The problems and space accidents have already given for many novels, movies, and video games … but none as what the new work of the indie studio No Code offers us. Observation Analysis
Without being one of the best-known studios in the independent scene, No Code has already left us Stories Untold , a suggestive title that has several links in common with this new proposal that has just been published on both PS4 and PC through PSN and Epic Games Store. Observation (this is the name of this production) is one of those proposals of a niche character that possesses something special, and that, of course, it is narrative base is anything but original. That’s right: his story is so good that said inconvenience goes to the background.
The plot takes place in a space station located at some point in Earth’s orbit. A place where, as you are sure you are already imagining, there has been “something” that has wreaked havoc inside. And we will spend the 6-7 hours of the adventure trying to find out what happened in that season and, of course, what is to come. Aliens? A mere accident? An act of terrorism of some kind? At first, we will know absolutely nothing of what takes place in the bowels of the station in which we are, to the point that we will not even know how many survivors are still in it … if there is any left.
In the middle of all this mess is Dr. Emma Fisher, who regains consciousness after having been to know how long unconscious and is with such a shed. Obviously, you will be thinking that this character is the great protagonist of the story, but no, given that this honor falls on SAM (Systems and Administration Maintenance) … that is, the artificial intelligence that supports the space station. An AI that, after entering again into operation (with serious losses of information and functionality, by the way), becomes Emma’s great ally to try to get out of the life of the chaotic and desperate situation in which she finds herself.
The feeling of loneliness and tension of the space station is sublime
I do not know if this narrative line convinces you, but I assure you that, of course, yes, completely. And best of all, as we progress through the history of Observation, the argument is gaining even more interest. In addition, the script is going in a really accurate and is very well written, becoming one of the brightest qualities of how many this videogame monopolizes. But it is not the only …
Observation, slow and absorbing gameplay
contained in this work is very curious and original. To me, it has reminded me somewhat of what was enjoyed in titles such as République, the cult classic of Camouflaj, although there are clear differences between those lived in one adventure and another.
Since we are an AI and not a physical character, much of the adventure we spent doing a number of very specific tasks that are being proposed/ordered by the doctor. These missions and objectives have seemed to be quite original and, also, varied, and I have rarely had the sensation of being performing exactly the same actions over and over again, something very commendable.
Having access to the cameras of all the facilities, tools, computers, switches and other gadgets and objects arranged by all the dependencies (and exteriors) of the space station, we have to manage to lend a hand to Emma in the most efficient possible. Locate fires, open certain hatches and hatches, establish connections with all types of laptops and operating systems, guide the doctor to certain dependencies … The problem is that most of the time, finding the key to each objective that we have to perform is not as evident as it might seem, so the resolution of puzzles is one of the most used mechanics throughout the adventure.
In the vast majority of occasions, such puzzles are quite attractive and even gratifying: it is what has to assume the mission of helping a poor survivor of a spatial “accident”. And more when we go to control a kind of sphere that allows us to guide its trajectory directly, thus enjoying free movement through the interior and exterior of the space station. But it is also true that on certain occasions at least I have not been clear about the “focus” of certain actions that need to be undertaken.
That is to say, that the objectives are not always clearly explained and can lead to somewhat annoying and unnecessary confusions, taking longer than the account to materialize a certain routine objective. But fortunately, this only happens on rare occasions, so the pace at which the adventure takes place (within its tremendously slow character) is not affected too much.
It is clear that, due to its characteristics and its so calm and particular playing style, Observation is not the typical title suitable for any type of user and 100% recommended. Absolutely. But what is indisputable is that it is a work as risky in its playable approach as, likewise, inspired by everything that has to do with its narrative. A combination that results in a very striking odyssey that stands out with its own light within its genre. A game that has been treated with great care from an audiovisual point of view.
Without being obviously before a dazzling and spectacular production, the atmosphere that has been printed to the game is magnificent. The feeling of loneliness and tension can be breathed from the first time we visualize the interior of the space station, a location that has been endowed with a remarkable level of detail and excellent lighting. Special mention should be made of the effects of SAM’s UI and HUD, so good that on many occasions I had the feeling of being in front of a sci-fi / dramatic documentary.
The sound also contributes a lot to endow the adventure with the atmosphere of tension that is breathed inside the space station. Sober and very well done effects, a more than decent dubbing in English (texts in Spanish) and soundtrack in a minimalist key and measured to the millimeter provide more intensity if possible to each game.
Users of PS4 and PC can already enjoy one of the best indie productions of what goes on the season in its category or, at least, one of the most original and disturbing. Observation is one of those adventures that revolve around a script sensationally conceived and that, above, welcomes an original game formula that will surely not go unnoticed by a select group of users. It is not perfect and sometimes the resolution of some puzzles can be somewhat confusing, but it is a very remarkable title in the vast majority of its aspects.
- The story is very interesting and is recreated with much success
- Fantastic spatial setting: the tension that is breathed in the chaotic station is incredible
- Risky and interesting game formula
- Some puzzles are too confusing to rush
- Without being short, it could be more replayable