Jun 22, 2017 Last Updated 10:14 AM, Jun 22, 2017

Obduction Review

Published in Adventure
Read 959 times
Rate this item
(0 votes)
Tagged under

The creators of Myst are back once again, and this time, they’ve brought us the stunning, Sci-Fi adventure of Obduction.

Designed as a mystery and puzzle challenger, this title is a casual, laid-back trek into an alien world, where the player is trapped after being transported there from Earth. Released on Steam on August 24th, 2016, Obduction is the latest release from Cyan Inc., but unfortunately, it fails to impress the same way that their previous titles -- Myst and Riven -- did in the past.

The Tedious Task of “Puzzles”

The opening scene in Obduction is fantastic, with a lovely campground location, a creepy, static-riddled voice-over explanation the abduction theme, plus some unnerving lights in the sky. From there, the player is teleported to another planet, and a bygone era – there are lots of Old West motifs and buildings, which is a fascinating world to suddenly appear within. Alas, this is where things start to go awry, and where the redundant, back-and-forth navigation starts to quickly diminish the excitement. It took me over an hour of poking around, while having inexplicable amounts of FPS drops, before I found the first true “puzzle” situation; from there, the difficulty never really improves, and most of the challenges just feel intentionally obtuse and not enjoyable at all.

In Obduction, players have the option of navigating the world either in a free form roaming mode, which feels a lot like your average first-person exploration adventure, or in a Point-&-Click style way in which the character moves from waypoint to waypoint. It offers partial controller support, but I stuck with a keyboard/mouse combination while trying both of the navigation options. While in the Point-&-Click mode, walking around took forever, as each waypoint took a few seconds to load; I also repeatedly ran into the problem of the glowing beams that indicate the path ahead disappearing at random, and I had to turn my character in circles to get it to appear once more. When I switched over to free roaming mode, I immediately preferred it. It's the best way to traverse such a large, detailed landscape, but I was also greatly disappointed that it came with lag and delays, thereby hindering my progression.

What It Does Right

Without a doubt, Obduction is a gorgeous game. The landscape is absolutely compelling, and the old, outdated buildings and locations made me think of Fallout and other post-apocalyptic titles. The sounds tie in nicely as well; I loved listening to motors hum, the waterfall crash, or drops of water on metal. It’s a great piece of immersion for sure, and if Obduction had run smoothly on my gaming rig, I’d have enjoyed exploration tremendously.

I loved the small details in various locations: the clutter in houses, or the debris near the gas station, not to mention graffitis on the side of train cars. Like a set for a vintage Sci-Fi movie circa 1965, Obduction creates an excellent foundation set for its play. Yet the rest of the game just leaves it feeling hollow and undersold. There’s so much potential here, and the ease of immersion in this detailed and lovely of an environment is very satisfying, but it dwindles so quickly without a compelling storyline and because of its clunky system.


The Verdict

Fact is, I would love to recommend Obduction, especially since it’s packaged in a beautiful, intriguing world. Unfortunately, the issues were just glaring: the laggy, buggy aspect of the game itself, plus the tedious, intentionally obtuse “puzzles” just left me wandering around, unable to enjoy and reflect upon the scenery. It had so much promise, and the graphics/audio combination was so compelling... Sob. Sadly, that’s all Obduction offers at this time.

If the stability issues are fixed, and it runs smoothly while players are navigating the terrain in free roam mode vs. the Point-&-Click option, I would certainly give it another try. But, in all honesty, the lukewarm storyline and the overwhelming amount of backtracking required to progress through the story just left me disappointed and disinterested. Plus, I had trouble getting my saved game to load successfully after taking a break from play, and it took me three tries to even get back into my saved data – something that doesn’t bode well, when you already feel as though you’re wasting large chunks of time back-tracking.

Obduction needs more love from Cyan to be able to compete with competitors of the genre, and it needs a lot of changes to ever be in the same category as Myst in terms of charm, depth, and immersion. Nostalgia, I'm afraid, just isn't enough to make Obduction a noteworthy gaming experience.

Image Gallery

Lori May

Lori is an avid video game enthusiast who enjoys blending her love of gaming with her work as a writer. She first cut her teeth back on the NES and Sega Genesis systems, and continues to be a Retro-gaming advocate with a soft spot for Point-&-Click Adventures. She's also a Survival Horror and Psychological Horror game collector, when she isn't coercing friends into any number of Co-Op multiplayer titles. If she isn't gaming you can find her working as a journalist and social media consultant, or perhaps dabbling in video game design among other hobby-with-big-dreams endeavors. Born in the heart of the Midwest, she's currently living in Colorado, where she prefers to avoid skiing, snowboarding, and other Mile High City attractions.

Related items

  • Subject A-119 Review

    Subject A-119 makes a strong showing with a variety of abilities, but the puzzles, through mechanical and logical limitations, quickly fatigue the player. Puzzle addicts might be tempted to explore this title but, overall, Subject A-119 mechanics are more confusing than the actual puzzles, ultimately leaving players underwhelmed.

  • Metro Exodus Revealed. First Details Now Available.

    A quarter-century after nuclear war devastated the earth, a few thousand survivors still cling to existence beneath the ruins of Moscow, in the tunnels of the Metro. They have struggled against the poisoned elements, fought mutated beasts and paranormal horrors, and suffered the flames of civil war. But now, as Artyom, you must flee the Metro and lead a band of Spartan Rangers on an incredible, continent-spanning journey across post-apocalyptic Russia in search of a new life in the East.

  • Black the Fall Interview

    After decades of toil, an old machinist plots his escape from Communism, through manipulation and scheming. Along the road, he befriends the most unlikely creature, an abandoned robot. Could they solve the puzzles and flee this bleak world together?

Latest Shows

Bulletstorm: Ful…

With AAA Anonymous, we discuss our latest AAA game addiction, until the next one replaces it. This episode covers Gearbox's remake of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition... Featuring Du...

Empathy: Path of…

Empathy: Path of Whispers is an atmospheric and story-driven adventure game where you explore a seemingly abandoned world through the emotions and memories of the people who once i...

Out Soon

PC Gaming Incoming

Danganronpa Anot…

Komaru Naegi has been imprisoned inside a mysterious apartment for over a year. Her rescue is derail...


A New World From the Creators of Bastion and Transistor, Pyre is a party-based RPG in which you lead...

The Golf Club 2

Rise to fame and fortune in the largest, most dynamic golf game ever created. Assemble and join onli...

Wonder Boy: The …

After nearly three decades since the original release comes Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap, a worthy remake. Developer Lizardcube created an engaging universe, partly thanks to beau...

Cladun Returns: …

Cladun Returns This is Sengoku achieves what it sets out to be with an apparent abundance of effort on the part of the developers. However, Cladun is not for everyone, and probably...

Vanquish Review

Vanquish delivers on action and unique gameplay. Although its missions can feel repetitive, it remains exciting due to its easy-to-master movement system and it’s addictively fun s...

Subject A-119 Re…

Subject A-119 makes a strong showing with a variety of abilities, but the puzzles, through mechanical and logical limitations, quickly fatigue the player. Puzzle addicts might be t...