Blacktail is a game that digs into certain content that is rich with potential, yet has generally remained untouched, which is Slavic lore. This game tells the story of a young witch named Yaga who was exiled from her home during early medieval times. Unbeknownst to her own past, her missing memories begin to manifest themselves into apparitions that haunt her throughout the woods. Left with nowhere to turn, Yaga must hunt down these spirits and smite them in order to reclaim her memories and discover who and what she really is. Developer The Parasight is obviously weaving a tale about the origins of Baba Yaga and it is an enticing path to explore. This new title drips with darkness in which fits nicely with the game’s time period and mythos. This is going to be a survival-horror FPS that will involve ancient weaponry and spellcasting.
A first-person shooter that lets players take control of a spellbinding person isn’t something that’s generally easy to find in the video game industry. The most recent incarnations would be The Pit and Ghostwire: Toyko. However, with Blacktail, players will be gripped in a story that’s both a character piece and psychological horror, in some cases. This game isn’t going to be grounded in reality by any means. It’s crafted as more of a dark fable, complete with exotic locales and mystical beasts. This is going to be a tightly knit, straightforward story that will offer robust gameplay mechanics, but it may be a little “short” for some players. With that said, if someone is looking for a dark fantasy to where they play as a popular mythological figure, then this game will definitely be a comfortable fit.
Even though Blacktail is strictly a single-player campaign, there will indeed be branching paths to take to help mold Yaga to become the type of witch you want her to be. This game is categorized as a “survival-horror” yes, but it feels more like an action RPG in many respects. The design of the world seems to be heavily influenced by the area of Velen in The Witcher III. Sticky marshes, gnarled trees, warped pathways, and watery hovels seem to make up much of the landscape. Of course, there will be other terrains to visit such as snowy mountains, caves, flowery fields, and others. During the course of the game, Yaga will encounter an assortment of wiley creatures that range from wandering spirits, evil shadow felines and even talking mushrooms. Players can interact with many of these NPCs by choosing to help or slay them. Evidently, this game comes with a “morality system” which will affect the way Yaga plays and the ending of the game.
If a player goes down the “good witch” path, Yaga will excel in crafting and other survival skills, but her combat skills will weaken. On the other side, if she goes down the “bad witch” road she will become a formidable combatant, but her survival skills will be lacking. There’s a trade-off here that players will need to mind this while playing the game. Players will be free to explore the map at their whim. They’ll be able to collect recipes and use them to brew unholy concoctions at the cauldron to unlock different skills. Having varied skills in this game will apparently not only help with the side of doing battles but also bypass certain passageways. Blacktail will have a little bit of a Metroidvania layout which will encourage exploration and careful consideration on how players will use Yaga. Whether good or bad, the forest will begin to react to Yaga’s reputation in a variety of ways like introducing special missions to go.
Hone The Crone
The primary weapon that will be used in Blacktail will be Yaga’s bow and arrow. Naturally, there will be upgradable abilities to spice up Yaga’s projectiles. Magical fire arrows and illuminated arrowheads are only a couple of ways players will be able to juice up their arsenal. Hunting and finding resources will also play a factor in this game, much like it is with Far Cry and its ilk. Even though the art design of this title isn’t as heavy as Hellblade, for instance, it still has a foreboding atmosphere to it. There is a sense of dread and helplessness that can only be quelled through the evolution of Baba Yaga herself. This campaign is clocked in at about 15 hours or so. So, it’s a standard journey that can be completed within only a few days. However, let us keep in mind that there are different ways to experience this adventure, which can warrant replayability.
The main plot element in Blacktail is having Yaga restore her lost memories. This will be basically how the main campaign will progress while playing. Even though there will be a slew of side-quests to check out, there will be no avoiding the boss battles to further the story. After a memory is accumulated, the game will switch into a 2D platformer which tells a chapter of Yaga’s past. It’s a nice little mini-game that gives this title some extra charm and really helps players digest the story in a creative way. Thusly, Yaga will also be accompanied with a black cat that will help her along the way, most likely with contextual clues and tutorials. Baba Yaga was always a mysterious and popular character of Norweigan folklore. Developers embracing the notion of stepping into her shoes might spark a sub-genre of games of this caliber.
Binding The Broomstick
Developer The Parasights actually has an interesting idea, here. Being in the skin of an entity that’s generally feared and looking into their origins puts a new angle on things. Blacktail doesn’t seem to be lined up to break any new ground or anything. However, what it has to offer is something that seems to be generally well-crafted. Anyone that is looking for a dark fairytale outing that won’t be too epically time-consuming might want to look into this title. With any luck, we will be seeing more games that will offer an insight into where these cryptozoological deities come from. There is no release date locked in, yet. However, this game will be coming out on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC upon release.