Bloodshore review (PS5)

Wales Interactive’s latest interactive movie is Bloodshore, and it’s a bit of a change of pace for the developer/publisher. It’s out now for all major consoles and PC, and here’s what we thought, based on our time with the game on a PlayStation 5.

We’ve rather enjoyed the FMV-based titles that Wales Interactive has released over the last few years. Although the “would you like to do this, wait a bit, or do the opposite?” mechanics are starting to feel a bit like a formula, most of their stories are expertly told in well directed and acted productions that are a blast to play though over the course of their 2 hour or so running time. They also lend themselves well to future playthroughs because of the branching narrative, although it’s almost more fun to sit back and see someone else make the choices than making choices that feel counter-intuitive to you just for the sake of seeing different clips.

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But where many of Wales Interactive’s interactive movies have been carefully constructed thrillers, Bloodshore (like Five Dates before it) tackles a different genre. With a plot that revolves around a battle royale-type game show, Bloodshore feels like a cross between two cult classic productions: the 1987 Schwarzenegger film The Running Man (based on a Stephen King story) and the MegaRace games of the 1990s.

Intentionally campy and over the top, Bloodshore pokes fun and embraces the popular battle royale genre at the same time. Its cast features a selection of online personalities, actors and convicted felons, all battling it out on a fictional TV show to try and win cash prizes. Although the formula’s a little different and less linear, it feels very close to The Running Man, and if (like us) you enjoy that movie then you’ll enjoy the premise and story here as well.

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The characters in Bloodshore are no Ben Richards though, in that they’re hard to empathize with. Protagonist Nick is an actor who’s fallen on harder times, but most of the cast members are so outrageous and caricature-like that it feels like they’re not taking it seriously. Some of that is undoubtedly intentional, but you need a certain degree of tolerance for people hamming it up constantly.

As this is a Battle Royale game, most of these characters will eventually meet their demise, giving Bloodshore a bit of horror comedy flavor as well. The nuanced writing from previous FMV games by Wales Interactive isn’t really here, but there’s definitely an audience for B-movie type stuff like this out there as well. Death scenes are often creative and funny rather than gory, and the whole thing is about as long as a (short) feature length film as well. We enjoyed our time with Bloodshore because we enjoy the occasional crappy movie as well, but with a far less polished script and a cast that’s hard to enjoy this is definitely for a niche crowd and has less mainstream appeal than a game like The Complex.

Score: 6.6/10

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