Games based on movies often fall short of the mark. Thankfully, Blair Witch Oculus is only based in the same world as the original movie and isn’t trying to clone it. You play the role of Ellis who has joined a search party trying to find a boy who has gone missing in the woods. Ellis suffers from PTSD and the game is as much about exploring this as it is looking for a lost child in a spooky forest.
To help you with your investigation you are armed with your mobile phone, walkie talkie a dog whistle and your trusty doggo Bullet. Accessing these gadgets requires you to look down at your belt in order to grab them and quite frankly this often ended up with grabbing the wrong item. I simply couldn’t tilt my head far enough to get a view of what I was trying to pick up.
Watch the announcement trailer below:
You are given lots of options for how to control the game. You can play sitting or standing and there are different combinations of teleporting or free movement depending on your preference. This is a nice touch as everyone has a different way of how they want to approach their VR games. I opted for free movement using the thumbsticks which worked nicely although I would frequently find myself getting stuck on tiny rocks and minuscule inclines.
The setting is perfect for VR and I felt my own levels of tension rising almost immediately. The full immersion of a VR headset makes horror games doubly horrifying. The feeling of claustrophobia the game manages to conjure up is intense as are the constant barrage of rustles and other noises from the forest around you.
Every corner turn is a fraught manoeuvre and you just know that at some point something just has to jump out and scare your pants off. This does happen but it’s not used too much which only adds to the feeling of being stuck, alone in a haunted forest.
There isn’t any combat within the game but there are enemies to take on. You will sometimes confront these head-on, dealing with the psychological trauma and others you will need to avoid entirely in order to get past them. Once again this a great choice as simply being able to gun them down would be a massive tension breaker.
Visually, Blair Witch isn’t fantastic but is good enough and in fairness, massive draw distances would spoil the overall feeling of the game.
I managed to complete the game in around six hours over a couple of sessions. There is no way I would be able to do the full six hours in one session as the game is simply too stress-inducing whcih I guess is what the developers were attempting so hats off to them!
To sum up, Blair Witch Oculus Edition is a horrible, in a good way, game to play. It does a fantastic job of building tension with the major story events being interspersed with moments of exploration. You never know what could be waiting for you around the next corner and you feel totally helpless.
If you like horror games that make you feel constantly uneasy then this is definitely something you should check out.
Blair Witch Oculus Edition was reviewed using a digital code provided by the developer
Publisher: Bloober Team Developer: Bloober Team Release Date: 29th October 2020 Reviewed On: Oculus Quest 2