Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Eric Vs. 365 - Day 114 - Blair Witch

"The Blair Witch Project" and its connected myths sure seems like perfect fodder for a video game, until you actually try to make a game out of it and forget everything that made it cool in the first place. Bloober Team's Blair Witch game on Xbox One has the name, and the creepy symbols out in the woods, but little else that made this franchise the first movie and only the first movie interesting in the first place. Click to read more and watch gameplay.

I'll fully admit that I'm not super well versed in the overall Blair Witch franchise. I've only seen the original movie. That's it. And I love that original movie to death. Because of that, I've always had a very specific idea in mind about what "The Blair Witch Project" is and should be and when the other movies, and games, and whatever else strayed away from that (imagined) ideal, I wasn't interested. 

What I like about "The Blair Witch Project" is that it was simple and relate able and real. Everyone has been out in the woods and scared themselves with ghost stories and legends or finding some weird thing that someone else left behind. Everyone has done that. Couple that with the genuine mystery of what happened during that freaking ending, and you have a horror classic. It's a classic because it "wasn't" explained. By explaining things and making actual ghosts and monsters and other things that go bump in the night, everything that followed that original movie was no longer real and relate able and just became another fictional horror franchise. 

That is my problem with this new Blair Witch game. By being a video game, and needing to add video game-y things, it lost a lot of what made the original interesting to me. There is a time manipulation mechanic that uses video tapes found in the world. Having a video camera and tapes? Super cool and perfectly fits. Manipulating time? Freaking dumb. Likewise, there are actual freaking enemies to "fight" in the game? Why? Why? Why? The game didn't need goddamn enemies to fight.

Leading up to your first encounter with the enemies the game is very, very effective at being scary as hell. Wandering around the woods is scary. And it's even more scary wandering around lost at night. The game should have just been a walking simulator where you scare yourself thanks to subtle audio and visual cues and then get clubbed in the back of the head and die or something. Having enemies and collectibles and a freaking A.I. dog and time manipulation and video game-y stuff to keep morons with no attention span occupied just clutters and clouds over what made the franchise interesting in the first place. 

Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe all of this is explained in the other movies and books and other crap I didn't bother with because it all looked terrible. All I know is what I want from a Blair Witch experience is not what this game turned out to be.