Blair Witch Official Story Trailer - Gamescom 2019
Who it Caters to
Way back before the million movies that used found footage tropes, there was The Blair Witch Project. When it was released back in 1999, The Blair Witch Project showed that horror didn’t need to have millions of dollars poured into it to make the movie spooky or unsettling. It took a simple theme of unknown horror within a creepy woods and allowed the audience to be scared due to their own fears. While The Blair Witch Project wasn’t the best received movie in terms of reviews, this series led to a genre changing movement that has even entered the gaming realm. Developer/publisher Bloober Team—known for Layers of Fear and Observer—have given The Blair Witch Project a new lease on life in their aptly named Blair Witch title. Can this horror game transcend the simplicity of the film to create a truly horrifying experience? We entered the woods ourselves here at Honey’s Anime and we have our thoughts on this nightmare inducing title. Welcome to our review of Blair Witch for the Xbox One. Be ready, reader; horror doesn’t always need to be seen to be deadly.
What to Expect
Blair Witch is a first-person horror/adventure title where you control a young man looking for a lost child. With your faithful dog companion, you must navigate through Black Hills Forest in search of clues to how this child suddenly vanished. However, Black Hills Forest is infamous for not being a normal place as within these woods lies a danger most dare not think about. As you piece together clues to the child’s disappearance, you will deal with a multitude of nightmares both seen…and unseen. Can you escape with your mind intact or will the woods consume you?
Ellis has failed in life. Once a proud police officer, Ellis ended up failing a mission to protect someone and his life spiraled out of control. Losing his love, his job and his sanity, Ellis ended up believing that redemption would never be within his grasp. When a young child disappears in Black Hills Forest, Ellis finds a chance to redeem himself and takes his dog partner—Bullet—to the forest in search of the child. As Ellis enters these woods, he will come to face his own demons of a past gone wrong and a powerful supernatural force known simply as…The Blair Witch.
Bloober Team has definitely earned their medals when it comes to making first-person horror titles. Blair Witch—based on the original 1999 movie—puts players into a world of horror that transcends the usual gimmicky jump scares and spooky monsters. Like The Blair Witch Project, Blair Witch feels like an experience where you’re behind the camera watching as a doomed individual survives within a waking nightmare. Needless to say, Blair Witch is a spectacular game but if you need more convincing, we’re about to tell you why it’s so great. Here is our full review of Blair Witch for the Xbox One.
Blair Witch puts players into the shoes of a PTSD survivor named Ellis. Due to his multitude of failed exploits in life, Ellis has begun to truly let his mind lapse into darkness. The only thing that brings Ellis back into reality is his pet partner Bullet who grounds his fleeting sanity. Players will give Ellis one more chance to undo the mistakes of the past as they begin a mission to save a lost young boy who seems to have vanished out of thin air. Your journey will put you into Black Hills Forest where deadly threats await and we promise it’s not just the fear of getting lost or Ellis’ mind shattering that will be your biggest worries.
As a first-person horror title, Blair Witch is mainly about exploration. As you enter this large forest, you will notice immediately that the forest isn’t a nice place by any measure of the word. This forest is consuming and as you explore you’ll often feel almost overwhelmed by pathways to see and dead ends left and right. As far as the exploration element goes, Blair Witch nails the tense atmosphere a horror game needs. Rather then be in a creepy abandoned building—though there is one movie fans will remember—or a spooky village, Blair Witch uses a location that feels real and alive. Black Hills Forest is spooky and constantly space invading as you feel a presence around you that you just can’t describe. Yet, as you play into Blair Witch that so-called unseen presence will become one of the threats you’ll face and its where Blair Witch gets a bit of action to throw into the mix.
Within the forest lies the threat of the unseen—usually only heard—Blair Witch. With her unknown powers, she launches strange semi-translucent beings at you during the night and you’re going to learn that light is your best friend here. Using your flashlight, Ellis can kill these monsters by shining his beam on them several times until they burn away. There will be other threats to face, but don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Ellis is often with his strongest weapon yet his buddy Bullet who acts as a defensive force and a navigation tool. Bullet will find items for you while exploring, can provide Ellis sanity recover—you’ll learn what we mean when you begin playing for yourself—and can even tell you where enemies hide. Bullet is the best force in Blair Witch and relying on him will not only keep Ellis sane but will help your nerves strengthen as Blair Witch gets more intense.
Now all of these elements sound cool, but do they work together? The answer to that is a simple, yes. Blair Witch makes exploration work incredibly by giving players a feeling of being lost and often confused but always able to get back on course thanks to Bullet or just a few seconds of thinking out where to head to next. When combat occurs, it never feels as if Blair Witch becomes a supernatural action title but a means of surviving against a force that always remains almost unseen.
Your camera too will be your last main items which acts as a strange multitool device. Ellis can find red tapes scattered in the forest which show various footage of different people—some of which could be familiar—and the locations they go through. Players can use these various bits of footage to alter the environment such as open a door that is locked and/or move a fallen tree back up right. The camera will also be your means of navigating some areas where your flashlight is made useless by supernatural powers. Blair Witch is chock full of cool ideas that aren’t just cool but work so incredibly well together.
Blair Witch isn’t just a good working game but also looks quite spectacular. Bloober Team nailed the feeling of being in a spacious and foreboding forest to the letter. We love how trees move with slight motions, how day/night changes the overall aesthetic of the forest and how the monsters you face just scream spooky but not because you can actually see them. When you’re occasionally in non-forest areas—such as the house from the original movie—you will be amazed even further with the fine amount of detail Bloober Team put into Blair Witch. Blair Witch might not be the most beautiful looking horror title ever, but it looks amazing and that’s needed in a horror title like this one.
Adding to the visuals is the audio element to Blair Witch. We HIGHLY recommend using some strong headphones while playing Blair Witch as the sound will whisk you away into the heart of this horror experience. The rustling of the leaves under your feet or the unsettling sounds of something in the distance are made to be heard with headphones and just make Blair Witch goosebumps inducing experience.
Now if Blair Witch had any flaws there are a few we could make mention of but note they really don’t ruin the experience. You will indeed get lost often in Blair Witch, but it can be more frustrating when you get lost because paths that seem to be passable turn out to be hit with the classic invisible wall roadblock. There’s also occasional hammy acting—though this is a game based off a B-like movie—that can ruin some immersion but it’s not often. Again, these minor issues never caused us here at Honey’s Anime to complain often though so we really feel as they are just minor issues that truly aren’t game breaking.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Blair Witch does something quite impressive. While it might be based off a low reviewed—but legacy inducing—horror movie, Blair Witch actually excels where the movie failed. Ellis is a protagonist we loved to follow through his nightmarish journey and we equally loved all the elements within Blair Witch. Exploration, combat and narration all blend together nearly perfectly which creates a true immersion grabbing experience. Is Blair Witch the best horror game ever? No, but it comes darn near close by placing players into a nightmare that almost feels real at every turn. If you loved Bloober Team’s previous horror masterpieces then you’ll have another to add to your collection in the form of Blair Witch!
Excellent gameplay that marries exploration with combat in a way most horror games can’t do.
Wonderful narrative that will leave you in awe more often than not.
Truly immersive visuals and audio that scream the need for a good monitor and headphones.
Multiple endings for multiple playthroughs.
Bullet is a great tool.
Occasional annoying invisible walls and odd glitches.
Don’t always expect the voice acting to be perfect.
Honey's Final Verdict:
We are amazed that a silly horror movie could lead to an excellent horror game. Blair Witch nails everything we want from a horror game from the high-octane horror to the psychological thrills within. We could go on for hours on things to expect while playing Blair Witch but half of the game is best left untold. If you enter Blair Witch and its maddening nightmare, you’ll see horrors that you won’t expect and it makes the experience all that much scarier. Are you planning on picking up Blair Witch for Xbox One or PC? Comment below to let us know! If you want even more game and anime themed reviews/articles, be sure to keep stuck to our hive here at Honey’s Anime! Now, excuse us while we try to sleep with the lights on…
Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!