Bloodshore (PC Game Review)


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There has been a great resurgence in full motion film-like games in recent times... these play out like feature films, but with player input. I guess that the easiest way to describe them is to compare them to the choose-your-own adventure books of the past. Wales Interactive has been at the forefront of this wave, with quite a few releases since their first effort in Night Shift. It is quite an enjoyable sort of medium/genre of video games... very low key in terms of mechanics, and entertaining if a little bit shallow at times.

Bloodshore was released in 2021, and I managed to pick it up as part of a package of full motion video "visual novel" games. I managed to finish in a couple of short sittings... and it is sort of best experienced in that manner... or if you have a few hours, in a single sitting.

The Setup

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Bloodshore is set in the near future... with the world in economic crisis and hungry for entertainment. So, what the masses apparently want for entertainment in that near future, is a viscous and murderous battle-royale with fifty contestants airdropped onto an ever-shrinking battlefield with only one survivor... hmmmmm, sound familiar?

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Anyway, you play the game from the perspective of Nick... a washed up ex-movie star who is competing in the game for some hidden motive... not to win the cash, but to expose the machinations behind it. If that doesn't sound hackneyed already... well, it is... the entire script is reminiscent of the Black Mirror series... trying to make an important comment on contemporary society, but coming across really heavy-handed at best.

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So, in this near future... well, the desperate are the social media influencers who are prepared to kill and die to get a following?!??!... well, there are also criminals and the poor as well, but it is interesting to see that there are quite a few people who are wanting to live-stream their killings and deaths...

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... and you are all dumped onto an island somewhere... ready to kill in the name of worldwide entertainment and social media clout!

The Game

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The only game mechanic for these Wales games are the timed decision trees at critical points in the narrative. Basically, these serve as branching points that will affect the current scene and ultimately which of the endings that you will end up at... very much like those choose your own adventure books! Except you can't stick your fingers in lots of pages... the game autosaves at scene ends.

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There are five stats that are affected by your decisions... but it isn't really clear how these play into the unfolding of the story. I'm still not really convinced that they do anything at all!

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As you play out your game of murder and survival on the island, you are dropped to cutscenes of commentary upon your actions and the corporation... these serve well to flesh out the contemporary society that KillStream exists within...

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... and the reality-TV shots to audience reactions. Pretty kitsch... but entertaining.

Visuals, Sound and Performance

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Well... Visuals... wow, it is really quite beautifully shot, and more than a touch gory in spots. Don't play this if you are a bit squeamish!

Performance wise, I don't think that this will challenge any modern computer... you are only just streaming video after all! However, the videos DO take up a LOT of storage space... so, make sure that you have enough SSD/HDD space to house it!

The acting... well, it is in equal measures decent... and cringily embarrassing. I'm not sure if that was intentional, but sometimes it was over-acted to the point of irritation.

My Thoughts

Bloodshore was an entertaining sort of light entertainment with minimal player interaction. Again, I refer to the idea of the choose your own adventure..

Apparently, there are six main ending outcomes... and probably more than a few ways that each chapter scene can play out.... but to be perfectly honest, I really don't feel the need to go back and try to experience them all.

... a fun game, but only pick it up on sale.

Review Specs

Played at 1080p (144Hz) on:

XMG Fusion 15

CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H
RAM: 16 GB
Storage: SSD (SATA/Nvme)
GPU: Nvidia GTX 2070 Max-Q

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