Game: What Remains of Edith Finch
Time: 3 hours
I received this game as a Christmas gift, and finished back over Christmas holiday. I’d heard of this game before, and had wanted to try it out, so this gave me the excuse I needed to get that done.
I don’t want to say too much about it, because this is a game that’s very easy to spoil. I went in pretty blind, and suggest that if you’re interested in trying it out, you do the same.
What is It?
The Steam store page describes it as:
What Remains of Edith Finch is a collection of strange tales about a family in Washington state. As Edith, you’ll explore the colossal Finch house, searching for stories as she explores her family history and tries to figure out why she’s the last one in her family left alive.
This is pretty much all you need to know to play.
The environment is very atmospheric, and while I thought at first this might be a spooky game, it didn’t turn out to be. Now, that being said, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things that unsettle or make you feel uneasy. There’s plenty of that to be found in these stories.
Generations of the Finch family have lived and died in this strange, winding house. Edith comes here as a young adult to revisit her childhood home and to find answers for herself. Almost every member of the family has a story about who they were and what led them to their demise.
As you experience these stories, you fill out a Finch family tree.
Once you complete the game, and fill in the entire tree, you can come back here anytime to replay specific scenarios based on the family members. Some of these were disturbing enough the first time, however.
Some might call this a walking simulator. I feel the variations in the style of storytelling and mechanics you encounter between family members’ stories help to break up the feeling of the traditional walking simulator.
Again, I can’t really say a whole lot without giving much away. But there was a particular sequence that involved someone who worked in a fish factory that was especially brilliant. The overlap of gameplay and story really put me right in that character’s mindset in a frightening way.
Anyhow, if there’s a nit to pick, it’s that the game is fairly short. While you can go back and replay stories, it only took me 3 hours of slow exploration to get through the game. For some people, this might be too short.
Looking back on it, I think forcing the game to be longer would have been detrimental. The game is compact for a purpose. It told the stories it wanted to tell, and left the rest to the player to figure out.
Also, the ending may not sit well with everyone. But that’s a call you’ll have to make for yourself.