Review – The Origin: Blind Maid (PS4)
When you’re an indie developer, there’s a fine line you need to walk on regarding trying to achieve an ambitious vision. You want to deliver something new, something that takes elements from your sources of inspiration to make a completely unique title, but you need to take into account that you’re probably inexperienced, you have a small team (with a small or nonexistent QA department), and a really low budget. You can’t over-promise, or else your game will suffer from a lack of polish. Let’s analyze this common mistake in the indie scene with the latest horror title to show up on the PS4, The Origin: Blind Maid.
When I first heard of The Origin: Blind Maid, I was impressed, especially with its setting. This is a modern horror game taking place in Paraguay, near the border with Brazil. You play as a corrupt politician with a dark past, running away from office duty in order to avoid prison time. As a resident of South America, I was hooked from the get-go. Despite the simplistic presentation, The Origin: Blind Maid immediately impressed me with some great voice acting, which felt so much better than the rest of game, to the point of correcting spelling and grammar mistakes present in its subtitles.
The game itself is a first-person survival horror borrowing elements from lots of bigger fish in the market: Outlast, Silent Hill, Resident Evil VII, Bloober’s first-person horror outings. You start out in the middle of a swamp, trying to find a tool to open the door of your locked (and bulletproof, adding more realism to the South American setting) vehicle. After being chased by a lunatic, you have to explore a somewhat large environment with little to no hand-holding. While I appreciate the freedom of exploration I was given, the game did a terrible job of properly telling me where to go and what to do. I had to resort to an online walkthrough of the PC version, released last year, in order to figure out what the hell I was supposed to do.
It doesn’t help that the environment is pitch black and repetitive, which hinders the few good things the graphical department has to offer, namely the excellent framerate (locked 60fps) and some high quality textures. I resorted to playing the game via a small map prompt, in a quasi-Metal Gear fashion, as trying to figure out what was in front of me was easier said than done. To make matters worse, there’s the combat, as well as some chase sections.
Fighting monsters is simple, but annoying. You have a gun and really simplistic FPS mechanics. You’re supposed to aim for the beasts’ head, but they keep hopping around like frogs on cocaine. You have scarce ammo, so not wasting these monsters with one pop feels like a borderline soft lock, as stealth works poorly on them. Running away from them is terrible for a couple of reasons: your atrocious stamina and the fact they will chase after you no matter what. These are the moments where the game also loves to glitch on you, especially if you’re trying to open a locked door with a recently acquired key. I had to resort to previous checkpoint states more than once due to this issue, as the game would pretty much lock on me, giving me no means to proceed.
That is the main issue I had with The Origin: Blind Maid. It’s just too glitchy. It’s too amateurishly unpolished. I can’t even say the game suffered from a rushed development cycle, given how this is a mere port of a title originally released for PC a while ago. It could (and should) have received fixes to deal with its many issue. I lost count of the amount of times its terrible pause menu UI would simply stop working, not letting me access menus and my inventory. Eventually I lost count of the amount of times the game froze on me after resuming play after closing any random menu screen.
I get the hindrances of indie development, but The Origin: Blind Maid suffers from an insufferable amount of issues that were basically ignored. I’m a pretty patient person in this regard, wanting to give these games a chance, but when the game itself doesn’t want me to play it properly, there’s little I can do about it. I gave up. I had to. Even though its story was halfway intriguing, especially when supernatural crap started taking over the narrative, I was more concerned with dealing with the myriad of technical issues ruining my immersion every five minutes or so.
The Origin: Blind Maid is further proof that having great ideas for a game is just 50% of what makes it a banger. If you can’t deliver on your vision, all you’ll have to offer is a disappoint game that will reek of “what could have been”. The ideas are there, the ambition is laudable, but the execution left much to be desired. I really wanted to like this game for its setting, unique ideas, and the origin of its studio, but I gave up eventually. It is so glitchy, so full of game breaking issues, I just couldn’t muster enough patience after a while.
Even though the game runs stupendously well and some textures are impressive, it looks cheap, it’s pitch black to an obnoxious degree, and its animations are janky as hell.
The gameplay is ambitious for a game of such budget: sanity meters, crafting, leveling up systems, stealth, first-person shooting, and more. Sadly, every single of these elements is hampered by poor controls, a terrible UI, and colossal boatload of glitches.
The voice acting and soundtrack are so much better than the rest of the game as whole, they even start to stand out in a somewhat negative way, as if they had been patched via a mod.
Fun Factor: 3.5
The ideas are there, the ambition is laudable, but the execution left a LOT to be desired. I wanted to like The Origin: Blind Maid, but gave up after struggling with so many issues and game-breaking glitches.
Final Verdict: 4.5
The Origin: Blind Maid is available now on PC and PS4.
Reviewed on PS4.
A copy of The Origin: Blind Maid was provided by the publisher.