Blade Runner Enhanced Edition review: A great movie game (Xbox Series X)


Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition is a remaster of the classic 1997 PC adventure game by Westwood Studios. The Enhanced Edition was developed by Nightdive Studios, which has a long history of delivering excellent remasters. For the most part, I think this one is no different. The game has an engrossing story, and while it might not be for adventure players who like a challenge, for someone who just wants a great story to dig into, it delivers. For a movie game, it’s accurate and true to the source material with many aspects straight from the movie. To put it simply, I liked this game so much that I ended up watching the movie.

Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition is available on Steam, PS4 and PS5 (via backwards compatibility), Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S (via backwards compatibility), and Nintendo Switch for just $9.99.

Story – How to make a video game

blade runner is not a true film adaptation, but rather the events of the game occur at the same time as those of the film. The main protagonist is Ray McCoy, a Blade Runner rookie who investigates a case of animal murder by suspected replicants at Runciter’s Zoological. Several suspects enter the fray, but as the game goes on more revelations come and the line between right and wrong is blurred.

The writing and voice acting are absolutely stellar, especially considering the era in which this game was released. 1997 was when most voice acting in games was terrible, but blade runner definitely stands out and still holds up today. The game has a lot of attention to detail from the events of the film. Several characters return, with most with the same actor playing them from the movie. Additionally, several locations are nearly identical to the movie shots. As a movie game, it definitely does justice to the source material and expands on it.

This scene in Tyrell's bedroom is excellent, true to the movie, and expands the Blade Runner universe even further.

This scene in Tyrell’s bedroom is excellent, true to the movie, and expands the Blade Runner universe even further.

A big question in the movie was whether or not Deckard was a replicant. Well, this game goes even further. As McCoy, you have the choice of believing you’re a replicant or a human, which significantly affects the story. Additionally, many characters in the game are randomly selected as replicants or not each time you start a new game. There are tons of alternate paths and different scenarios that can unfold. This leads to the game feeling fresh across multiple playthroughs and adds a lot of replay value.

Gameplay – Exactly what it should be

The game in blade runner is quite simple. Most play like a detective game. You go from place to place, find clues and talk to people. Along the way, you encounter suspected replicants that you can decide to remove or spare, which affects the story. The game is pretty easy to figure out what you’re supposed to do, and it only has one real puzzle. It is designed in such a way that all the mandatory clues necessary for progression are most obvious to spot. The more obscure ones affect the game very little but often add to the story. If you are the type of person who likes adventure games for their challenge, then blade runner maybe not for you.

Esper system.

Esper system.

Two big gameplay mechanics come straight from the movie: the Esper system and the Voight-Kampff test. The Esper system is a nice addition, but sometimes it can be difficult for the game to zoom in and recognize a clue you’re looking for. There are a lot of things well hidden in the photos you are analyzing, so after you get the first obvious clue, keep looking. It can be very satisfying to find those that are well hidden. The Voight-Kampff test is a nice addition, but could have used a tutorial on how to do it. It took me some time to understand how the test was handled, and after that I was able to complete the test successfully. Could have used a little more help from the game.

One complaint I have with the game is with the player personality options. The default one the game goes with is normal, which for a new player seems like a decent choice, but actually it’s bad. You will always want to take User Choice as your player personality, as this gives you the most freedom of choice. If you stick with the default normal option, there are plenty of alternate paths and scenarios that simply won’t be available to you. User’s choice should have been the default.

I couldn't shoot this enemy without hitting the woman in front of him first.

I couldn’t shoot this enemy without hitting the woman in front of him first.

Combat is very simple and often entirely optional. The only times you are forced to fire the gun are in the scripted events and the only puzzle in the game. Most of the enemies encountered in the last quarter can be avoided entirely. This can be a bit finicky, however, as often your shot won’t hit exactly where you placed the cursor. You’ll want to watch your trigger discipline though, as you can play a bad cop in this game and blast quite a few NPCs. This will lead to consequences later.

The last thing to mention is that this game has its bugs. The main one is the slider which turns green even if there is no selectable item. If you run towards the supposed object by pressing A, McCoy seemingly off limits To nowhere. Run long enough and it will take McCoy a while to get back into the room. For some reason this seems to happen when loading a save. Even though the gameplay is quite simple, I think it’s quite okay, as the main core of the game is the story and the amount of player choice. The gameplay is exactly what it should be blade runner.

Graphics and sound – Old-School and Faithful

The graphics in blade runner is what to expect from a PC game from 1997. It looks pretty decent for its time, although I’m sure new players might not appreciate its older graphics. Nightdive has upped the resolution and increased the frame rate for movie scenes, and it looks good for what it is.

Scaled partially by AI Machine Learning, and it looks pretty decent.

Scaled partially by AI Machine Learning, and it looks pretty decent.

There have been complaints that the game looks inferior to the original. However, I haven’t played the original game, so I can’t really comment. In my eyes, Nightdive probably did its best to touch up the visuals of a 25-year-old game without giving it a full remake. The graphics are dated for sure, but you would expect that for a game of this age. blade runner the atmosphere is great, though, and captures that futuristic noir seedy setting quite well.

The sound of this game is really good. The soundtrack has a lot of bits from the movie, and they’re so effective in setting up this noir cyberpunk world. blade runner would have be much weaker without it. However, some bugs reappear, as sometimes there can be issues with the audio. Particularly with pauses in the audio during dialogue and with seemingly random music cuts. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s very noticeable.

Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition has been tested on Xbox Series X.


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