Blacktail Review – A Witchland Fairytale (PS5)

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Blacktail is the first title from a new development studio called The Parasight, and this twisted dark fairytale game makes for a very interesting debut. If you watched the opening storybook cutscene from Resident Evil Village and wished that someone would take that creepy, child-like feeling and expand it into a full game, then Blacktail might just be the title that you have been waiting for.

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Blacktail is out now and is available on PC, PlayStation and Xbox consoles.

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The very first thing which struck me upon booting up Blacktail for the first time was the game’s exquisite presentation and bold art direction. Regardless of anything else, this is a title which knows exactly what it wants to be and this is made clear right from the get-go. Whether you enjoy the oddly dark child-like tone present in the game or not, it is hard not to give props to The Parasight for sticking so vehemently to their vision of what this thing should be.

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Playing as a young Baba Yaga is an interesting concept to base a game around and for the most part, the story in Blacktail lives up to that ambitious concept. The voice acting in the game is great across the board and exploration these lore-laden mythical environments is a joy. The main issue that I had with Blacktail’s plot was in the developer’s decision to implement a morality system in the game.

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I played the game as a villain, given that Babe Yaga of traditional Slavic folklore is a villainous character. Why would this evil witch even consider freeing trapped birds or care about other people’s feelings? If anything the game should have introduced Yaga as morally positive character and then shown how the world she grew up in turned her into a monster.

Almost any screenshot taken in Blacktail could have been ripped straight out of a classic storybook.
Almost any screenshot taken in Blacktail could have been ripped straight out of a classic storybook.

Giving the player autonomy in the way in which the character develops detracts from the committed artistic vision which I spoke about earlier. The most interesting thing about Blacktail is the idea of playing as Baba Yaga. If you remove that element and you are just playing as a generic heroine in an adventure title, then a lot of this game’s magic gets lost.

The gameplay in Blacktail is engaging for multiple reasons, the first of which is how surprisingly challenging it can be at times. Don’t get me wrong, this is not on the level of a Soulsborne title. However, the aiming and shooting mechanic in the game is not as generous as its child-like tone may suggest, forcing players to focus on accuracy and pick their shots. When you miss your shot in this game, there is no-one else to blame but yourself due to the specificity of the control scheme.

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Make those arrows count!
Make those arrows count!

It is also fairly easy to take damage in Blacktail, and the player’s health bar is not all that long. This forced me to engage in each battle I partook in and never allowed me to casually sleepwalk my way through every encounter which was nice. The boss fights in the game are also cool, allowing the player to battle all sorts of fantastical, trippy creatures.

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Overall, Blacktail is a solid experience. I could have done without the game’s trite karma system, but the tight gameplay mechanics, fantastically trippy world and glorious presentation carry it beyond being another forgettable adventure title.

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Blacktail – 7/10

Blacktail was played on PS5 with a code supplied by Indigo Pearl.

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Written by Daniel Boyd

Articles Published: 154

Dan is one of FandomWire's Gaming Content Leads and Editors. Along with Luke Addison, he is one of the site's two Lead Video Game Critics and Content Co-ordinators. He is a 28-year-old writer from Glasgow. He graduated from university with an honours degree in 3D Animation, before pivoting to pursue his love for critical writing. He has also written freelance pieces for other sites such as Game Rant, WhatCulture Gaming, KeenGamer.com and The Big Glasgow Comic Page. He loves movies, video games and comic books.