Also available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Oculus Quest, and Windows
I'm a sucker for horror in general - movies, books, games, anime, everything - and I'm an absolute slut for the found footage subgenre of horror in cinema. As such, I absolutely adored Blair Witch Project despite the flaws. When I saw that there was a Blair Witch game on Switch, then, I immediately ordered a copy. Of course, I then put it on a shelf to sit untouched for nearly six months, but I finally got around to actually playing it. It's...well, it's not bad.
You play as this Army veteran turned disgraced sheriff's deputy named Ellis as he joins the search party for a lost kid in the woods. As you search for the kid with your dog, Bullet, you start to notice that something isn't quite right. Clues found in plain sight that the rest of the search party somehow missed. Landmarks that no one else on the search party can seem to find when you try to meet up. Camcorder tapes left throughout the woods. As the psychological horror element of the game begins to pick up, that's when the game's one real strength starts to shine - atmosphere. The game doesn't really have more than a couple of enemy encounters until the end, and the ones it does have before that are super short, so you don't have the kind of horror that you get from Resident Evil or Outlast. For most of the game, it feels like if Myst were a horror game; you're just walking around, solving (pretty light) puzzles, and picking up clues here and there about the world and its lore.
Unfortunately, the atmosphere is really all the game has going for it. The story is good, but it's not going to impress anyone as it's basically a non-Konami Silent Hill; the protagonist has some deep-seeded trauma and/or guilt, finds himself lost in a bizarre world of terror that doesn't play by the normal rules of physics, and he's forced to confront his inner demons. It's not bad, but it's not exactly reinventing the wheel here. What is bad are the visuals. Even the Xbox One footage I saw looked like a late-gen Xbox 360 game, and on Switch, it could pass for a PS3 launch title. I'm the poster child of "graphics aren't what matter in a game," but even I was playing this game while saying to my roommate, "Dude, look how ugly these textures are." It definitely looks a lot better on the more powerful platforms, but even there, it doesn't look good.
Overall, Blair Witch is an enjoyable horror romp, and it's a solid pick to play during October for a spoopy game (hence why I played it when I did), but it's certainly not an exemplar of the game design or a pillar of the genre. The story is pretty standard, but the execution is pretty good, and the end of the game really picks up the adrenaline and mixes it well with the horror atmosphere. I can't I'd recommend Blair Witch at the normal $30 price tag, but if you see it on sale for $20 or less and are a fan of horror games and don't mind a quasi-walking sim, I reckon it's worth it for that price. I enjoy my time with it, and I certainly don't regret paying to import a Japanese copy for Switch to have on my shelf, but it's a pretty mid-tier game all things considered.
My Rating - 3 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.