[PlayStation 4] Blair Witch Review

by the_nmac

Journey into Black Hills Forest in search of a missing 9-year-old boy while battling the forces within the forest and your internal demons. Check our Blair Witch review!

It’s 1996. A young boy disappears in the Black Hills Forest near Burkittsville, Maryland. As Ellis, a former police officer with a troubled past, you join the search. What starts as an ordinary investigation soon turns into an endless nightmare as you confront your fears and the Blair Witch, a mysterious force that haunts the woods…

From the creative minds behind the critically acclaimed Layers of Fear, experience first-hand the toll that fear can take on the mind in an original story inspired by the cinematic lore of Blair Witch.

With just your loyal dog Bullet by your side, navigate your way through a cursed forest that warps and distorts both time and space.

Stand against the horrors of the Blair Witch and the decaying sanity of a man burdened by his past.

Blair Witch – Launch Trailer | PS4

Blair Witch was brought back to the big screen with a 2016 adaption, and we’re now getting a new Blair Witch game created by Bloober Team, who is behind the Layers of Fear psychological horror series. If any team had the pedigree to take on the Blair Witch series, it’s this team. Let’s see how they did on PlayStation 4!

You play the role of Ellis Lynch, a retired police officer who enters Black Hils Forest hot on the tail of a nine-year-old boy who has disappeared. It’s not just Ellis that searching though, as you also have a dog companion: Bullet, a good boy who will help you search the haunted forest as well. Blair Witch allows you to customize Bullet to make him your good boy, giving you a reason to become emotionally attached to your dog.

Blair Witch Review - 1

You start your journey early on as all of this is taking place in 1996. You have a few simple tools, including an ancient Nokia cellphone (if you’re 30 or over, you’ll know what I’m talking about), a two-way radio, and a camcorder. You’ll juggle these tools as you explore the forest looking for young Peter, keeping in touch with your search party. Blair Witch does a really good job keeping you in touch with your team, even while creating a foreboding tone and a feeling of loneliness.

Ellis has some deep issues which he is dealing with and will have some hallucinations that he will have to contend with, as the game expands on his back story. Blair Witch seems to funnel you down a straight path in the forest, and for the most part, it’s a straight forward shot as it tells its story to you on your quest to find the missing boy.

As you continue down, Bullet will be instrumental in your search. You can give Bullet commands having him go looking for clues or keep him close to your side. He will help find things, or alert you to nearby enemies in the forest. Keep in mind that when dispatching Bullet, the further away he is from you, the worse your hallucinations will get. It’s a neat gameplay mechanic in the game, making you choose between having Bullet near you to keep your hallucinations in check, or sending him forward to search for something that could help you, risking your hallucinations kicking in. You can also pet or scold Bullet, and your actions will influence the endings at the end of the game… so I suggest that you treat Bullet like the good boy he is.

Blair Witch Review - 2

While exploring, you will find some old VHS-C tapes (for camcorders), which plays off the Blair Witch vibe. The tapes have found footage on them, creating a neat reality-bending puzzle-solving gameplay mechanic. One of the first puzzles has you stuck as there is a fallen tree in your way, but if you rewind the tape to a point where the tree hadn’t yet fallen, then it will now still be standing in the real world. These puzzles are very creative, giving us some memorable puzzles, giving Blair Witch an extra layer beyond the traditional survival horror we have experienced recently.

In Blair Witch, the ambiance is really strong, sending you into a creepy forest to explore. The game throws some occasional jump scares at you, but not too many, placing them at the right spots. If I had one complaint about the game, it would be its length. The game feels long, especially during its last act. Shortening the game would have helped, speeding up the pace. I find phycological horror games tend to do really well when the length is shortened, keeping them as a more concise experience.

Blair Witch Review - 3

Final Thoughts

Blair Witch is a really strong entry in the survival horror genre, creating a unique creepy stroll through a haunted forest. It does a great job with the puzzles through the camcorder tapes found as you go along. It has a strong look and feel that will keep you engaged, even if, in the end, it does feel like the adventure is a bit too long for its own good.

This Blair Witch review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Lionsgate Games.

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