed entrails, skinned bodies, and more. 

Sex

There are numerous sexually suggestive moments, including a conversation with a sexbot, a holographic representation of a stripper with conveniently placed neon lighting, a woman strapped to a chair in only her bra and underwear, and occasional drawings of topless women in posters.

Language

Dialogue makes frequent use of profanity, including "s--t" and "f--k."

Consumerism

This is an extended next-gen remake of >observer_, with new visuals and an expanded story.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The game features frequent references and depictions of illegal drugs and drug use.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Observer: System Redux is an expanded remake of the original >observer_ game and is available for download on Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, and Windows based PCs. The game's a sci-fi psychological horror story set in a dystopian future. It features some intense scenes of violence, which includes graphic visuals of decapitations, disembowelments, flaying, and more. Drug use is also prevalent, as it's also a focal point of the society and setting of the plot. Profanity is frequently used in the dialogue, including "f--k" and "s--t," and there are a number of sexual references and imagery that show up over the course of the adventure.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

Welcome to the world of OBSERVER: SYSTEM REDUX, a bleak dystopian police state run by a massive corporation. A place where people forced to live within a strict class structure, where the elite hold all the power, and the lower class are force to live in slum-like tenements with few, if any, personal rights. Here, the laws are enforced by Observers, enhanced detectives given the ability to strip the very memories from a person's mind. Daniel Lazarski is one such Observer, pulled into a deeply personal investigation after receiving an ominous message linked to his past. Tracking the message to a lower-class tenement, a building lockdown seals Daniel inside with a mystery to solve. Following a string of bodies, from one clue to the next, Daniel's world begins to unravel as he tracks down a serial killer and uncovers an even deeper secret pulling all his strings.

Is it any good?

If you're looking for a future full of bright colors and happy endings, this isn't the game you're looking for.Observer: System Redux is an updated remake that presents a dark and gritty take on the future. This bleak setting starts off disturbing and gets darker as the story unfolds. It's a place where the lower class are dumped like garbage into slums with no hope of a better life. Most find some sort of escape or self-destruction in the form of drugs, holograms, or other illicit activities. Although players are technically the hero of the story, there's not much to feel heroic about, especially when they jack into unwilling participants or even corpses in order to invade their most private memories. It's unsettling to say the least, but more so when seeing how these people lived (and died) through their own eyes. Add to this the often grisly crime scenes that players must investigate throughout the course of the story, and it's more than enough to give some folks a case of insomnia.

While Observer: System Redux is definitely not for kids and it's filled with dark and disturbing themes, it's still a fantastic experience. It's engaging horror on a psychological level. The presentation, from the grim but gorgeous visuals to the haunting sound design, grabs the player and doesn't let go. The developers also did a fantastic job of keeping players involved in the plot with various puzzles that generally fit the mood and theme of the story. These moments are never too challenging to be major obstacles, but still test a player's skill and intuition. Other gameplay elements, such as the stealth and neural interrogation mechanics, have been tweaked in this new release, and there are a handful of new side cases for players to sink their mind hacking teeth into. And though the game might be too dark for some, for fans of the genre, this is the definitive version of the Observer tale and an easy recommendation for this new generation of game platforms.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence and horror in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Observer: System Redux affected by the graphic nature of the gameplay and its visuals? What are the possible effects of young audiences being exposed to the disturbing imagery and mature subjects of a story designed for adults? How can parents help kids avoid experiencing such material and to help them process it if they do?

  • How is illegal drug use general portrayed in the media? Is it glamorized or is it exaggerated? What sorts of real-life effects can drug use have, and what are ways that people can get help with drug addictions?

Game details

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Themes & Topics

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