MYST. It was a game that launched back in 1993 and It was one of the best graphic puzzle adventure games at the time. It was one of those games that helped get a PC in your home. But what was so special is how you were just thrown in, with no clue of what was going on. All you had was a book that allowed you to travel to the island of Myst. By solving the puzzles, you could then travel to other worlds known as ages. Puzzles so well crafted, such as playing the notes on a piano in a certain order in order to proceed (think Goonies), but if you actually bought the help book, it was about as thick as an encyclopedia.
The T.V. show LOST has very similar aspects and partly helped made LOST what it was. So when I heard that Cyan was back with Obduction and it was going to be able to be played in Virtual Reality on the PlayStation VR, I was very excited.
I am going to say this before even getting into the review. This is a puzzle adventure game at it’s finest. This will require some thinking and some skills. But it is all so worth it. When I first started Obduction I automatically had the Deja vu feeling. Almost like waking up from a long nap only to not feel as though one minute has passed, but yet it was all new. And as I explored and saw that familiar FMV holograms appear, it became even more of a familiarity.
But the questions start to form. Why is this happening? Where are you? Who are the ones before New and what happened to them? Why were you abducted and put into this alien world only to have bits and pieces of Earth, your home, as somehow would ease your mind and maybe soon to help you forget or remember? I will not spoil anything by answering these questions as you need to explore and allow these and your own questions to be answered.
Let’s talk about controls first. You have some choices. You can use the Dualshock 4 controller, a single Move controller, or both Move controllers. For me, the Dualshock 4 works great, but sometimes I switched to using both Move controllers just to get a different scheme of things and it really gives you more of an immersive feel as you can use your hands to grab and pull items within the world of Obduction. But you only have two options for movement, teleportation and click turning. What worked for me was the teleportation as I was able to cover a little more ground and this will come in handy when you have to travel back in forth as you try to find the answers to the puzzles.
Some may find the movement a little distracting compared to playing Obduction without PlayStation VR support. Yes you can play without VR and it may give you a more smooth movement as well as full locomotion, but I will be happy to trade that in any day for the immersiveness I felt when playing this in Virtual Reality. So it’s a small compromise, but who is to say that a patch could not come soon as well?
What I really appreciate as I mentioned is just putting me in Obduction and just being able to explore. Making me feel like this place was lived in and somehow, someway, it’s up to me to piece together the clues to try and find out what happened. So thank you Cyan for keeping to the roots of what makes this so special.
As I mentioned there are puzzles and puzzles that will need to be figured out and completed. But, for those who enjoy this type of gameplay, you will enjoy Obduction. Obduction is neither just story nor is it just exploration, it’s a well thought out combination that balances itself as well as compliments each other. The puzzles seem to somehow connect and play off each other as well as piecing together the story. Some puzzles you may have to memorize certain things and some you may see a lever or a handle that you just need to see what it does. And that is the beauty of this. You get to explore and you get to unlock the secrets and maybe if you are lucky enough, Obduction will allow its secrets to be shared with you.
As much as I admired the immersion of Virtual Reality and the puzzle-solving at hand, there is one thing that I forgot about. Remember how I said at the beginning that if you wanted to get the help book that it was the size of the encyclopedia? Well if you got the book or if you tried to beat the game without it, you needed some paper to write down certain things. Obduction is no different and this can be a good and bad thing. The bad thing is that while playing in Virtual Reality and the need to sometimes write down important clues, it can break the immersion as you will either lift the PlayStation VR headset or just take it off for a few. The good is that Cyan did not break away from the formula that makes Obduction special.
Graphically there were parts that were so beautiful like at the beginning and seeing this moonlight over the water and the mountains in the background with the moving clouds and trees. There is something about experiencing this in Virtual Reality that still makes me appreciate what Virtual Reality has to offer. But there were sometimes, not all the time, in the distance that maybe the rocks or other scenes could have had just a tiny bit more detail. Yes, it was in the distance and this is in no way a deal-breaker. As you get closer to objects, the details start to come through. Again, this can easily be fixed with a patch.
Sound-wise I do appreciate what Cyan has done here. Getting close to the water and you can just hear it. Music starts to ramp up when and where it needs to. In a world like Obduction, there doesn’t need to be a sound for every second. That may be a little distracting when you are exploring. I like to go up and be able to hear the clues of what is being said about the story and not have that connection broken is very welcomed.
Some say Obduction is the spiritual successor to MYST and RIVEN. I kind of have to agree. It really is amazing how Virtual Reality can take us to worlds we have never been able to visit and worlds where we could be part of in a past life or maybe in our sub-conscience mind. That somehow could possibly be real that has been lying dormant all this time and just needed some fresh air and a sense of exploration to waken the familiarity that we have known all this time.
To learn more about Obduction, please visit the site, like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. To learn more about Cyan, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, follow them on Instagram, follow them on Twitch, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I am going to try and make it home.