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Obduction Review

A beautiful but tedious experience clearly not meant for VR

Reviewed by Griffin on 22nd March 2021 on Windows Mixed Reality

Review

Obduction is a Puzzle adventure discovery game from the developers Cyan, the makers of Myst and Riven. Obduction was originally a Kickstarted campaign however I did not back the game at the time and instead purchased it after release.

Full disclosure my opinion on the genre of game and the gameplay is coming from someone who has never played a cyan game before. I was planning on Playing the upcoming myst in VR however now three months after the Oculus release it has still yet to be released on Steam so I decided to play this instead as my intro to Cyan games.

Obduction took me about 6 hours to complete though this of course will vary depending on how quick you typically solve puzzle games.

I played this on:

I7 7700k

GTX 1080 Ti

16gb Ram

HP Reverb G2

Graphics & Presentation

On PC flatscreen the game visually is pretty incredible looking however even at maxed out settings there are a few poorer looking elements grass and pop-in are two biggest issues, in VR however the detail loses a bit of its magic, a lot of highly detailed textures all of a sudden look very flat once in VR and while everything still looks good from a distance, on closer inspection most of the environments do not hold up that amazingly. This is of course all relative to the performance for these visuals, on my system the game ran terribly even turning down to medium settings the game still had frequent frame drops and hitching, and at medium settings the game then looked far more average.

The game features a lot of large set pieces for scenery and these are quite a sight to behold in VR.

Text based notes and books in this game have not been scaled properly for VR, I was using a pretty high resolution headset but due to the small text struggled to read it, and at times I can only imagine it would be near impossible for Vive or CV1 Rift users.

Text in books also often did not render the first time I picked them up leading to a little confusion at first.

Sound FX & Music

The Music and FMVs (Full motion video) were really the highlight of the game for me. The music was very good at setting the tone and keeping a sense of wonder about the whole place.

I was quite familiar with FMV characters in Video games before (its my understanding Myst used these too) however it was quite a neat surprise to see them in a game released in 2016, this may be a love it or hate it kind of thing for most players though, as the acting may be seen as a bit corny to some.

Gameplay & Immersion

Gameplay/structure is really my biggest issue with the game, and it is my understanding that this plays much like how Myst plays so this may be a case of my own incorrect expectations and if you liked myst you will probably like this game too. The game pretty much just drops you into the game world and you explore and solve the puzzles around the map, at least thats the expectation however the world is large and for the most part barren of things to interact with. You move very slowly in game and any mistake in a puzzle will need to probably go back and set it up again. This leads to endless tedious walking around figuring out where to go, how to get there, and what to do next, and I found myself lost more often than I was stumped on a puzzle.

The game features a number of Invisible walls that you can teleport from, they however are not very well identified leading to a lot of guess work in discovering them and using them to solve puzzles.

The game also has these teleportation orbs that you must use to solve a few puzzles. In VR for what ever reason the load times were killer for them, leading to a lot of frustration in later puzzles which use them a lot.

The game has a really cool loading screen in Flat mode however it only ever worked once in VR, every other time I just had a loading icon.

Controls

The controls were another place that VR suffers, as the game offers two locomotion methods Smooth or teleport but both are pretty slow and I found myself often getting caught on geometry using either. Items can be picked up but not taken or moved from place as doing so on one occasion actually glitched out the item and made me unable to pick it up again.

The subtitles in game are poorly place to read and often did not render for me just leaving a black bar.

Value & Replayability

Personally I dont see Obduction as very good value at full price unless you really love past cyan games. Most of the time I sunk into the game I found was tedious walking rather than puzzle solving and I dont really see much point in returning for a second play through

Final Thoughts

Obduction is probably a great game for Cyan fans, but any flaws the game did have just seemed to get highlighted in VR making for an overall poor experience for me, and not something I could recommend to others.

  • When maxed out the visualls look pretty nice
  • FMV acting and preformances were fun
  • Terrible performance even on lower settings
  • Small details dont look great in VR
  • Too much walking around relative to puzzle solving

Reviewed by Griffin on 22nd March 2021 on Windows Mixed Reality

4 out of 10

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Obduction
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