Title: What Remains of Edith Finch
Developer: Giant Sparrow
Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
Genre: Action & Adventure, Other
Platform: Xbox One
Age Rating: PEGI 16
Release Date: 19/07/2017
Price: £15.99 or £12.79 with Game Pass (free to play on Games Pass currently)
What Remains of Edith Finch is a haunting and eery, yet wonderfully captivating, story-driven adventure game. It was developed by Giant Sparrow who have only made one other game so far, but I’m certainly looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.
Throughout the game, you fill in the Finch family tree by reliving the story surrounding the death of each family member. The tree contains relatives from both the recent and more distant past, and as you progress, you discover more details about the Finch family heritage and home.
What Remains of Edith Finch has a similar feel to the game Gone Home in the respect that you move from room to room in the house, following the breadcrumbs of the main story. Yet, there’s an edge of melancholy as you’re led from one family member to the next, from death to death, each one becoming more personal to the character you play. That being said, there’s a good balance of both light-hearted moments and ones full of palpable emotion within the stories.
From the very beginning, I was impressed with the attention to detail in the artwork; the landscapes, the rooms in the house, everything was beautiful and well-designed – without exception. If your goal with this game is to escape reality, you’ll have no problem suspending your disbelief long enough to let your mind fall into the world this game creates.
The plot is narrated to you but also appears on walls, furniture or sometimes in the sky in a graffiti style. I liked this touch, and it meant that you didn’t miss a detail and until you moved away from the graffiti or where it had been (it disappears as the story progresses), the narration wouldn’t carry on.
It might sound as if it’s quite a repetitive game since you search for story after story, but each one is presented in such a different way, and the level of interaction required from you also varies. I like this because it offers different levels of challenge throughout the game and keeps you guessing about what might be coming up next.
I didn’t find any of the stories overly challenging and some of them had minimal challenge involved, instead seeming to be more of a fun activity, but all of this fitted in perfectly with the story. This may sound a little vague, but it would be tough to give an example without spoiling the experience; it’s better not to know exactly what’s coming up to get the best experience out of this game.
The controls took me a moment to get used to but once I’d been playing for a little while I found it made you feel more involved since you have to open the diaries/books etc. containing each of the stories. Unlike many games, once you’ve looked in a drawer or at point of interest, you can’t look again unless it’s a key item that will progress the story (and not once you’ve passed that key point). Initially, I found this annoying, but soon I decided I liked it because it kept the story moving and was a good indicator that I needed to move on.
Once you’ve completed each story, you can replay it, which is useful if you’re keen on collecting all of the achievements on offer. It’s also a nice feature for once you’ve completed the game because you can go back and play your favourite stories again. I think this makes up for the fact that if you want to replay the whole game, it erases the data from your first playthrough.
Since the stories all depict the death of family members, they often touch on more profound subjects such as mental illness and deaths of young children. I was impressed with the compassion and empathy in the stories when dealing with these issues and with the game’s treatment of grief in general.
My favourite aspects of the game are the variety of perspective given by the different stories and the overall atmosphere created by a brilliant story, great soundtrack and beautiful visuals. I finished the game in three sittings, but if I hadn’t been trying to keep the experience going for as long as possible, I feel like it could easily be done in one sitting because it’s so hard to put down. I found myself playing longer than I meant to every time.
What Remains of Edith Finch will appeal to gamers looking for an emotionally vested, interactive, plot-driven game with enough challenge to keep you involved but not over-taxed. It’s an all-round beauty that hooks you in from the start.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase What Remains of Edith Finch from the Microsoft Store on the following link, https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/p/what-remains-of-edith-finch/bslglg8p9t01?activetab=pivot:overviewtab