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Test: Blair Witch: In the haunted woods, Bloober's game succeeds in making its way


Announced at the conference Microsoft from E3 2019, Blair Witch comes out of the woods and casts a spell on Xbox and PC. Awakened by the team Bloober Layers of Fear and Observer, the witch who is terrorizing the people of Burkittsville this time blames an ex-cop in search of a young boy disappeared in the stifling forest of Black Hills. The investigator will find demons: his own.

Blair Witch: our opinion in a few minutes

After the campfire, everything goes crazy

Blair Witch: In the haunted woods, Bloober's game succeeds in making its way

Blair Witch's action takes place two years after the disappearance of Heather, Mike and Josh, the film students seen in the first film. The player embodies Ellis, a former police officer who decides to make himself useful by participating in searches organized by local forces to find Peter, a missing kid whose traces mysteriously evaporate at the entrance of the woods of Black Hills. It has been a long time since the forest is the scene of strange events, so the people of Burkittsville are convinced of the existence of a witch infesting the surrounding area. Unlike the young victims of the original work, Ellis has a troubled past that overwhelms him many times. As if the disturbing events taking place in the woods were not sufficiently disconcerting, the veteran suffers from nightmarish hallucinations related to his history. In many ways, the Black Hills Forest is reminiscent of Silent Hill's second episode, a cursed place where the guilt of the main protagonist breeds horrors.

If you are hoping for a Blair Witch game of wandering in a haunted forest, the title developed by Bloober will meet your expectations. Miles under the trees, Ellis is going to poll tens! What is interesting is that the adventure succeeds in effectively alternating sequences "in corridor" very scripted with more open passages putting the direction of the orientation to test. Blair Witch is not a walking simulator, although the context may make you think of it. He is a "true"Adventure game that rehabilitates even the hunt for information hidden in the various documents to distill. The soft swaps a survival aspect that we could have expected against an investigation in a hostile environment. The ex-cop has indeed a mobile phone, a walkie-talkie, a flashlight and a camcorder to achieve his ends. Video tapes have the wonderful feature of altering the universe when viewed via the little camera. For example, a closed door can be opened like magic by pausing on a passage where it is ajar. This mechanics brings riddles well thought out despite a logic that defies reason. Ellis especially has an adorable dog, Bullet, able to help him to find hidden elements, to warn him of dangers that lurk, and to find traces thanks to his infallible flair.

Satan lives in it

Blair Witch: In the haunted woods, Bloober's game succeeds in making its way

The former police officer will nevertheless learn the hard way that it is easy to move from investigator to victim. The forest is a damned place to emerge the hero's demons. And Ellis is a man who has many problems. Fortunately, the creatures that roam fear the light. Shining a flashlight at a suspected area indicated by the dog's grunts is the best way to get the aggressors to flee. What to put the hair on the head? Not really. The phone calls made by the hero's wife and the few communications via walkie-talkie insist that Ellis is finally not alone in these pesky woods. The reassuring presence of the dog even lowers the tension one notch, which can be problematic for an experience that seeks to give goose bumps.

Apart from the totems to be destroyed, the other interactions with the world around Ellis are sometimes astonishing in depth. There is for example the ability to call characters directly through the mobile phone directory, without the game requires anything, or the right channels to find with the walkie-talkie. This impression of enjoying a material that really works beyond the imposed scripts is found even in the games available on the mobile phone. Because yes, there is nothing like a part of Snake when we see his last hour arrive. According to the developers, the end differs according to the actions taken (the way Bullet is handled, the way the phone is used, and the number of totems destroyed). Ours did not necessarily seem to fit our actions.

Blair Witch: drive Simone!

Blair Witch's real problem comes from the lack of tension emerging from the progression. As we mentioned, the doggie reassures, and phone calls reduce the feeling of loneliness. The concern with a lost character like Ellis is thatit is difficult as a player to identify easily, not that we are models of equilibrium, but the individual is surprised at almost nothing, even if the world would go totally twisted at each of its strides. The ex-cop is actually the negative of all these frightened teenagers exposed in the movies, despite the sound of his panting breath during more stressful passages. Finally, developers use and abuse big strings to achieve their ends (jumpscares more or less successful, flashlight that extinguishes arbitrarily, etc.). However, the visual atmosphere that emanates from the forest is remarkable, and some decorations are simply superbin addition to being strangely varied in their lighting. The feeling of getting lost in the cursed woods of Black Hills is well documented, and uncomfortable situations are numerous. The story of the main protagonist, ultimately rather classical, would have deserved more care in its treatment.

In French please

The voices of the characters are in English. Texts and subtitles are in French.

The notes

+Good points

  • A varied progression: investigation, riddles, pursuit, bursts …
  • In the forest, visual atmospheres are particularly successful
  • The camcorder is well operated
  • The last hour of play, thought for fans of movies

Negative points

  • A tension that is struggling to settle
  • A story finally rather agreed
  • It's short (approximately 7 hours of play)
  • Some little visual bugs

By using the Black Hills Forest to summon Blair's Witch, Bloober's developers have done good tricks without performing a miracle. As expected, Blair Witch immerses the player in a disturbing forest where reason dies like leaves in autumn. Mechanics related to the use of accessories, in addition to the skills of the dog, bring to the depth of play what they lose tension. The agreed scenario and the big strings in terms of staging barely taint the good feeling that one has at the end of this tumultuous ride.

Carnbee's Profile

August 30, 2019 to 16:05:07 Players
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