Title: What Remains of Edith Finch
Available On: PS4, PC
Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
Developer: Giant Sparrow
Genre: Adventure, Indie
Official Site: What Remains of Edith Finch
Release Date: April 25, 2017
Where To Buy It: PlayStation Store ($19.99) Steam ($19.99)
When it comes to What Remains of Edith Finch, I have heard the developers say time and time again how important it is to go into the game knowing as little as possible. After playing through the game, I really understand what they were saying. So in this review, I will do my very best to leave as much of the story out of it as I can. But know this, Giant Sparrow’s newest project is a truly heartbreaking, haunting experience with shining moments of joy, happiness, sorrow, and understanding that absolutely no one should miss.
The best way to describe What Remains of Edith Finch would be like playing through a collection of short stories. You play as Edith Finch as she returns to her (very Burrow-esque) childhood home. As you explore the closed off rooms of the Finch family home, the history of the mysterious deaths of the Finch’s before you begin to come to life. From there, the stories unravel with a bit of the real and the surreal that come together in a surprising, sad, yet heartfelt, ending.
Obviously, this is a very story driven game, and it is written extremely well. So good, in fact, that as the final credits began to roll, I have to admit that I was crying. Anybody who has ever experienced death or tragedy in their family can find something really special in the way Edith Finch deals with the idea of death. The game provides a great balance between sorrow and happiness (and even a little dark humor) that keeps the game from getting too heavy. The riveting and unique stories you come across in the Finch house will continually drive you to the next one. The narrative adapts really well to its walking simulator-ish gameplay with creative stories that switch up the gameplay. One of my favorite things about the game is the unique ways that the Finch family stories are told. Each little story is like its own “episode” in the game that will provide a new art style, gameplay mechanic, or a look at a new land.
It is almost impossible to talk about the game without talking about how beautiful it is. What Remains of Edith Finch is a beautifully haunting piece of work that pays great attention to detail. Much of my time in the game was spent just looking at everything, and it is something I would suggest to anybody who picks up the game. Definitely, take your time with it. However, despite how beautiful it was, there were some occasional hiccups with the game graphically. But it was never enough to break me of my immersion or enjoyment in the game (To be honest, that’s literally my only “complaint” when it comes to the game). The environments are as diverse as the stories they tell, and it is obvious to see how much love and attention went into creating them. Each environment is as different as the characters who inhabit them.
The experience is a short one, especially if you run through all of the rooms without examining them. And, sometimes, not everything makes sense right away. That, however, is the charm and truth behind this story, or stories really. Life, and family for that matter, don’t always make sense right away. But, with time and curiosity, slowly begin to come together. For the message it is trying to make, the game really is the perfect length. I promise that you will continue to think about What Remains of Edith Finch after it is over. It’s one of the rare occasions where I finished a game and immediately had the desire to start it over again. Full disclosure, I did go back and play through a few of the stories once the game was over because I just couldn’t help myself.
All in all, What Remains of Edith Finch is an exploration of life and death and the secrets they bring to light. You will come to care for each member of the Finch family, and although your time with each of them is short, you will grieve them just the same. It is an experience that is truly unlike anything else in the industry with its story-driven narrative, unique characters, and ever evolving gameplay and art style. This game will make you feel it all: joy, sadness, grief, freedom, and even laughter. With a short, meaningful experience like What Remains of Edith Finch, there is no reason to not to give it a shot. And you won’t be disappointed.
- Gameplay: What Remains of Edith Finch is a walking simulator on steroids. While the game is mostly finding your way from one story to the next, there is plenty here to keep you interested and on your toes. The short vignettes that tell the story of your family all involve different forms of gameplay, storytelling, and art styles that will really keep you involved in the story.
- Graphics: This game is beautiful. The attention to detail in the creation of this world is just astounding. The game also offers a wide variety of art styles and landscapes that keep the game visually interesting. However, there were a few graphical issues like clipping or environments taking a moment to pop, but not enough to break the immersion in the game.
- Sound: The developers took full advantage of music and sound production when it came to progressing their story. Both are used incredibly well throughout the game, and it really does its part in making What Remains of Edith Finch the experience that it is.
- Presentation: Overall, the elements of the game all work together incredibly well to create a beautifully thoughtful experience. This is definitely a game that you will continue to think about well after it is over, and I would highly encourage playing through it again.
- Unique, well-written story
- Inventive storytelling
- Interesting characters
- Beautiful environments
- Occasional graphic issues