Blair Witch – Review
Follow Genre: Survival Horror
Developer: Bloober Team
Publisher: Lionsgate Games
Platform: PC, Xbox One
Tested on: Xbox One

Blair Witch – Review

Site Score
5.8
Good: Atmosphere, Concept
Bad: Dated graphics, Walking simulator, Somewhat bland at times
User Score
5.8
(4 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 5.8/10 (4 votes cast)

Horror games are often a hit or miss when it comes to setting the right atmosphere. The days of inserting a couple of jump-scares and calling it a horror experience are long gone, and this might just be a good evolution. Several years ago Bloober Team, an indie studio, presented us with Layers of Fear, which proved to be one of the best horror experiences in ages. The game revolved around a painter who had gone mad and you were lucky enough to jump in on the experience. The game has also received a sequel, which also received critical acclaim, but now Bloober Team has something else in store for us based on a somewhat antiquated movie, The Blair Witch Project. Recently their latest game, called Blair Witch, has been released and it is somewhat tied in with the original movie, albeit with original characters, situated in the same forest, years later than the original. We had our first run-in with the game on Gamescom, and while the early demo was very convincing, the end-product leaves a lot to be desired.

Story

The story in the game starts off extremely simple with the search of a missing child in the local woods. You’ll be playing as Ellis, who has his canine partner, Bullet, ready to help with the search. When contacting the officers searching the woods, it becomes clear that you are a persona non grata, but the game doesn’t really tell you why. While you go deeper in the woods, things start happening, visions pop up in your mind, monsters appear out of thin air, and before you know it, it’s not only a search for a missing boy, but also a battle against your inner demons, and those seemingly right out of the pits of hell.

The story evolves gradually as you progress through the game. You’ll have a lot of predictable parts, in which you actually learn that the game will revolve around the main character and what he has done in the past. Nonetheless, the story itself is decent, but there’s nothing to sink your teeth in to keep you motivated.

Graphics

Graphically Blair Witch is somewhat underwhelming. Many of the game’s textures pop well after loading the scenery you find yourself in, and everything looks a bit dated. We know the studio doesn’t have the same budget as many AAA studios, but still, the game feels like it was a last generation release, rather than something for our current generation. It also feels like some areas have received more attention than others, as there’s a clear difference in textures and overall quality of what you get to see. Nonetheless, the game does radiate the proper atmosphere and there are a few cool effects to be found. You’ll find yourself in a large forest for most of the time, exploring the rubbles of some shacks and a house to get some variety in the game.

Sound

The sound design is decently handled in the game. You’ll have to make do with atmospheric noises, ranging from the sounds of a deserted forest to the crackling of a distorted piece of camera equipment to find yourself listening to the roaring thunder during a storm. There’s also a decent amount of voice acting present in the game, which is actually handled very well and doesn’t have to shy away from triple-A titles.

Gameplay

Blair Witch is a survival horror game that revolves around a man who wants to join in on a rescue mission to right the wrongs of his past mistakes. The game is pretty straightforward, as you’ll be wandering around a fairly big forest area, going from one puzzle to another. The overall concept is simple and for the most part you’ll just be walking around, doing a minimum of actual puzzles. It’s one of those games that takes you along for the ride, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but in this case, it’s no spectacular experience either.

As mentioned above, the game is somewhat of a walking simulator, but there is also a minimal amount of combat present in the game, as well as you having to avoid some invulnerable creatures. The combat works with you scaring away the shadow monsters by using your torchlight, and avoiding the immortal creatures is done by, well, staying clear of their path. This is pretty much everything when it comes to the action that happens in the game.

There’s a minimum of puzzles present in the game, and these often involve you using the camcorder you find during your search. The camcorder is able to play some older tapes, which often show you what happened in a certain location before you were there. The gimmick is that you can manipulate the items in your area, by fast-forwarding or rewinding what is on the tape. If you find yourself in front of a locked door, but the tape shows the same door, opened, you can pause at that scene and find the door open in the ‘real’ world as well.

Blair Witch takes five to eight hours to finish, which is a reasonable length, but some scenes of the game feel dragged out, which isn’t a good thing for a game that only spans this long. Some parts of the game are extra lengthy for no reason, or you keep wandering around in certain parts for nothing that is actually worth the extra effort.

Conclusion

Blair Witch is an okay horror experience, but it comes nowhere close to the experience that was provided in the original Layers of Fear game. This game tries too hard to create a certain setting, only to be held back by somewhat dull sequences, dated graphics and a somewhat predictable flow of the story. If you love the other games from Bloober Team, you’ll probably have some fun with this one, especially if you can get this game for ‘free’ with the Xbox Game Pass.

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Rating: 5.8/10 (4 votes cast)
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Blair Witch - Review, 5.8 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
Ibuki
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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