Many gamers forget that there was an honest to goodness Blair Witch video game that was released fairly recently. Developed by The Blooper Team in 2019, this newest installment of the horror of Black Hills forest takes place during the year 1996. Loosely connected to the films, this title focuses on a former cop Ellis Lynch who is on the search of a missing 9-year-old kid named Peter Shannon. Teamed up with his trusty canine companion Bullet, Lynch ventures into the infamous woods to track down the elusive child while unraveling the folklore of Elly Kedward. Naturally, it was only fitting to have the Blair Witch IP become a survival horror game within the interactive medium. There were many directions to where this project could have gone and the survival horror sub-genre is definitely the most natural. Reviews for this game can be mixed, but jumping into the shoes of a character within the Blair Witch mythos can be alluring for many horror fans out there.
Of course, this game is played from a first-person perspective. These woods located in Burkittsville, Maryland are dense and riddled with clues explaining the narrative. Generally, this game is a wide-linear experience. It may have an “open-world” feel to it, but it’s not truly open-world in the traditional sense. It can be easy to get turned around and even lost in this game, but that is actually an important factor in the Blair Witch series. The woods feel alive, dark, and brimming with dread. Because of this, Blair Witch the video game is accompanied by some rather interesting features. With all the survival horror games out there, it can be a difficult feat to have one’s project stand above the rest. There is no doubt that this game is a slow-burning process and gamers will need to be in a particular mood to really dig this title.
Way of the Witch
There are supernatural events happening through the journey of Blair Witch the video game. One, for instance, is associated with the gameplay itself. Lynch isn’t empty-handed while venturing into the woods. He comes with a backpack that is full of tools. The most notable is a camcorder that he can use to see special items in the dark. Other devices that Lynch can use are a walkie-talkie and cell phone. Now, these aren’t really associated with the actual gameplay itself, rather they provide optional conversations to which players can choose to listen to, or not. Choosing to listen to these calls during the play-through will determine which ending will be unlocked at the end of the game. Yes, Blair Witch does indeed come with its fair share of endings with each being drastically different from one other.
With the camcorder, Lynch can insert either a blue or red cassette into the player. The 90s technology in this game may seem archaic compared to what we have today, but that’s part of the charm. Blue cassettes are just simple recordings that provide exposition to the player. The red tapes, however, have the power to manipulate time. If there is a boulder blocking your path, then just simply rewind back to the time before it landed there. After doing that, it’ll disappear in real-time. It’s an interesting mechanic that really gives Blair Witch the video game its own voice. Of course, finding collectibles is another factor in this game that is pretty standard as with any other first-person horror title. With the help of Bullet, Ellis will find things like dog tags, cassettes, stick figures, and clothing all of which help drive the story forward in the most subtle of sense.
What Lurks in the Murk
There is combat in Blair Witch the video game. The thing is that Lynch doesn’t really have the weapons to incapacitate enemies, rather he just simply wards them off. Shadow beings will spring out from the dark to attack and the only way to vaporize them is by shining Ellis’ flashlight in their direction. In combat, Bullet is an integral tool during encounters. He will act as a “warning signal” pointing and barking in the direction of where the threat is. Other enemies will need to be avoided, as well as distracted in some cases. Looking at them will spell instant death. The mechanics in combat does provide a sense of helplessness and is overall accurate to the films. Speaking of film accuracy, the game will also play with the gamer’s mind by having them walk in circles while in the woods. These segments of the game are looping patterns that will need to be broken by trying out different pathways.
Overall, Blair Witch does have a looming feel of creepiness to it. There are new locations to explore during the course of the story, as well as iconic ones. Bullet does give this game a small sense of comfort, knowing that he will be by Ellis’ side to the bitter end. Players can interact with him and even give him treats. These are small things, but they do give tools to bond with Bullet during this dark adventure. Lastly, there are also puzzles to solve while trekking through these woods. Nothing too jarring, mostly just finding ways to bypass obstacles by finding fuses for a breaker and so on. The Blair Witch herself is present during the entire playthrough. She will taunt, seduce and even manipulate Ellis during key moments. Now, will players be able to see her? Perhaps, but not without a price.
Whispers in the Wicks
This game has been out for a few years, but it kind of slipped under the radar for many gamers out there. This game is a solid horror adventure with some nifty mechanics to it. If anyone is looking for a dense, dank, psychological horror adventure then Blair Witch the video game might be worth checking out. It is now available for PlayStation, Xbox, PC, Amazon Luna, Nintendo Switch, and Oculus. Even though there are three Blair Witch movies out there as well as a mockumentary series, this video game is a worthy addition to the entire mythos.