The Origin: Blind Maid is a first-person survival horror game where the terror is not just limited to the gameplay, but also extends to your experience of it, to the point where it’ll make you wonder – How willing are you to forgive an indie game for bugs and implementation issues?
Seeing fit to turn me into an unpaid QA video game tester, The Origin: Blind Maid forced me to solve 3 different progress-preventing bugs within the first few moments of installing it. Vera – your possessed assistant – either disappears due to skipped cutscenes or is prevented from running to the next area due to a fence that blocks the way (which I also experienced again later).
To bypass the issue I needed to actually go into my PlayStation 4’s system settings and delete all the save files before the issue disappeared, which was certainly a first, and not the greatest start to a game.
The story has you, a corrupt politician, fleeing the city in which he was mayor and lost in the middle of nowhere, which you come to learn is a place between Earth and hell, or ‘The Origin’, where an evil being is keeping you trapped within it like the gravity of a black hole.
The evil that lingers here unveils itself to you through the help of diary entries found in the linear maps while hallucinations teach about the ousted politician’s past and messages received on your phone inform you about the present. While trying not to give away what is actually a decent story, the evil originates from a woman who was mistreated by her family and it is those who took advantage of her that feature as the bosses of each new progressed area as the victim’s story starts to unfold.
Although intriguing, the story takes quite a while to get going, so of the 10+ hours you spend on it, the first 2 hours spent wandering around woods with your assistant chasing you around is frustrating and is utterly pointless in the grand scheme of things, especially as so many of the game’s issues occur during that period.
The story isn’t the only decent element of the game, however, as the environments look great for what is no doubt a low-budget title, with tension emanating from being hunted in the pitch black, and you’re even afforded the ability to play as the politician’s daughter who comes to help her father.
It’s one of those games that if you were to watch it on Youtube, you’d think it far better than it actually is, as Blind Maid does itself no favors in how you interact with it. Menu navigation and assigned controls for the PS4 controller are unintuitive and described poorly, and enemy weaknesses aren’t even mentioned once on the tips that appear on screen despite that being quite a key bit of information.
Quite confusing is the fact that the game decides that some enemies, killable at certain points, are invincible at others – for no apparent reason. Vera, for example, can be killed over and over during certain ‘battles’, but when chasing you on the open map cannot be damaged at all. Your character even says “No, I can’t do it” when you pull the trigger, presumably said due to the loyalty he showed as an employee prior to his bout of insanity, but you still can fire the gun, even though no damage will be received. It’s hardly a great sign for the Blind Maid‘s consistency when the beginning of the game can barely decide what it’s trying to achieve.
The gameplay itself is like a mix of Outlast and standard survival game mechanics with one stalking boss per area, as well as minor enemies that you need to defeat and puzzles you need to solve to progress through the areas. You eventually end up with a total of 3 guns and items you can collect for temporary power-ups, but these are all bog-standard elements that fail to impress, and even the best part of the game itself – the bosses – mostly just chase you in straight lines in narrow hallways, if they are not getting stuck in doorways, in the ceiling or on top of your head that is.
When the game is hitting its highs, Blind Maid provides jumpy in-game cutscenes, a decent mix of enemies and a harrowing story, but as these are all passively experienced elements of the game, it’s hard for me to actually justify convincing anyone to actually play it rather than just watch it being played.
If time was given to clean up the inconsistent implementation and awful bugs in The Origin: Blind Maid, then the cheesy voice acting and reasonable scares might act as an entertaining interactive evening at home, just don’t hold your breath for it to come anytime soon considering the enormity of the task.