Bloodshore – Review

Release Date
November 3, 2021
Wales Interactive
Wales Interactive
PS4, PS5
Reviewed on
Review Code provided by
Wales Interactive

Along with remakes, another type of game seems to be returning from the 90’s is the FMV, or Full Motion Video and Bloodshore is one of them. What makes Bloodshore stand out against the other FMV Games? For the uninitiated, FMV is the genre of games that uses interactive video rather than program or models on its characters and even the set piece. Renegading to a simple yes or no choice for the most part.

Bloodshore is a simple, satirical take on not only on the battle royale games nor the influencer culture we have but also on the society as a whole. I can even sense the take on the entertainment on reality show in general. This heavily reminds me of The Last Action Hero on being too self aware and at that time it didn’t click with the audience being a new type of story telling. But lately it became beloved due to its nature.

Side note, you will hear a lot of the term “Over the top”. This being that the game proudly wears that comedic B movie style. However, in the heart of it, it has a decent performance by the real cast. This is being a critique on society in general. 

Let’s start off, first we should talk about the graphics of the “game”. Now I can already hear you saying, “But it is an FMV surely there is no use for such things as graphics?” To that I say, you are right! My point is with regards to the presentation and visual effects. Now, while this won’t win any awards from any categories on its visual effects, being that the game is rough around the edges (so rough that you can practically send it to the actor as a weapon), this seems to play right into their cards of being a satirical take on the genre, so it can be forgiven. And they wore this proudly, which shows on their viewer side of the fence. This is my personal take. Whether it is intentional or not, that brand of over the top settings is quite unique and appealing.

Then there are the characters. Without being too revealing, I can safely say they are truly a colorful bunch that you might never know what’s what or who’s who. Remember when I mentioned that the theme is over the top due to being a satirical take akin to The Last Action Hero? The acting somehow felt the same way, but not in a bad way. To put this into perspective, you basically watch two acting performances here. One is the outside world where the viewers, streamers, and hosts takes place, the other is the main cast. If we are going to view them individually, we have to view them separately as they play differently in terms of acting and their message.

To put into perspective, the audience will act in an over the top kinda way which in itself quite charming . Then there are the actors, while not being able to win a major price on acting, they still deliver their own beautiful performance. In that they deliver what they want and what their character development entails. So all in all, while giving the humorous take on the viewers, they also deliver a drama that plays out behind the scenes common in many “Reality TV Shows.”

The theme of Bloodshore somehow revolves around a retro-futuristic society that has been overdone in many ways but nonetheless the game manage to squeeze in a huge over the top acting on the audience’s part. The way they were portrayed is a take on society in general. Which is that we seem to relish on such drama that regardless of what it is, we take it and consume it with a fervor.

Another key theme of the story is our over reliant on social media, a precautionary theme many games seems to be giving nowadays. Without going too much into details, one of the poignant way the theme of social criticism was portrayed was on a death of a participant, the followers on their social media shoot up. That is personally a good take on us as a society in a way that we appreciate someone on their passing. Another was the absurd recovery of the host on their passing. Personally, this criticism on our society may have been overdone to death but the way they delivered it is a unique and cynical way that is masqueraded in crass humor.

Then there’s the overall criticism of what we see on TV. That reality TV shows are being viewed as an escape in general. A glaring thing that I saw is that all of them are just fake. Somehow, they managed to combine the drama of the social media in general along with the gaming community. Overall the critique is aimed at everyone.

Now, let’s take on the negative side of it. The story seems too short on any runs. Many would argue that FMV in general isn’t as long as a full fledged movie nor a game. However, the story seemed less panned out. As for character development, Nick is a bit bland that he is in and out plain and simple. While you can have a good laugh at him, there’s no huge twist that really makes him stand out. This is a sad case of the NPC being a bit more memorable than the main character in its overall development in the arc. 

Then there is the game mechanics of choices. Most of the time it is just a left or right kind of decision and one or two instances that only lets you pick three choices. The overall narrative also lacks divergence on some parts and there are choices that does not really do anything at all. Whether it is a take on illusion of choice or just lack of time, this might put off some players. Personally, I think it is the former which somehow add a bit of flavor to the overall theme of the message. This being said, the idea of such could make it a bit off-putting to some that your choices matters little.

One thing I don’t get about the effects of the game is that while it focuses on realism that it might be a softcore goreporn. Which would make some people turn on. And at times, the effects is on par to a low budget movie with the exception of the skydive effect which is apparent on its roughness. What I personally don’t get is that while they played their effect cards right, the guns don’t have a decent sound and look to it. There seems to be an oversight towards some shorts of the guns themselves. As you literally can see that they are just airsoft guns. Whether an oversight or not, the issue is glaring enough that it is hard to be disregarded. To think that they exerted an effort hiding the evidence of it being an airsoft gun. However, this is just a personal take on my part. Of course, we must treat all firearms as loaded and rather than using a prop gun or real one, I give kudos for the safety precaution of the team. I just wish they added a CGI mask for the shots where the evidence was visible but then it could balloon the cost itself.

All in all, while the message delivery is strong and understood, this could suffer the same fate as The Last Action Hero. That while it is a typical FMV game, it could be drowned by its over the top satirical presentation. Forgetting the social critique it boasts and perhaps a deeper story it tells with every choice  you made. What it gives is a bleak commentary on us as a society that is very well given on the course of the game. I will not lie, the story, and other key aspect of the game won’t win any awards, what it delivers is a good deal of cynical take on how we may evolve socially.  Now, as for its take on FMV, they did fairly well even with the aforementioned short comings. Like I said, I just wish there are more narrative and character development given.

My final take on the game is that like many FMV, this isn’t entirely made by programmers nor game developers, but rather an experimenting filmmaker that wishes to merge two gigantic media. However, the low budget take on it shouldn’t stop us from enjoying it. It is a decent game with an intriguing narrative both presented and hidden between the lines. Before, the FMV is hampered by technology. As Howard Stark once said “I’m limited by the technology of my time.” But now, with a better and more refined media, this could be a good way to have a new kind of media. Whether or not Bloodshore could be remembered for such revival is yet to be seen.  But please, give it a go. It may have its kinks and issues, but the game’s narrative is there.

Bloodshore – Review
Score Definition
It’s a fun game that has its few kinks that can easily be ignored.
Intriguing narrative
Acting that divides the cheesy B movie audience to the well delivered cast
Replayable in terms of multiple various scenario
A bit short
Confusing take on realism of gore and weapons
While replayable, the choices seems to be set in stone