Analysis of Blair Witch, lost in the forest of terror

Written by Kamran Haider

A boy has disappeared in the Black Hills forest in Maryland, and Ellis, pursued by a dark past, decides to look for him next to the local police. Bloober Games sign this vision in the video game of Blair Witch, with interesting ideas, but without brightness. We review all its aspects in its analysis.

Maybe, doing a bit of revisionism, The Blair Witch Project was not a great movie, but all of us who lived its premiere understood the phenomenon and its marketing, we even got carried away by it. The mind, which is always seduced by rumor and conspiracy, wanted to believe that there could be some truth in which a film had been made mounting real footage found in a forest. Sure, it was another era (1999), but the trick worked and by the way, it popularized the genre of found footage. In 2016, when Blair Witch was released, These were other times completely, and although we can again affirm that, academically, this sequel did not revolutionize the genre, it did manage to understand again how the viewer’s mind works. The trinket marketing trick was no longer going to work, but its creators realized that expanding mythologies, providing the film with certain clues for fans to connect the points and create theories … That continues to seduce just as well. That is why Blair Witch, without being a high-quality movie, I found it interesting while this foray into the video game has left me much colder.

I do not know if this is because the creators of the video game have not had permission to expand the background, the mythology of Blair Witch or, simply, they have not been able to fully capture its essence, but the result is more like Bloober’s own work Layers of Fear , that to an expansion of the film universe. Even in some moments, his psychological inspiration seemed to pursue the structure of a Silent Hill more than those of the saga itself, because of how our protagonist’s upset past develops and connects. With the forest running catalyst. In any case, whatever the reason, the fan of the saga of movies that have come here with the goal of achieving even a small loophole of information to add to the lore, most likely he feels a bit disappointed. Blair Witch tells a more personal story that affects little or nothing to the myth, as he did, for example, that game of the Lost series. The few events that have to do with the witch herself are anecdotal or relevant.buildings

The system proposed by Blair Witch is interesting, although not too deep.

Even so, I believe that Bloober manages to at least successfully capture the atmosphere of the film, especially in its final stages, where the classic visual tricks we already saw in Layers of Fear return to make its appearance to faithfully represent the changing environment of the spaces dominated by the witch. When they are closed areas it works better, but in the first part of the video game, in the thicket of the forest, these tricks are much less effective. It is easy to locate the limits of the scenarios and the way the video game has to redirect you in them, to the point that perhaps there should have been more effort to hide them better. It also misses the visual power that the study achieved in its previous productions, by almost completely adhering to the forest scenarios and some buildings that we could see in the movies.

However, the study has taken the opportunity to add something we had been asking for a few years: playable mechanics in this passage of terror, in order to prevent it from feeling like a witch train (never better) where we have little else You have to press the stick forward and enjoy the show and some decibel climbs. The system proposed by Blair Witch is interesting, although not too deep to be sustained during the few hours of production . Ellis is accompanied to the forest by his dog Bullet, who will be in charge of guiding him in some moments as well as searching and tracking objects on stage. The mechanics are fine and he makes the representation of the can on the screen so powerful that it makes us worry about him (more than Ellis himself).

It is not enough to establish a deep and complex search and tracking system, as there is hardly any progress in it. The same goes for the camera, which helps us solve some of the puzzles we found during the adventure. Finding and rewinding a series of tapes, we can alter reality, but the process is always the same, without any twist that makes the puzzle more complex next time. By not trying to develop any of his mechanics, these become simple processes that the player has to go through to continue with the story.

With “combat” the same thing happens, in away. In some moments the “monster” will appear and we must follow the sound and look of Bullet to light it with the flashlight. In practice, just turn on yourself and wait for the vibration of the remote and hold the flashlight for a few seconds. In the final part of the game, where everything is more similar to the universe on which it is based, there is another somewhat better mechanics, but in general, the work in the confrontations aspect seems rushed and out of place, as if forced to add some lethal element that the player felt like a real threat.

Blair Witch, camera in hand

Nevertheless, Blair Witch leaves a couple of moments in the memory. The first walk through the forest correctly develop the approach, with a small, but the well-built introduction and the secondary characters, as well as the representation of the forest, capture the player’s attention. Although it marries little with the mythology of the saga, the game dares to examine in an interesting way a psychological problem such as post-traumatic stress disorder, and the small crumbs of bread that it leaves throughout the adventure until it understands all the situation helps as a secondary thread to the plot.

Technically, our game on an Xbox One X has not had many problems, although in some moments we have been stuck with the scenarios. The frame rate at 30 frames per second has remained fairly stable, but we expected more from the resolution, as the image quality is not clear and the console can with more. The experience in PC, although it allows solving this problem of sharpness, is not so good at the time of handling the rate of frames, that falls on many occasions. Best result in sound, with a binaural sound that helps immersion and in-game elements such as the detection of threats and the location of our faithful canine friend.

There are too many missed opportunities when it comes to capturing the essence of the genre.

I think, in fact, that things work best in Blair Witch when the game relaxes and doesn’t try to force development. Moments in which it focuses on the myth itself or the conversations we have with the other characters, for example. Thanks to a walkie-talkie and our 90s phoneWe can talk sometimes with other characters that offer us some more clues about Ellis’s past. All this helps the plot, mainly because it is difficult to empathize with the protagonist, and there is a strange absence of terror or panic in his behavior and in his responses, contrary to what one would expect. Ellis takes a long time to react when something happens that should be creepy or, at least, completely impossible to happen. In general, he never loses his temper and this helps us as players not to do it either.

Perhaps that is Blair Witch’s biggest point of conflict: failing to instill fear in the player during a good part of the adventure. The final segments help much more to create real tension, but when you get to them the game has already released too much ballast. In the introduction, you are advised that some decisions will help define the end of the adventure, but although it tries to escape from the classic systems of elections to achieving it, the outcomes barely have differences, with a flat and vague text that ends up completing the future of some secondary characters. I can not say that this walkthrough the Black Hills forest has not had any impact, since the vision of Bloober at least fulfills the task of moving the helplessness of being in an impossible place and without escape, and some additions such as our dog Bullet are very much appreciated, but there are too many missed opportunities when it comes to capturing the essence of the genre, both from the film and in the interactive medium itself, while missing a good opportunity to expand the universe of the witch of Blair.

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Blair Witch is an interesting approach to the myth of the films by Bloober, who takes advantage of the situation to continue adding mechanics to his more exploratory terror of his previous projects. However, there is a lack of development in these mechanics that feel rushed, while it fails to expand the mythology of the universe of the Witch of Blair, concentrating more on the personal history of a somewhat bland protagonist. Despite its crescendo rhythm, at the end of the night, Blair Witch fails to catch as much as the witch herself does with her victims.

  • Our faithful dog Bullet and his behavior
  • The final moments of the adventure better capture the essence of the movies
  • Lack of development and depth of in-game mechanics
  • Clashes against simple and unimpressive enemies
  • Unable to delve or expand in the mythology of the 2016 film
  • Some insipid and repetitive scenarios

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Kamran Haider

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