The GWJ Adventure Game Club - Game 29: Observation

CptDomano wrote:

I'm glad I played this after playing Among Us because there is an exchange between Jim and Bill that perfectly fits into a game of Among Us.

SAM: "Captain Jim Elias is located in RUS-8" (Dead Body Reported! Discuss!)
Bill: "We've received live feed from SAM in RU-6. Where you appear to be."
Jim: "No, I'm in UC-1 at comms."

I cannot understate how much I love this!!!! Even more so because I was thinking


"this is sus"

when it happened.

Pink Stripes wrote:

I wish I could load up my game, go back to that point, and use the crew tracker like you are suggesting.

Yeah, when I did Resume Game just now it just shows the closing sequence again

I'm leaving this comment without having read the thread, so if I'm repetitive, my apologies. I'll read it right after I finish with this.

I got a late start on this one, but blew through it relatively quickly, so I ended up finishing on time.

I was really mixed on Observation. Some parts of I thought were fantastic; the presentation and story were really interesting. It reminded me pretty strongly of Control in terms of graphic presentation. (and man, it sure beat the heck out of my wimpy GTX 970. My cooling fans were on turbo almost all the time.)

But it just drove me bats, the way it kept taking control away from you, especially in some of those space scenes. I mean, you had just gone through a bunch of interactive space stuff, so you knew you had thrusters and could move around freely, but then suddenly it was Cinema Time, and you weren't allowed to do anything, which was just so stupid. I really wanted to pound my keyboard because what my avatar was doing was completely dumb and avoidable. Sadly, it was now Movie Mode, and the designers decreed that my fully mobile-in-space drone was now paralyzed. Thou Shalt Only Watch. Grrrrrr.

I also found it a bit frustrating that there was clearly the potential for great gameplay in what they'd done, they just needed to iterate some more. If they'd focused on never taking control away from you, I think it would have been a much better game. As it was, it was mostly on rails. About the only thing that wasn't was finding documents and laptops.

The puzzles were okay, but figuring out how to solve them got pretty tedious sometimes. The last big puzzle had me stumped, and I ended up using a walkthrough. Even knowing the answer, when looking the clues afresh, it still struck me as a rather unfair puzzle. IMO, it needed a leadup puzzle to hint at the mechanic, because that was just way way too subtle. It took me quite awhile to reason out how it worked when I already knew the answer.

The ending was, um, not quite what I expected, but definitely memorable. I won't forget that one soon.

Huge, massive, ruin-your-game spoiler:


The combination of the transcendent-entity uplift with the corruption aspect was pretty cool. Yes, Emma and Sam, you have been transformed.... but probably not how you wanted to be. My headcanon is that she's now a virus-like agent, quite like the Resonance in Control. I mean, that's a terrible ending, and I'm not exactly happy about it, but I also won't forget it for a long, long time.

If memorability is the reason you play adventure games, Observation is way up there. If you prefer gameplay and elegant puzzles, this one is probably not for you. The actual gameplay is often clumsy and irritating, and while I solved all the puzzles but the last one, I didn't like them. They were 3D versions of pixel hunting, and blech. And the mouse/keyboard controls were terrible. There was one puzzle where you had to enter numbers quickly, and you were forced to enter them with WASD instead of just typing numbers. So many things in that game were needlessly difficult, because they screwed up the controls.

Considering it as a whole, I'm kinda mixed. I think watching it on Twitch or Youtube would be almost as good, and much cheaper. It's not like you have meaningful choices, so every playthrough is likely to be pretty similar.

After having read the thread: yeah, I was really wondering about Jim, too. I still don't have an answer. I thought about posting that, but my previous comment was already too long.

One possibility:


Jim's version of Josh went nuts and was killing people, where "our" version of Josh was still sane. Jim killed him because he thought it was 'his' Josh. I'm still not really clear on why he would leave Emma outside, though.

On Emma:


I didn't think of it right away, but during the closing sequence, when I saw the dead Emma, I realized that "my" Emma had probably died when shut out of the station, and the one carrying my avatar was probably a close enough analog that she liked and trusted SAM. Sort of a Bioshock Infinite vibe.

I’ve played a little of this. It’s very good so far. A great sense of grounded realism. I though the gameplay might be a bit dry but it makes me feel like I’m an A.I. and I’m engaged. I’ll look forward to playing more.

Edit: Just to report back (wasn’t sure if I should or not.) I fell off Observation. I adored the setting and style of the game but the narrative didn’t grab me. I also found what you were doing moment to moment more annoying than fun. In the end I had to admit I wasn’t engaged enough or enjoying it enough to continue. I think the navigation and movement might have been a lot smoother with mouse and keyboard rather than a controller which would have helped.

Of course you should report back! Always report back, folks! There’s no “end of” date on the threads.

Too bad the game didn’t grab you, but if it didn’t grab you from the start, it wasn’t going to get you further down the line. And that’s okay! Different strokes for different folks and all that.

Late to the party as usual but I saw that this is leaving Game Pass in a few days, which pushed me to finally get my butt in gear. Finding it very enjoyable so far - it pretty much runs at my ideal level of low-key suspense, and exploring the station environment has been more enjoyable than I would have expected.

I recently tried Deliver Us the Moon at the end of its Game Pass stay, and I had a very hard time staying engaged with it. Despite the constraints that Observation puts on you, this is feeling more like the experience I wanted.

Oh wonderful! I'm happy you're enjoying it Benign1 and it's kinda hitting the spot for you. It left me very unsettled, but in a good way, and weeks after having played it, it's sticking with me. Odds are it'll end up on my GOTY, it definitely tried to do something interesting. Can't wait to hear how your game ends!

I've been very valiantly intending to continue this, but I found navigation, while contributing a lot to the verisimilitude, was also a pain. I wouldn't have said "No" to a giant flag of China painted on the exterior of China station.

That’s fair. I got turned around a few times, and got lost, despite the map (which isn’t always available, if I’m not mistaken, certainly not when you’re EVA’ing).

Yeah, the last big one was while EVA'ing. "SAM, find the couplings on China station," Lady, all these exteriors look the same. Buuuut if SAM did go rogue somehow, things like that are probably why.

I mean, the other problem is this game called Mass Effect: Legendary Edition came out. Have you heard of it? It's pretty neat.

I maaaaaaaay be familiar with it, yes. ^^

I finished this up last night, and wow that ending sure did go some places.


I appreciated the way it kept the horror elements relatively understated throughout, Like you said Eleima, the creeping horror slowly built to fairly uncomfortable levels at several points, but it never quite had me feeling like I needed to bail out.

I did feel like the ending fell a little flat though. Seems to me that it would have been better to have a more ambiguous ending, or else maybe provide a few more explanations along the way.

That small complaint aside, I thought it was well worth the playthrough.