Title: Blair Witch
Developer: Bloober Team
Release Date: August 30, 2019
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: Bloober Team
In my goal to face my fears of horror games, I find myself here. You see, I’m in a love and hate relationship with the genre since I love the atmosphere it may offer, but at the same time, I easily get scared. Now, developer Bloober Team is here with their title, Blair Witch, inspired by the movie with the same name. This is my chance to get out of my shell. Luckily for me, there’s a dog that travels with you throughout this terrifying adventure, so I didn’t have to do it alone.
Blair Witch follows Ellis, a former police officer, who is harboring bad memories. One day, a child disappears in the Black Hills Forest, and Ellis decides to join the search. With his loyal dog, Bullet, by his side, nothing can go wrong anymore, right? As Ellis advances in the woods, he soon noticed that strange things are going on and that maybe the rumors of the area being haunted are more accurate than he thought.
Bullet’s inclusion in the horror adventure happens to be one of my favorite parts of the game. However, he isn’t only there for company; he’s also a valuable tool that the player can use to do things likes follow a trail after giving him an item. There is even the option to pet him and it looks adorable. On a side note, let me tell you, it is also important to keep a good relationship with your little buddy. Additionally, Bullet has a lot of useful commands such as “seek” where he can look for items Ellis might not be able to find all on his own such as having him crawl through small caves.
Blair Witch is an atmospheric horror game where occasional jump scares do happen, but it focuses on other elements to scare you as well, such as in its environment and sound design. Just being all alone, walking around in the dark woods made me feel uneasy past each corner. I was always expecting something to pop up, even during the daytime levels. The game forces you to be suspicious and cautious at all times. But again, I guess the creepy items you can find throughout the woods are already enough to make anyone wary that something is seriously wrong here. On a side note, while exploring and advancing with the story, Ellis gets confronted by his past, so be wary of flashbacks which might be a little bit confusing at first.
The player gets called from time to time when reaching specific points of the story and there is a window of time you’re able to accept the call. Additionally, you will find other key items in the game, such as a walkie-talkie and a camera with night-view to assist with exploration. With the camera, you can even see things when it’s dark or watch tapes you will find along the way. I found the feature engaging as you can rewatch the obtained tape anytime and interact with the video player to look for clues. The scary thing here is that the game doesn’t pause while watching the tape and items that weren’t there before suddenly pop up or doors suddenly being open. This is used throughout the game to advance your journey. Of course, you will have the default flashlight right from the beginning to use when it gets dark.
This is the first game of the developer which contains combat, although you don’t go around with a gun shooting your enemies, but instead, you blind them with your flashlight. With the help of your dog, you will know where the enemy is lurking around since. Technically, you’re not killing the monsters but just scaring them off as they seem to be sensitive to lighting. There are chase-and-run elements within the game as well, and it is indeed possible to die during the mini-events. However, Blair Witch offers plenty of checkpoints to get you right back into the woods to try again.
Blair Witch is a fairly linear game as you only have one way to advance, although the directions confused me as I often wasn’t sure what the game expected me to do next. There were times where I was aimlessly wandering around for a while until I found out what I was supposed to do. The thing here is that you have to find a particular item or do a certain thing to advance with the story, but I had to struggle at times finding the needed item.
Graphically, Blair Witch is simply stunning and the woods look fantastic. I have to admit, the graphics were one of the things that appealed to me at first sight, well besides the incredible cute dog, of course. There are separate graphics settings in case your PC isn’t able to handle the game in higher settings, but when maxed out, I can say that the game is eye-candy. Even when walking through a scary wood, I couldn’t help but admire the environment no matter if it was day or night time. Additionally, the soundtrack is creepy and helps create an immersive atmosphere throughout the entire game.
I found Blair Witch to be one of the most stunning and scary games that I’ve played in a while, with the bonus of hanging out with Bullet. The thing I appreciated is that Blair Witch relies on creating an utterly creepy atmosphere instead of only relying on jumps scares, which there are plenty of. On top of that, I enjoyed the tape feature and how it affected the environment around me.
Luckily, while Blair Witch is inspired by its movie, it follows a different story. Although the tone is there, this is an experience that horror fans will feel right at home with. The game does enough to stand out on its own and there’s a lot here to be discovered to keep the player interested in the uncovering the story. I’m glad I decided to face my fears with Blair Witch.
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