Obduction Review

Obduction Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 1

Publisher

  • Cyan Inc.

Developer

  • Cyan Inc.

Release Date

  • 01/01/1970
  • Out Now

Platform

  • PC

rating

Pyst 2: Juttery Buggy Too.

Cyan, the developers of Myst and Riven, are back with Obduction, an adventure game that takes place on an alien world after being abducted. While that sounds like a winning combination, this somehow managed to be one of the worst games I've played this year for a multitude of reasons.

First and foremost, this is supposed to be a puzzle game, but the puzzles rarely consist of little more than finding a hidden button or lever to press to be able to advance. Half of the puzzles involve using teleports that also change the world around you, something that isn't made obvious as sometimes the changes are subtle.

Thing is, every time you use one of these puzzles you're greeted with a loading screen, which admittedly looks great, but seeing loading screens hundreds of times in modern games is frankly unacceptable. I'd wager that a good third of my playthrough was spent loading, and that is with the game installed on a top of the line solid-state drive; for those with standard hard drives, I've seen evidence of upwards of two-minute load times per loading screen.

One specific recurring type of puzzle involves connecting dots that translates to some advanced mathematics, though many of these puzzles can just as quickly be brute-forced, defeating the purpose of the logic behind them all together. I'm not a huge fan of doing math while gaming, but surely someone appreciates it.

When I wasn't stuck in a loading screen, I experienced near constant frame-rate drops and hitching as bad as or worse than the recent PC release of No Man's Sky. Tweaking the settings didn't seem to help, and I'm running this on a beefy 6-core Intel i7 and Nvidia GTX 980, so it certainly isn't on my end. Seems like the game was a bit rushed since it is so poorly optimized; at one point I checked and saw it was using over 5GBs of RAM on its own. While it is a beautiful game, and perhaps one of the most colorful I've seen on Unreal Engine, it isn't something that should be running poorly given my specs.

The introduction to the game will sink its hooks into a majority of players, as you get to experience seeing an alien object zipping through the night sky before being abducted while talking about meeting others that were taken from different time periods. You seemingly travel through space and time and end up in the same place which just happens to look like an old-timey Western town surrounded by a purple alien landscape. From there, the story is told through either full-motion videos or text found in journals strewn about the land.

I'm not sure if FMVs were included for nostalgia or budget, but they just look plain bad, even with decent acting. The journals text is often difficult to read due to handwriting or lighting, meaning you could possibly miss out of some of the narrative due to poor design choices.


While there is some alien-looking terrain in the distance, most of the game takes place in very Earthly-looking settings such as a forest, an Aztec-like temple, and on top of what looks like hardened lava. A majority of the game takes place in that Western area, which also takes the longest to load, so get ready to twiddle your thumbs a lot while you wait.

Cyan seem to be stuck in the past as it continuously tries to make Myst a thing again, but the adventure genre has advanced far past that now with games like The Talos Principle and The Witness putting this game to shame. Obduction feels like a game that belongs in the 1990s with a modern-day coat of paint. If you haven't played an adventure game since then, you might be pleasantly surprised, but I'd have rather spent my time replaying Firewatch, Oxenfree, or any number of other quality adventure titles instead of this buggy mess.
 

Code provided by publisher. Review based on PC version.

REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

1
Rating
On of the more colorful games on Unreal Engine
Interesting abduction premise, but it isn't explored much
Long and frequent loading times
Suffers from constant stuttering and framerate issues on a GTX 980
Demands lots of system resources, sometimes more than 5GB of RAM
Many puzzles are little more than hunting for a button
Most of the story is told through poor-quality FMVs or hard-to-read books