Blair Witch is a psychological survival horror game that is available to play on Xbox One and PC. It was released on 30th August 2019 and is free to play through Xbox Game Pass. The game was developed by Bloober Team and published by Lionsgate. Bloober Team are known for their difficult and challenging gameplay. With Blair Witch, they definitely deliver this in spades. Their overall aim is to create sophisticated, character-driven titles with unique worlds. Lionsgate is a very well known company. They have produced thousands of extremely popular films and television programmes.
The Story of Blair Witch
Blair Witch, the game, acts as a kind of sequel to the famous Blair Witch film. It is set in 1996, which is two years after the events of the film. You play as Ellis Lynch, who is a former police officer, as he travels to Black Hills Forest to search for a missing boy. You bring your best friend along with you, a dog named Bullet. As you make your way through the forest, you will need to solve puzzles and find the path to find the missing boy. While Ellis and Bullet face the monsters that lurk in the shadows of the woods, Ellis will also fight his own personal battles.
Throughout the game, Ellis will have flashbacks and showing memories of his past. Bullet, the dog, plays a big part in that. Ellis got Bullet as his partner when he was a police officer, after which he became Ellis’ best friend. During the game, Bullet comes in very handy by leading you to where you need to go; he will always be there for you and will warn you when monsters are near. The key to Blair Witch is to always stick with Bullet. You will always need to treat Bullet well because if you don’t take care of him, you will definitely regret it.
Blair Witch also has multiple endings for the story. Depending on which road you follow and what actions you take, it will have an effect on the ending. Because of this, you will need to be mindful of your actions, and you will need to put a lot of thought into everything you do. You will also have a video camera. Throughout the game, you will find video tapes that will help you move forward.
Cracking the Case
One of the biggest issues with Blair Witch is how complicated the game is. I understand that the game is supposed to be one big puzzle, but Blair Witch definitely takes this to the extreme. The puzzles that you will need to solve can be really difficult. There is one specific moment quite close to the beginning where I ended up being stuck for a really long time. I don’t really want to give anything away, but I will just say that you need to make use of the video tapes I have mentioned. There is no direction whatsoever, and this can be really frustrating.
There are so many moments where the specific part of the forest that you are in is running in a loop. You can even see the loop refresh when you hit certain points. The game won’t allow you to go further, so it flicks you back to the start of that area. I know that this is because you need to do something else in that area, but the whole loop thing just feels tedious when it is repeated so often.
Blair Witch is riddled with glitching issues, and Bullet is the source of many of the biggest issues that you will face. He will run into trees or branches when he is trying to take you somewhere, and when this happens, he gets stuck, and you have to wait for him to fix himself. The dog will slowly find a way out and walk back to the middle of the pathway before he starts running to where he was taking you again. This completely breaks the immersion of the game. When he first starts running off to take you somewhere, you get the feeling and rush of urgency. But when the glitching issues started to happen, it stopped that feeling for me. I was just overcome with frustration from waiting around for the dog.
Another major issue that I found is that partway through the game, Ellis stopped being able to run. Running in this game is the same as it is in most games when using an Xbox controller, you just push down on the left analog stick. About two hours into the game, this stopped working. I had to come out of the game completely and load it back up again for it to start working. If this was a one-off, I would have been able to look past it, but this happens quite often throughout the game.
As well as these issues, the graphics for the game really aren’t what I expected. The movement, facial expressions, and monsters are definitely not up to scratch compared to other horror games I have played. I think that because the graphics are so poor, this takes away from the horror element. I didn’t really feel scared or on edge whilst playing.
A Fearless Friend
The best part about Blair Witch is the relationship between Ellis and Bullet. As I have mentioned, Ellis depends on Bullet and will rely on him a lot throughout the game. I found that when playing Blair Witch, I was more worried about the dog than anything else. I was constantly checking where Bullet was and thinking about what he was doing. After each time Bullet did something good, I would stroke him or give him a treat, and whenever we were in a creepy area or it was really dark, I would tell him to stay close. This wasn’t because I was scared or because I needed Bullet for protection. This was because I cared more about what happened to the dog than the character I was playing as.
Developer: Bloober Team
Platform: Xbox One, PC
Release Date: 30th August 2019
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