New Twists on an Old Franchise
By: Salvatore Cento
Coming out in the shadows of the high profile “The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan,” another survival horror game which was published by Bandai Namco games, “The Blair Witch Project” was released on August 30th, 2019.
Not only is this an unusual movie property to be adapted into such a medium, but the publisher is Lionsgate Games. Hearing those two words together was another unlikely pairing. To balance that out though, the developer was Bloober Team, the same ones that were responsible for the making of “Layers of Fear” 1 and 2 so all hope should not be lost.
Diving head first, one will notice the care that was put in regarding the visuals of the game as well as the sound. Just like in the movie, the player will come to sometimes feel as though they are actually lost in the forest. Before events start to ramp up, suspicious noises from all around will definitely make the player jump, stop, and look right away to where they think the disturbance is coming from.
The inclusion of a backstory for the main character helps players connect and understand why the character is freaking out (beyond the obvious reasons).
But after playing and watching other people experience what the game has to offer, there are numerous reasons why Metacritic gave this game a 68 out of 100 for the PC version and a 71 out of 100 for the Xbox One version.
The most obvious of these is the lack of the main antagonist—the witch. I understand why they didn’t include more of the character, but in a world where anything could have been created, some liberties could have been taken to give us more than just ten lines of dialogue here and there.
I will not complain about any of the mechanics of the dog you are given from the start of the game. However, I will complain about the trade off made here with the implementation.
Firstly, the add on feels like it was made last minute. Secondly, just for a cheap pull of the heart strings made later on, the feeling of being alone was sacrificed.
You have someone else coming with you, someone to fill that empty void that would make the slightest event that much more terrifying. Without the animal, the only other people in the game that players could interact with would be so far away that a walkie talkie or cell phone was needed. The feeling of isolation would resonate even more.
Not that the overall story gets any worse or the pacing becomes broken, but after playing through the whole horrifying first person experience, I can say that “The Blair Witch Project” was two different projects that were forced to be combined into one.
The first part, albeit creepy at times, consists of walking through overgrown trails, scarcely discovering troublesome clues, and having day turn into night just like that, which is nothing compared to the second part of the story: walking the same path over and over in a small, dark house, having voices from the past constantly taunt you, being physically thrown around, and seeing your sins come back and haunt you.
I would like to finish off with this. Even with the con’s, “The Blair Witch Project” is enjoyable as a game. Dare I say, even better than “Man of Medan.”
But be prepared, after everything was said and done, a cleansing of the player’s soul is due. Go outside. Watch a comedy. I wouldn’t suggest going to sleep.