Obduction is an out of this world adventure brought to us by Cyan Worlds. It’s a slow paced, first person, puzzle game which can keep you perplexed yet amazed for hours.
You begin the game by looking out over a stormy lake and wandering through the edges of a forest until you’re…”Obducted” by a strange eye-like object and teleported to an even more visually stunning world full of incredible scenery and historically quaint American architecture. The rocky desert mountains that surround you soon open up into an old fashioned frontier town which will leave you wondering whether or not you’re actually still on our glorious home planet – until you look beyond the horizon to the eerie, purple cliffs and hazy forcefield which surrounds you.
I think it’s rather lucky that this area has been created so beautifully because without a tutorial (or a game walkthrough) you’re going to spend a long time wandering from one end of the map to the other. My advice: make sure to listen to holographic welcome points dotted around the place as some may give a hint of where you need to venture next.
In fact, this was my main (and possibly only) problem with Obduction – I had no idea what I was doing or what I was supposed to do and I admit that for the sake of time I did sometimes surrender to the online walkthroughs (be careful, sometimes they don’t make it any easier). I’m sure that if I’d not been so impatient with myself that I could’ve eventually discovered my mission and worked out objectives more naturally, but I fear it would have taken a very long time.
As you crawl deeper into the game and solve the puzzles along the way new areas open up and in turn, give you new puzzles to solve. Yup, this game is very dedicated to causing you stress migraines by not actually telling you what you need to do, and in a world where every game becomes quite linear and seems to point you in the right direction, this one would rather watch you suffer through the night.
This isn’t to say it’s not enjoyable – the puzzles can be quite simple once you know where to find them but if you unknowingly pass one on your journey around this new world, it could take some time to progress.
Still, I soldiered on through this creepy yet dazzling ghost town (world) and came across some interesting (mostly holographic) characters and new locations which were just as detailed as the ones before. Along the way you may spot a few items which may come in handy later on in the game – whether it’s an old toy fire truck or a code scribbled on a shredded piece of paper make sure you remember every little detail of the game. Especially try to remember where they were located because if you go down one route which turns out to be a dead end, it’s going to be a long walk back just to trace the same path from a different angle.
The puzzles themselves, as I mentioned earlier, can cover the whole spectrum from being as simple as flicking a switch to pulling your hair out to try and work out an alien language to decipher a code. Nevertheless, if you have patience and perseverance, I’m sure you’ll do just fine.
I spent many hours playing this game and realised that I spent most of that time exploring backwards and forwards until I realised that at a certain point of the game (quite early on depending how quickly you solve it) the hazy forcefield becomes a teleporting doorway which will push you to another area of the map. If you can work out this maze of portals it’ll save you a lot of time in getting where you want to be. There are also more of those “eye-like” things (I want to say creature but I’m still not sure they were living beings) which will turn your screen into a million shiny particles and once again sling you into a new setting.
Overall, I am quite torn over this game. If you like solving puzzles and have enough patience to retrace your steps time and time again then you’re probably going to really enjoy it. Along with the visual beauty of the game and the menacing otherworldly feel it brings, I had moments where I couldn’t stop playing and craved just one more puzzle to solve before bed. On the other hand, if you don’t have the brain power to work things out without much help from the game itself, my best advice would be that you’re probably best pressing the PS Home button and selecting something a little less confusing.
Karl Rating 7/10
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