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Layers Of Fear Devs Reveal Cyberpunk Horror Observer

“What would you do if your fears got hacked and used against you?” asks Observer, the latest first-person horror fest from Layers of Fear devs Bloober Team. I’d be suitably terrified, I imagine. Especially when this venture drops us into a cyberpunk world filled with glitch-ridden corridors, eery holograms, weird implant machinery and ominous shadow stalkers.

Aye, I’d say terrified pretty much covers it. Shall we watch its duo of trailers together after the drop? Go on, you first.

I swear, I’m right behind you. Honestly.

Gulp. Revealed at E3’s PC Gaming Show this week, Observer sees you fill the shoes of Dan, a member of the eponymous Observers police unit. He and his outfit’s remit is to hack the minds and memories of their clients – a task which doesn’t sound all too pretty and sees them sent to places like this:

It’s a far cry from Layers of Fear’s crumbling Victorian house of latent horrors, but, even from that brief glance, Observer’s universe looks no less unsettling. I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with Layers of Fear in that I adored its setting, its abstract allusions, its themes of isolation and tormented protagonist; but I really didn’t get on with its eventual reliance on jump scares. Exploring the lead character’s story would have been far more entertaining than being forced to continually telegraph the next ‘BOO’. Adam shared similar thoughts in his review:

“Within minutes it has exploded in a splash of colour and sound. Rather than seeding new sources of fear with their own build toward a horrifying reveal, the game then becomes a chain reaction of fresh explosions as doors slam, phantoms sob and dolls twitch. The pacing doesn’t leave enough quiet time and it’s notable that the few moments of calm left me squirming more than the parade of terrors, to which I quickly became immune. Eventually, I fell into treating some of the more excessive scare tactics as comic relief, simply because my brain seemed to require a more varied set or responses.”

Although we’ve not much to go on for now, my hope is that Bloober learn from Layers of Fear and goes one step further this time round. They were clearly onto something before, however, in my eyes, failed to fully realise it. Observer certainly looks like they could be on the right track.

Don’t miss the rest of our E3 2016 news this week.

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Joe Donnelly

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