By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on February 6, 2020
For last year's Gamescom I contacted Bloober Team about the possibility of being present at the press presentation and demo session of the Blair Witch with the following words: 'We heard about your upcoming game Blair Witch and although I'm already scared to death, I would love to play this game!' And yes, as some of you may know, I got invited! How could you know, you ask? Well, because we told you about it in our Gamescom 2019 Report.
A lot has happened on the Blair Witch front in the meantime. The game was originally released not long after Gamescom on August 30 , 2019 as a digital version, exclusively for PC and Xbox One. Luckily, the PS4 players didn't have to wait too long, because three months later the game was also available in the PSN store. But what if you are a game collector and you want a physical copy of the game to proudly display in your game cabinet? Well, if that is the case, then you had to wait just a little bit longer... But, finally, on January 30 your wish came true. Yes ladies and gentlemen, the physical version of Blair Witch for console is out now!
I used this time to prepare myself for playing this first person psychological survival horror video game. The demo session confirmed my gut feeling, that this is indeed a scary game! So after five months of therapy and survival trips in the nearby woods, I think I might be ready to try and play the Blair Witch game, although I'm still going to be scared as hell. Oh well, anything for my dear readers, right?
Let me start with some very good news! You won't need to enter the Black Hills Forest nearby Burkittsville, Maryland all by your lonesome. You're blessed with having an awfully cute dog with you. His name is Bullet and he is a fierce and brave shepherd dog who will always be by your side. You can pet him, feed him snacks and he can find items for you. He also can sense danger and will warn you about it. So why do Bullet and main character Ellis Lynch, a former cop and veteran, go for a walk in this Black Hill Forest, I hear you ask? Well, a young boy called Peter Shannon has gone missing and Ellis wants to join the search party in order to help find the kid.
The first two chapters are okay, it's still daylight in the forest and there is time to learn the basics of the game. Ellis is not a superhero or something, he didn't even bring much basic survival stuff with him. Most of the time you'll need your (Nokia) phone, your walky-talky and your flashlight. And of course the dog snacks for Bullet. During your travels through the woods, you will not only collect clues about the disappearance of the Peter Shannon but, strangely enough, also items that have something to do with your own past. And, last but not least, you will find and use a 90's camcorder. It offers you two very cool features in this game. You can use it to play and pause video tapes to manipulate the environment and you can use it to reveal hidden tracks.
Wait... What? Use a camcorder to manipulate the environment? Now, now, Diana; I think you may be telling a little lie here. No, I'm not, I assure you. I'm telling the truth here! You see, you find tapes as you search the environment, and these tapes can be played back in the camcorder. Now let's say you're in front of a locked door. If this door is opened and closed in a video, you can actually open said door by pausing the video right as the door is opened there. If you put away the camcorder, the door will also be opened in real life. Neat, right? This feature enables you to solve puzzles throughout the game and is very cool to use!
As you can imagine, especially if you actually saw the movies of the Blair Witch trilogy, things will get eerie pretty soon. A dark forest is already scary enough, and the developers did a very good job of keeping you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire game. The tricky part is that you never know when Ellis might be in real danger or when his mind is just playing tricks on him (or should I say on you?). Plus, the way you play the game effects which of the multiple endings you will see. And, of course, there is only one super important question on your mind throughout the entire game: Will Bullet survive?
Blair Witch is set in the year 1996, two years after the events of the first movie and is definitely has the references. During the intro you will see the Welcome to Burketsville sign, stick totems are hanging in trees from time to time and there are rumors that you can actually see the corner were Heather saw Mike standing in the original movie. I think it's a good thing that the developers have used the setting and concept of the movies and used it to create an original story, instead of trying to "just copy" a movie into a video game. The story of Ellis is an interesting one to unravel and it's emotional, sad and disturbing. I love the thrill of horror games with a good story and a jump scare from time to time and Blair Witch had it all. Playing Blair Witch was an excellent journey, one that I will not easily forget!