BLAIR WITCH Review: Genuinely Terrifying

Bloober Team, the creators of Layers of Fear, and Observer; have created another terrifying story for us to walk (or sprint) through. Blair Witch (Available now on Xbox One and PC) drags you through the woods, set in the same universe of the iconic 1999 film, The Blair Witch Project. The game tells a different story than that of the film, and is more or less, a tribute to the popular movie. That doesn’t denounce how genuinely terrifying the game is however. The game will take roughly 6-7 hours of playtime to complete for the casual player, and significantly less for the speed runners out there.

Story

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The player takes control of Ellis, a war veteran, and former cop, who suffers from PTSD. Accompanied by his dog, Bullet, Ellis joins the search of a missing boy, Peter Shannon. Equipped with a cell phone, radio, and flashlight, Ellis follows behind the original search party to double-check areas that have already been searched, in an effort to make sure no clues are missed. After finding a key item, Ellis wanders deeper into the woods without the help of the others from the search party, only to get “lost” in the forest that is seemingly alive, and fighting back. Ellis must fight off haunting creatures and visions of his past, all while trying to progress with his search for Peter.

Gameplay

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While the story is very gripping, it is a shame that the mechanics are not as well rounded. In some cases, items that I am meant to interact with in order to progress, were not intractable. Bullet is key for “combat” early on in the game, and I found myself in scenarios where Bullet would either, be no where to be found, even after attempting to call him back, or he would constantly spin in circles, and would serve no use in the combat situation. Although frustrating, these hiccups did not leave a lasting impact on my experience with the game.

Visuals

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Although not the most graphically straining game, the visuals are by no means bad, and definitely help set the tone and mood of the game.

Audio

I, along with one of the messages you get when you first boot up the game, strongly recommend that you play with headphones. Headphones provide a much more immersive, intense, and frightening experience. The headphones also assist with the “combat” sections of the game, as they make it easier to seek out the deadly creatures trying to hide from the light.

Replayability

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The game offers plenty of replayability for what it is worth. There are multiple collectibles and secrets hidden throughout the forest, as well as multiple endings to experience. There are choices in the game that can be made, that I wasn’t even aware were choices to begin with. Past the few extra endings and collectibles however, there is not much else.

What It Could Have Done Better

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I definitely think that the mechanics could use some work, just some minor fixes here and there, but other than that, I can not think of much else that needs improvement. It may have just been my sleep deprived brain at 3:00 am, but I did feel that chapter 17 was a bit too lengthy compared to the rest of the game. I did enjoy how smooth the transitions were between chapters, but I was a bit surprised when I saved my game after my first session that lasted about an hour, to find that I was already on chapter 4/18.

Verdict

Although clunky in the technical aspect, Blair Witch did make up for it in the storytelling, not to mention the game did what any good horror game should do, it scared me to death. On multiple occasions I found myself wandering through an area at a crawling pace in preparation for the next jump scare, which there were not many of throughout the game. The game does suspense very well, and leaves you on the edge of your seat up until the very end, when it mercilessly beats you to death with jump scares around every corner. The game is fairly priced at $30, for what you get out of it, and is an even better deal if you subscribe to the game pass. I highly recommend you pick it up if you are a fan of the Blair Witch lore, or just a general horror fan.

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