If you’re a fan of horror entertainment whether that be books or video games then chances are you’ve heard of the 1999 film The Blair Witch Project. It’s one of the best-known movies in that genre and it has influenced many horror games and movies since. Polish developer Bloober Team, who has previously made games such as Observer, Layers of Fear, and the upcoming The Medium, has now made a game called Blair Witch that is set in that same universe as that film. Blair Witch originally released almost a year ago on PC and Xbox One and has since gone to PlayStation 4. Now the game has finally made the trip to the Nintendo Switch. How does this latest Switch port fare?
Blair Witch is a first-person psychological horror adventure game set in where you play as a man named Ellis. Set in 1996, Ellis is searching the forest outside of Burkittsville, Maryland for a child named Peter. Ellis is also joined on this adventure by his German Shepard named Bullet. Now you start finding out that the character you are playing as isn’t such a great guy. Ellis has done a lot of terrible things and also suffers from PTSD from his time in the military. It seems like trying to find this kid is a bit of a redemption trip for him but things don’t exactly go as planned. Over the course of the 5-6 hour long story you’ll learn a lot about Ellis all the while running into plenty of jump scares and other creepy things in the forest. Some of these things surprised me but quite of lot of the story beats ended up being things I saw coming.
The core gameplay revolves around just wandering through this forest, searching for clues and items, and trying to get to the bottom of what is going on. The game isn’t always clear with where you should go or what you should be doing so it’s kind of up to the player to figure that out. Thankfully you have Bullet with you and he is able to sniff out where you should be going as well as find important things in the world like those clues I mentioned. Sadly, one of my issues with the game is that picking up items sometimes can be way more difficult than it has any right to be. Sometimes you’ll need to be perfectly lined up to interact with them and sometimes Bullet can actually get in the way preventing you from interacting with them. Back to Bullet, he can also be used for attacking enemies in the woods and you can even give him treats to reward him.
One of the more unique things about the game comes from the video recorder that you find. This can play different kinds of tapes including ones that will actually alter things in the world around you. This can be used to open/clear paths and other such things and it was one of the things I liked the most about the game. To give an example, at one point you’ll find a tree blocking your path and by using the video recorder to rewind the tape you can actually reverse time back to when that tree was standing and thus clear your path. Other than all that there isn’t much more to say about the gameplay. I do think the late game area is the stronger part of the game and I wish the whole thing kind of had that feel throughout.
Since this is a port I need to touch on just how well Blair Witch performs on the Switch. As you might expect it has suffered quite a bit of a downgrade when it comes to the graphics. This game easily looks like it could be a couple generations old on the Switch and that is unfortunate. There was also a lot of noticeable pop-in which is very disappointing and jarring since you are in a forest after all. The sound design in the game is much better than the visuals though. All of the characters had really good voice acting and all of the various sounds you hear in the forest really help make the game feel scarier.
Blair Witch has some issues but I do think it is worth playing at some point. With multiple endings and an eerie atmosphere throughout I think horror fans will enjoy this one. If you have another platform other than the Nintendo Switch I’d recommend playing it there though as the visual downgrade here is quite drastic and it actually makes the game harder to play in some cases.
*Blair Witch is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Reviewed on Nintendo Switch. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.
- Creepy atmosphere and several scary moments
- Bullet is a great companion
- Video Recorder gameplay interaction was cool
- Multiple endings can give you a reason to replay
- Visuals on the Switch are vastly downgraded when compared to other versions
- Very easy to find yourself just wandering not knowing what to do next
- Story is predictable in parts
- Interacting with items can be finnicky at times