Matthew Owen has already published his review for What Remains of Edith Finch, and you can read that here if you haven’t already.
He loved it. If you haven’t read his review yet, I won’t spoil the ending by giving away his score, but it was fairly high.
He was so enamored that he actually gifted me a key to ensure I would play it and be able to chat about it. I played it on our youtube channel, and still haven’t had a full-on discussion with him. I thought I’d get my thoughts down here first.
On paper, it seemed like what I was expecting, but in execution, it had a very distinct personality and experience.
By the name alone, I assumed it was a pretentious walking simulator, written by a writer. I predicted I would wander around, listening to a narrative and feeling sad.
You could call it a walking simulator, but I think first-person perspective machine is more apt.
The game feels like a dev team had a brainstorming session of ‘how many games could we make in first-person’ and then turned that session into a game.
There were some brilliant moments, evoking experiences that I had never seen in gaming, yet could only be done with the medium. I hate spoilers, so will only say that my favorite moments used controls to convey a characters state of mind perfectly. Making me think long and hard about my own relationship with games. Papers Please is also an excellent example of using game mechanics to assist in story-telling.
The premise of the game is to experience stories and multiple perspectives.
There are several genius moments like the one I previously danced around, that make this game easy to recommend. I felt a wide range of emotions and play styles, and enjoyed pondering the highlights after playing (as well as having a great chat with our livestream audience).
I’m not as high on it as Matt.O however. There were forgettable parts that fell flat for me. The constant shift in perspective and tone also lessened the emotional impact in a few key areas. And the ending didn’t provide enough of a connecting thread or impactful twist to make me feel closure or much of anything.
When I was done, I was very happy I experienced it, but have little desire to run through even the best scenarios again. I did however, want to discuss it and have it rattle around in my brain.
There’s enough here to recommend it to anyone seeking an original take on the walking simulator, but go in with an open mind about getting a complete story.