Developer – Giant Sparrow
Publisher – Annapurna Interactive
Platforms – PC (Reviewed), PlayStation 4
Video version – https://youtu.be/UQoM_rTjRuM
I’m having a little dilemma with reviewing What Remains of Edith Finch. I don’t know what to say about this game. It’s a first person walking simulator in a nutshell. You play Edith Finch and you’re the last remaining member of the Finch family and you learn about each member of the family by going through an enormous abandoned house. It tries to do what most, if not all, first person narrative heavy games tries to do, hook with you an emotional story and great writing.
In my opinion, it does the latter, not too sure about the former though. I already knew going in, that it was going to be a good game. From the comments that I’ve read before playing, it was supposed to be this really well written collection of stories within a story that will tug at your heartstrings. I wasn’t sure if I was reminding myself of all this when playing and that if I didn’t somehow like it or feel emotional that I’m some sort of monster or just weird.
I could talk about the surface level things that I liked. The design of the house was great. Each room tells a lot of what the occupant was about, even before interacting with the story object. The house is just gorgeous, each room has its own personality, lots of secret corridor like machinations and even a cool tower with more rooms and hanging walkways connecting them all. It was truly enchanting. Of course I have to finish this paragraph off with the old cliché, the setting was its own character.
Games like these are polarising. The stories weren’t relatable to me. I’m sure it would be to a lot of people though. I felt the length was just right, around 2 hours, while some might think it’s too short especially given it’s $20 price tag.
Near the end of Edith Finch, did I feel emotional? Yes, I certainly did. Problem is, I don’t know why. I don’t know if the game merited an emotional response from me. What was it that the game did to get me to feel that way? I couldn’t see what made it an emotional experience for others and yet I felt it? Each family member’s story wasn’t very long so there wasn’t time for me to feel emotionally invested. Like I mentioned previously, I didn’t relate to the story. While the writing was certainly great and I genuinely enjoyed exploring the house and learning about these characters, I didn’t feel like there was much of an emotional hook to begin with.
With that said, What Remains of Edith Finch does some interesting things with the narrative and storytelling and is set in one of my favourite locations in any game ever. There are a lot of things most players can appreciate from Edith Finch, but not all will get relate with it on an emotional level. I won’t be giving it a score, because I think it will be unfair for me to do so. It’s safe to say that What Remains of Edith Finch will be a different experience for a lot of people, and while that is true for most games, Edith Finch does it on a higher level.