Where do I start, it’s been years since the cult classic film Blair Witch, an atmospheric and ground breaking show piece on the big screen, packed with a chilling story and that got pulses racing, crowds in the theatres screaming In fear, and many hiding behind the sofa as they watched at home. Fast forward to the present and us gamers are treated to a story based on the cinematic lore that is Blair Witch.
Evil hides in the woods, and you should be very afraid, Inspired by the film and the mystical legend of Blair Witch, now’s your chance to experience an all new story driven psychological horror game with epic proportions. The game plays on your fears and monitor’s your reactions to this extraordinary impressive chilling adventure, taking your stress and fear levels into account and forming a story with distinctive alternative endings.
Blair Witch the game has been developed by the creative minds behind the critically acclaimed Layers of Fear, So the team at Bloober know a thing or two about how to create an interactive experience where fear plays the main role, toying with the emotions and mind of the player and forming an original story in the process. So, who better than a team possessing natural narrative talent, to take the on the narrative of game set around an emotionally charged cinematic lore such as Blair Witch.
Bloober Team have done their research and studied all that is Blair witch. From the amazing film and its descriptive story telling behind the camera, to the very concept of the iconic woods in which the film is set. The developers have quite literally taken the engaging evil hiding in the Black Hills Forest theme to new heights and produced a game with an eerie supernatural story driven mystery. The games creators have also concentrated on nailing all the chills, spooks, jump scenes and constructed a first-person horror game that studies you and manipulates your decisions.
Will you stay focused as your darkest fears come to light? Beware the Witch lurking in the blackness of the woods, players should only enter at their own risk!
Now let’s set the scene of the game, it’s 1996 and young boy has gone missing in the Black Hills Forest near Burkittsville, Maryland. You take the playing role of Ellis, a former police officer with a troubled past. Fearing for the boy’s safety Ellis want’s nothing more than to join the search for the boy that’s disappeared and help bring him home.
What starts as a bread and butter investigation, for a knowledgeable former police officer like yourself, quickly transforms into a reoccurring nightmare that simply won’t end. As Ellis you must confront your own fears, your troubled passed and the evil enchanting Blair Witch, a mysterious force that haunts and lurks in the woods, studying it’s prey like a rat in a maze.
The basic narrative is clear for this hair raising, daunting yet fascinating challenge and there will be no spoilers here I assure you, but how the story and its ending plays out is entirely on you. Your approach to the game and your reactions to the surroundings, really impact the story, as does your attention for detail and how you handle the natural and supernatural elements. The Key is you the player.
A story of human descent into darkness. As Ellis you must find your way through the haunted woods with just your loyal dog named Bullet by your side. It’s up to you to navigate your way through a cursed forest that warps and distorts both time and space. Throughout your journey in the woods you will encounter your greatest challenge, a battle between your sanity and the Blair Witch’s curse. Make a stand against the powers of the Blair Witch, whilst fighting your own sanity (decaying before your eyes), that of a man burdened by events from his past.
Fight your fears in a precarious scenery full of tension, darkness and atmospheric suspense. As you go deeper into your surroundings, the woods become a much darker sinister place, and the sense of danger becomes ever more apparent. How you react and behave under pressure against the unpredictable nature and menacing powers at work, will teach you more about yourself, then you will ever know.
Blair Witch the game features a number of alternative endings to keep players on there toes and coming back for more. Now the alternative endings feature in story driven games are not new, however what sets this game apart from others is the fact that there are new decision wheels or dialogue options which influence the storytelling mechanics. Blair Witch the game takes a very different approach, a less intrusive and greater immersion-breaking role.
The game tracks how you play and key characteristics and sums up your reactions in the background to help shape influence the story. The idea behind this is simple, instead of A/B choices what better way to base a game around the players experience then to how you act instinctively throughout, a game that relieves the need for decision making and helps shape the story into a natural path.
Blair Witch plays really well and achieves the daunting atmospheric approach it’s going for. The level design plays out in acts, and is fantastically formed, although linear the game has the right mix of exploration and direction throughout. The backdrop of the game and its surroundings are excellently crafted and add to the whole unnerving yet fascinating story.
I love the way that the game is played on pure instinctive reactions, although you are obviously making decisions on journey, they are subtle that you don’t even realise that you have made a choice in the games programming that leads you on to a different path in terms of story.
“Blair Witch highlights relationships and issues surrounding mental health, which play a key role in the games process.”
The story itself is intriguing and captivating at the same time, with excellent use of items to collect, each in itself revealing a piece of the puzzle. The iconic camcorder from the film features in the game and becomes your ally, not only in a recording the facts sense or shining a light, but with some excellent additions of being able to manipulate time and opening doors that weren’t available to you on the first glance.
The combat sections are a nice touch, as you try to fight off the supernatural powers. Shining your torch plays a key role as you look to fend off what’s hiding in the mist of darkness.
Blair Witch highlights relationships and issues surrounding mental health, which play a key role in the games process. A game that plays on the fears and stress of its character’s, portraying the very real aspects of danger in the thick woods at night whilst fighting against you inner most destructive fears. With Bullet by your side, your trusty companion influences your characters wellbeing. The relationship that your characters has for his dog, is that of a loving trust, and its fantastic to see it unfold throughout, playing an excellent role in the games story.
Overall, Blair Witch the game is a captivating and immersive experience, with excellent instinctive gameplay, game that everyone should try…. best enjoyed with the light’s low and the headphones on for the ultimate spooky walk in the woods.
- Right mix of exploration and direction
- Alternative endings
- Instinctive play
- Path not always clear
- Combat elements could be smoother
- A little short