Blair Witch: Oculus Quest Edition is a story-driven psychological horror game based on the cinematic lore of Blair Witch. As Ellis, a former police officer with a troubled past, join the search for a missing boy in the iconic Black Hills Forest near Burkittsville, Maryland.
Publisher: Bloober Team
Reviewed on: Oculus Quest 2
Also available for: Oculus Quest
Cast: Joseph May, Christy Meyer, Kerry Shale, Eric Meyers, Doug Cockle, Christopher Ragland, Laurence Bouvard
Developer: Bloober Team
Creative Director: Mateusz Lenart
Lead Game Designer: Pawel Niezabitowski
When I played Bloober Teams Blair Witch last year I thought it was a perfectly okay horror game. The tackling of PTSD themes was interesting and the monsters in the forest were thrilling, but other parts of the game, like the mindless forest wandering, often took me out of the experience as I grew frustrated where to go next. Blair Witch: Oculus Quest Edition has streamlined the whole game for mostly the better. Some puzzles that were fun in the original game have been removed, but the forest wandering has also been streamlined. Although some things, like keeping 2D cutscenes in the game, are immersion breaking and leave signs of cut-corners to get this release out in time for Halloween.
If you played the original game, the story and key beats of the game remain the same. You play as Ellis, a veteran suffering with PTSD who heads out into the forest in search of a missing boy named Peter. You have a handful of gadgets on your person including a Nokia phone that lets you play Snake in VR as well as your sidekick and canine friend, Bullet. Who, by the way, you can pet in this game and I did at any point I could and-or needed a friend after a scare.
For the majority of the game, you are simply exploring the forest looking for clues, but mostly you’re following Bullet as he guides you to the next area. I only got lost once in the Oculus Quest Edition, whereas the original game I had to step away at a point as I had grown frustrated not being able to find the next location I was headed.
Although some puzzles have been removed, the best part of the original game is intact in the form of the Camcorder puzzles. About 20-30 minutes into the game you find a camcorder and when rewinding the tape inside you can make a toy car left behind by Peter appear in front of you. This rewind mechanic works even better here than it did in the original game as you see objects appear and disappear in front of your eyes.
After a couple of chapters, you’ll have to start dealing with ghostly monsters attempting to attack you by shining your flashlight in their eyes. This stuff was the most intense parts of the original game and here it’s stepped up another notch, especially if you’re playing the game standing and you’re literally on the edge of your toes swinging wildly around the room.
Ellis’s PTSD manifests itself several times throughout the game as you’re chased by helicopters and appear to have enemies firing upon you from behind. These segments weren’t super impactful for me in the original game, but here they were. Hearing Ellis’ screams and him yelling “run Bullet, run!” sent a shiver down my spine the first time it happened.
The game obviously has taken a step down in graphical fidelity since its original release on Xbox and PC. But I found the Oculus Quest 2 to still present clear and detailed textures. The lighting in several scenes was surprisingly effective and Bullet looked great (Bloober Team have said the Quest 2 has texture, foliage and dog-fur improvements over the original Quest headset).