On my mission to play the games I missed out on the first time around, I decided a lovely sunny bank holiday Monday was better spent indoors with the Playstation and another title which I have been meaning to tick off the list. After being distracted from my quest for a while due to God of War, Assassins Creed and other titles, I felt it was a good opportunity to take stock and finally get around to playing What Remains of Edith Finch.
I knew very little about the game prior to starting it other than people have raved about it for a while now. I think I bought it a couple of months ago after spotting it on the PSN Store and thought it was time to get involved before promptly downloading it and then forgetting I had it! All I knew about this title was that it was to do with an odd looking house. That’s it. So I was intrigued to see whether it lived up to the high praise it has received.
What Remains of Edith Finch was released in April 2017, developed by Giant Sparrow and published by Annapurna Interactive, the game received fantastic scores from the critics. The best way to describe the game is as a walking simulator with a mystery adventure style story throughout as Edith returns to the Finch residence after a prolonged period of time away. For me, the game falls into the same category as Everybody Has Gone to the Rapture and Gone Home as you learn about what’s happened as you move around exploring the world around you. If my previous reviews of these games are anything to go by, I like these types of games.
As Edith, you have returned to your family’s house. A oddly tall structure which looks as though it breaks several building regulations and stands by the beach. You walk through a patch of woodland to reach your destination as Edith talks of the night they left without actually telling you why until a bit later on. Everything is as it was before they departed and the house has been dark and deserted for a long time. What’s nice about this introduction is that as Edith is clearly saying this story as though it were written in her journal, it’s also written in the environment as you explore. When you make it to the house, you can then begin to wander and learn about the Finch family and the reason why all of the doors are locked with peepholes as the only way of looking in… until Edith arrives and starts finding ways to get inside.
I enjoyed exploring the house as Edith speaks of her family which some fond and some sad memories. As she wanders through she has the opportunity to delve into the lives of those who lived here before her… which means she sees a snippet of them before their untimely demise most of the time. These aren’t the happiest of tales. Some are darn right heartbreaking while others, such as Barbara’s story, have a more lighthearted approach. I don’t want to go into much detail about these stories as they are something best experienced when you don’t know what to expect. All I’ll say it go with it and keep exploring. You have limited options in regards to what you can do in the game other than walking and picking things up. You can also pull and push on occasion and who knows where that might lead. The overall exploration side of the story is charming, emotional and interesting as you learn about this kooky place and its even odder inhabitants. It requires a little imagination along with a suspension of disbelief but I was certainly drawn in.
It’s a lovely game to look at and the underlying soundscape and music really sets the tone as you delve deeper into the house and the surrounding area. Edith is reminiscing and a mixture of surprised and not surprised all the same time which comes across well in through the performance. We don’t see Edith’s face and therefore only have her gloved hands and pregnant belly to go on as we walk around but the emotion is there in her voice as we hear about the tragedies her family has faced. The house itself is interesting not only because of its structure but the way the room looks. Each is representative of its previous inhabitant be it clean and tidy, regimented or themed as you would expect a childs bedroom to be. The feeling of sadness and anticipation comes from looking through the peepholes and only catching a glimpse without knowing the full story of how that child or grown up passed on. It’s an effective method of building the story and makes it all the more emotional when Edith reveals what happened to them.
I really don’t want to give anything away which is very difficult as I want to tell you more. If you know the game well, you will probably know which stories I am referring to but I really would recommend that you part with your pennies and take 2-3 hours off from doing anything else to sit, relax and play this game. It is as good as everyone says if you’re a fan of games such as the ones I mentioned earlier and I’m glad that I finally got around to playing. What Remains of Edith Finch is available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One so be sure to add this one to your list if you haven’t already!