Bloober Team’s Observer was brilliant, and now it’s even better.
Available on next-gen consoles and PC, Observer: System Redux takes the original, gives it a visual makeover and adds in new content and gameplay tweaks.
Unfortunately, though, we’ve found that the next-gen versions of the game haven’t been created equally. Aside from the fact that the PS5 has DualSense support, there are other notable differences which the Xbox Series X/S version can’t match.
Delve into the video settings on the Xbox Series X version of Observer: System Redux and you’ll find that it has a 4K toggle. Turn it on and you’ll get sharper visuals at the expense of a smoother framerate. Imagine our surprise then, when we launched the PS5 version and found that it didn’t have the same 4K toggle. But it does have something else: a ray tracing toggle.
Turn on ray tracing in the PS5 version of Observer: System Redux and you get noticeably enhanced reflections. Out in the courtyard you can see the reflections of nearby buildings in the puddles, for example, and within the apartment block you’ll sometimes be able to admire your reflection in a mirror or pane of glass. Wondering if the Xbox Series X simply has them turned on by default we went back to check. But no; there are no ray traced reflections to be found.
In the first example below, you’ll see a building reflecting in a puddle on the PS5 version. On Xbox Series X, all you can make out is the reflection of a light. In the second, you’ll see your character’s full outline reflected in a pane of glass on PS5. On Xbox Series X? Just a dark panel with a few reflected lights.
Click on images to enlarge
While performance in both versions of the game can be a little shaky at times, what surprised us even more is that even with ray tracing enabled, the PS5 version of Observer: System Redux still performs better than its Xbox Series X counterpart. There are some parts of the apartment block where the Xbox Series X seriously struggles, ruining the immersion a little. It’s perhaps at its worst when you enter the basement.
So, if you’re planning on picking up Observer: System Redux and are lucky enough to have both next-gen consoles available to you, go for the PS5 version. You’ll get a better experience all round. And if you only have Xbox Series X, perhaps wait to see if the game gets patched to at least smooth over the performance hiccups. And who knows, ray tracing might be added at a later date.
Update 18/11/2020: After reaching out to Bloober Team, we were given the following statement:
“We are working on increasing the game’s performance and solve problems with ray tracing. So stay tuned”
It seems the team is aware of issues with the Xbox Series X version of the game, then, and so it may improve with a later patch.