Well, we had the evil creep-and-die of Volume 1
. Then we had the linear plot-and-fight of Volume 2
. What exactly can we expect from the third in the Blair Witch
series of games? Well, expectations aside, we get a decidedly arcadey adventure that, while entertaining, soon falls flat on its face in terms of storyline and gameplay. Itís not as big of a failure as the second game, and it may irritate slightly less than the first, but itís still no gem.
Youíre Jonathan Prye, a former man of the cloth who has lost his faith. A Witch Hunter, he decides to investigate the recent happenings in Blair Township to see if he can help, and perhaps renew his beliefs as well. The storyline is actually rather good, if only for the first few hours, as you witness a man embittered by the world, one who has lost both his faith in a higher power and his faith in himself. It certainly could have been played a little less heavy-handedly, mind you, but itís a pleasant diversion from Amnesiac Hero or Brash Youth Out to Prove Something.
Unfortunately, the gameplay itself soon degenerates into a slow-paced arcade shooter, with Prye running around and destroying bad guys (most of them the same ones weíve been fighting since the first title) as he runs from location to location. Itís entertaining at first, but it soon becomes rote.
Fortunately, youíre given a nice, wide complement of weapons to destroy the bad guys with. Youíve got your guns, youíve got your big heavy cross oí death, and youíve got spells. Spells? Yeah, spells. You can set enemies on fire, or freeze them, or even heal yourself in times of need. Itís actually pretty cool, as it gives a little variety to the game.
But itís not particularly fulfilling. A plot that actually starts out interesting soon degenerates into fetch-quests and monster slayings, and it never really picks back up. Itís a shame, really -- this entire series of games had a chance to really do something with the Blair Witch mythos, but the website for the original movie still stands as the best way of making something a little more real.
And, like BW Volume 2, Volume 3 has some serious reality check issues. Last time I checked, cemeteries didnít need magical incantations to open the doors. And even if they did, itís doubtful that said incantations would have been put on them by a priest. The same goes for the warding of the local witchís cell. The glowing vials of health-juice and mana-juice that the enemies drop are a little incredulous, the ammo for your guns a little less so.
The game-killer for me, however, was when I was told that, to get to a certain metaphysical location, I had to go to a gate in the middle of the forest. This sort of thing is just plain silly. The house of cards came tumbling down for me at that point, and the game became just another rote exercise in point-A-to-point-Bíing.