Blair Witch Xbox One X Review

Blair Witch succeeds in delivering a fantastic video game based on the franchise and one of the best horror games this year.

By Grayshadow, Posted 03 Sep 2019

Blair Witch is a polarizing game. On one hand, Bloober Team does a fantastic job crafting an atmospheric and often frightening adventure. On the other hand, the game includes random glitches that require restarting the game to resolve. Making the only thing holding Blair Witch back is the preventable technical issues.

Blair Witch,NoobFeed,Bloober Team,

Blair Witch has you in control of Ellis. A police officer who has volunteered to search for a missing child named Peter. Despite his coworkers and ex-wife expressing their concern over this decision, Ellis dives into the forest with his dog Bullet to search for the child.

Bloober Team could've made this adventure into an Outlast clone, considering they're working with the franchise that popularized the found footage technique but decided against it. Instead, combining both found footage with a first-person adventure. It works very well as the developers remain loyal to the source material but in a different way. Having the forest act in a supernatural way and showing Ellis decaying psyche. 

Much of Blair Witch explores Ellis broken life and how he is attempting to find redemption for his actions. Speaking to his wife and boss helps expand on this but these are optional. Which can lead to 1 of multiple endings but how you get these finales are very subtle.

Blair Witch,NoobFeed,Bloober Team,

The atmospheric tone makes Blair Witch one of Bloober Team's best work. The unnerving tension of the forest combined with the haunting sounds during the night make you crave the safety daytime. Despite the graphical look being less than appealing the overall tone of the game kept me on edge throughout. The combination of lighting, sound, and danger along with Ellis slowly losing his grip on reality created the perfect storm for a genuinely frighting horror game.

Gameplay has you exploring the dense forest and to prevent players from getting lost a helpful canine joins Ellis in this search. Named Bullet, the German Shepard invaluable to Ellis, locating critical clues, tracking, and keeping Ellis on the right path. You're given ample control over Bullet's actions with an action wheel. This interface allows you to command Bullet to seek items, stay, or pet him for being a good boy. A lot of the commands are unnecessary, such as "stay" since Bullet is immortal and can act independently to the player's benefit. You can manuel command Bullet to search for clues but occasionally he'll do it anyway and bring critical items to Ellis. In addition, if you wander for too long, Bullet will point you in the right direction by barking at you, highlighting a white waypoint that's impossible to miss.

Blair Witch surprisingly includes combat. In recent Bloober Team games, combat is usually limited to hiding but here Ellis has to fight. It's impossible to discuss the creatures without spoilers but the execution of them makes each encounter an intense one. The basic strategy is that Bullet growls in there location and you flash your light at them but the way the creatures' move, the sounds they make, and overall tone and atmosphere makes each one of these encounters truly scary.

Another major element is the use of video footage. Players can find footage that can alter reality, providing clues to Peter's whereabouts by reversing time and causing items that should not be there or past actions to repeat themselves. These puzzles are mostly simple, requiring you to simply match by the timing on the video to the situation you're in. Hunting for these items can be a chore but thanks to Bullet it's not too bad.

Blair Witch,NoobFeed,Bloober Team,

Ellis has other traditional tools in his arsenal. This includes a walkie talkie to communicate with the rest of the search party, his cellphone constantly losing its signal, and other miscellaneous items that expand his past. Bloober Team even went the extra mile in detailing the phone by providing optional ring tones, mini-games such as Snake, and changing the theme. Which is a bit upsetting considering the technical state of the game.

Blair Witch has a lot of technical problems and worst of all is that they randomly come up. Sometimes Ellis will get trapped in the environment's geometry, the interface to select items won't work, or Ellis won't speak when needed. During my second playthrough, lots of new dialogue I never knew existed started to play. All of these can be resolved by restarting the game and the checkpoint system is decent enough that you don't lose a lot of progress if its one of those progressing halting bugs. But regardless, the frequency of these glitches had me wondering when the next glitch would manifest. Something I rarely encountered in Bloober's other projects Observer and Layers of Fear 2.

Blair Witch,NoobFeed,Bloober Team,

Blair Witch is one of Bloober Team's best games. The adventure takes the foundation of The Blair Witch franchise and uses it in a different way while staying loyal to certain aspects. Learning about Ellis past as his mind is tore apart by the unseen supernatural force is unsettling. With intense skirmishes, close calls, and emotional decisions that lead 1 of many endings. But it's clear the game could've benefited from a few more weeks of development to fix the technical problems. Blair Witch succeeds in delivering a fantastic video game based on the franchise and one of the best horror games this year.
 

Adam Siddiqui,
Senior Editor, NoobFeed
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General Information

Blair Witch

75/100

Platform(s): Xbox One, PC
Publisher(s): Microsoft
Developer(s): Bloober Team
Genres: Horror
Themes: Supernatural
Release Date: 2019-08-30

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