July 10, 2019 at 4:07 PM #819
What Remains of Edith Finch
Rating: 4.0 – Great
A short, but emotianal tale
Despite my passion for story-telling, it’s rare for any medium to really move me in any sort of emotional way. The closest is probably the cringey, unnerving feeling I get during a good horror sequence. But I’m usually too caught up in analysing the proceedings to ever be effected by love/death/relationships, or any of the more heartfelt emotions. My head is pretty good at reminding me that it’s just a story, and unless something either comes completely out of the blue or in truly heartbreaking fashion, I’m usually pretty well equipped to deal with whatever is thrown at me.
So it’s a pretty big statement to say that What Remains of Edith Finch brought me as close to tears as I’ve come due to a film/book/game story since 2010 when I first saw Toy Story 3. One of the stories within the game was so utterly tragic that I felt that unfamiliar lump in my throat, and knew that if I let myself, I could have shed a tear or two. Another of the stories had me stop just before the end as I realised how it was about to conclude, as though me rejecting it and deciding that I didn’t want to play it would prevent it from coming to fruition. Of course I did, in the end, though this one left me feeling more desolate than on the verge of tears. It’s hard to explain without spoilers, but if you’ve played you will understand, and if you haven’t then you should, as much as I may have just put you off.
In all intents and purposes, this is another Â¡Â®walking simulator’ that seem to have become so shrouded in controversy due to whether or not they live up their Â¡Â®video-game’ tag. For me, it’s always been about what the developer is aiming to do. I’d rather a game aim for, and deliver, a top class story by putting gameplay to the back-seat than tack on some mediocre gameplay just for the sake of it. What Remains of Edith Finch is an incredible experience, and I felt no less of a part of it due to my only input being guiding my character around the house than I would have done if I’d had to shoot zombies on the way, or race motorbikes. The game is what it needs to be for you to maximise your appreciation of the beautifully told story. Now that won’t be to everyone’s tastes, and if you picked this up on a whim hoping for some pulsating gameplay to keep you going for the weekend, then you’ll be disappointed. But then you’re setting yourself up for disappointment with any game you went into completely blind.
The music matches the narrative superbly, and really helps to evoke the emotions that the developers were going for. Sometimes through serenity and tranquillity, other times through juxtaposition, and others just plain silence.
Technically I did suffer quite a bit of slowdown, and one strange glitch which meant I couldn’t perform an action that enabled me to progress the story. The graphics are nothing to shout about either, though the minimalist approach to character models just aids the focus on the actual story being told. Environmentally, there’s a hell of a lot of detail to look out for, so I think it was just a case of the simplistic approach suiting the tone.
I bought this game in the recent Playstation store sale for about half price, and I can see it as one being made available with the monthly PS Plus games in the future. It’s one that’ll last you two to three hours with little replay value, so it’s up to you as to what sort of price you’d value that. All I can do is vouch for it as a fantastic experience for as long as it lasts, and one that is definitely worth picking up at some point.
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