A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Blair Witch is a horror themed first-person adventure game available for download on Xbox One and Windows-based PCs. The game's set within the fictional universe first established in the 1999 film, The Blair Witch Project. Players set out into the wood with their canine companion as part of a search party looking for a missing child. After getting lost in the woods, players are forced to confront an evil entity stalking them, while also coping with events from their own past. The game features intense scenes of violence, kidnapping, and abuse, with occasional blood shown onscreen. The dialogue makes frequent and casual use of strong profanity. Packs of cigarettes and alcohol pop up in the environment as well.
What's it about?
BLAIR WITCH takes players deep into a new chapter of the terrifying legend to confront the evil that lurks in the woods around Burkittsville, Maryland. It's 1996, and the curse of the Black Hills Forest seems to have claimed another young victim. This time, it's a young boy named Peter Shannon that's vanished without a trace. You play Ellis, a former police officer struggling with issues from your past. You've decided to join in the search for Peter, accompanied by your loyal canine sidekick, Bullet. Determined to redeem yourself for the previous tragedy, you head out deep into the woods to track down Peter and bring him back safely. Unfortunately, there's a lot more than trees in this forest. This is also the home of the Blair Witch, an unspeakable evil force that's claimed the lives out countless others for centuries. Even reality itself bends to the Witch's will in the Black Hills. Can you find the strength to confront the power of the Witch, as well as your own inner demons? Or will you and Bullet be forever lost as yet another cautionary tale told to add to the lore of the Blair Witch?
Is it any good?
There's nothing quite as terrifying as the feeling of being lost and alone, except the dread of realizing that maybe you're not quite as alone as you thought. That's the constant anxiety that looms as you play through Blair Witch. As you search the woods for clues, you can't help but feel there's something always lurking in the shadows, stalking you and waiting to strike. The game does a phenomenal job of creating an atmosphere that sends chills down your spine. You, much like Ellis, come to rely on your dog, Bullet, for a sense of security. Unfortunately, between the darkness seeping through the woods or the thick overgrowth, it's extremely easy to lose sight of your canine sidekick. In fact, there were a lot of times when you will frantically call for Bullet only to realize he's already right at your side but just out of the first-person field of vision. Because Bullet's such an integral part of keeping you alive and sane, it can be frustrating and almost panic inducing when you can't find him.
Blair Witch's open gameplay is both its biggest draw and its biggest glaring flaw. It takes a relatively hands-off approach, leaving you to explore how and where you like. While that does do a lot to bring you more closer to that feeling of being lost in the woods, oftentimes the fear quickly gives way to frustration as you wander in circles trying to figure out exactly what you’re supposed to do next. Usually, this is where the reality-altering "found footage" video tapes come in, with players pausing footage on the tape to affect items in the real world. But it's not always obvious what needs to be changed, or which clues the tapes are trying to drop. It doesn't help that icons representing key items or clues don't necessarily show up unless you happen to get right on top of them. Eventually, you'll get back on track and watch the story unfold, but these moments of confusion can often take the player out of the overall experience. Still, Blair Witch is more than scary enough to leave you sleeping with the lights on and listening out for things that go bump in the night.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about fear in entertainment. Why do people enjoy being scared as a part of entertainment? What's the appeal of horror movies, haunted houses, and other such attractions that use scares to get the adrenaline pumping?
What are some of the ways that animals are used to help people? How have some dogs been used as service animals and what help can they offer to those with mental and physical disabilities?
- Platforms: Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $29.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Bloober Team SA
- Release date: August 30, 2019
- Genre: Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Science and Nature
- ESRB rating: M for Blood, Intense Violence, Language
- Last updated: August 30, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.