Death is a tricky thing. Usually once players parish in the heat of battle it’s game over, however in What Remains Of Edith Finch death is inescapable. There is also no “heat of battle” just a continuous circle of death. If this all sounds incredibly dark, well then meet the Finch family. A family cursed by tragedy since the beginning.
Edith Finch, the last of her family, is revisiting her childhood home. A home built nearly a century ago, towers on a cliff in Washington. Inside each room serves as a tomb to each Finch family member who as lived in the house. Once the occupant passed, their room sealed up from outsiders. Inside each room lies a story. As Edith players will rummage through the winding corridors and secret passageways to uncover the mysteries behind each family member.
The stories found in the house are where the real gameplay takes place. Once inside a room, interacting with a small trinket will trigger the moments of the Finch’s lives. You will never find yourself repeating any actions from bedroom to bedroom. There is a sense of wonder for each adventure, because each one was so different from the prior. I loved how each time I never knew what I was getting in terms of gameplay, art direction, and tone. None of these bit size narratives fit into a tradition game either. Most of them are fantastical and awe inspiring, I don’t want to spoil anything because the game really relies on its excellent sequencing.
What Remains Of Edith Finch is not a challenging game. The only real challenges are figuring out where to head next in the house. You won’t be challenged to a game of wits or strength; instead you will be confronted emotionally. Some stories don’t hit as hard as others, but they still have an emotional tug. One caveat I had was the controls. It felt as if I was wading through waist high water and often you will be controlling Edith’s arms and getting them to open a book or turn can be a little clunky.
The rooms are incredibly detailed. Some of which were built in the 1800’s have an eerie feeling, while a modern room may bring back a bit of nostalgia. Developer Giant Sparrow has crafted a wonderfully twisted environment, I just wish there was a little more to interact with. Rooms are crafted so tightly and with such detail that I wanted to touch more of them. I found myself searching thoroughly through each room desperate to learn more and there is more, but most of it comes in small morsels of environmental storytelling.
Each story was engaging and never out stayed it’s welcome. It’s great that each vignette stood on its own, yet enticed me to keep playing. It was a little over 2 hours by the time I saw the credits run and even the credits are packed with personality.The little downtime in-between sequence provides a perfect pace and gives players a small window to think about each one before finding themselves in another heartbreaking situation. By the end What Remains of Edith Finch had me appreciating the time we have left, instead of focusing on the inevitable death.
- Excellent Story Telling
- Variety In Gameplay
- Un-interactive Environment