13 Feb 2016

Firewatch Review


Wyoming, 1989. Henry, a volunteer fire lookout is assigned to a tower in Shoshone National Forest. When he begins to explore the surrounding areas, mysterious occurrences are set into play and Henry must use only his navigation and his friend on the radio, Delilah, to help solve the problem.

Firewatch is, by no means not a bad game. In fact, it might be one of the best games of its kind. That is, to say, essentially a walking simulator with pretty visuals and an interesting plot. One thing that had me hyped for this game was the artists surrounding it: Jake Rodkin and Sean Vanaman of Telltale Games team up with other creatives such as Jane Ng and Olly Moss to form the studio Campo Santo and create a beautifully intricate world. I must also praise the voice talents of Rich Sommer (Mad Men) and Cissy Jones (The Walking Dead: Season One) who deliver very strong performances despite never seeing their faces.

There were so many times in the game that I had to stop to drink in the view and take a few screenshots (you can find them on my profile, there are very light spoilers). The game's mysterious plot was engaging and I definitely felt the urge to keep going especially when I wanted to take a break. This is, unfortunately, one of the game's flaws: it's too short for what it tries to do. The entire game is only about 3 or 4 hours in length. I finished it in a single sitting and I kind of wish there was a bit more in there. I'm not saying add a lot of filler content, nobody likes that, however I do think there should have been a bit more 'gameplay' - something to make the player think or feel engaged. Otherwise, they're just playing an interactive movie.

Visuals, sound, controls etc. - it's all fantastic. One of my favourite experiences in a video game. It's quite early to tell but I think it's going to be very popular among fans of walking simulator games. However, with the £15 price tag for only 3 hours of content I would suggest waiting for a sale or price drop. I hope it does get one eventually because it's a great experience. I'm looking forward to future projects that Campo Santo embark on!

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