What Remains of Edith Finch (2017)

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    Steam, what is this game about?

    Winner of Best Game at the 2018 BAFTA Game Awards, as well as Best Narrative awards at the GDC 2018 Choice Awards, 2018 SXSW Gaming Awards, and The Game Awards 2017, 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. Each story you find lets you experience the life of a new family member on the day of their death, with stories ranging from the distant past to the present day.

    The gameplay and tone of the stories are as varied as the Finches themselves. The only constants are that each is played from a first-person perspective and that each story ends with that family member’s death.

    Ultimately, it’s a game about what it feels like to be humbled and astonished by the vast and unknowable world around us.

    Hey, buddy, got three hours to spare? If so, please give this title a try.

    As I sit here writing my commentary about this game, I am asking myself is this really a game? In fact, I am challenged by that classification for this game.

    Graphically, this game is fantastic. I played this game at 2K resolution and cranked up the resolution up to the Ultra settings. You can tell that the developers spent the time to give this game as much detail as possible. Well done.

    Storywise, this entertainment can be classified as a tragedy, with the family described as being cursed as all but one child of each generation dying and leaving a single child to continue the family line. The protagonist of this story, Edith, recalls her last visit to the abandoned home at in 2017 after her mother, Dawn passed away and leaves the key. Seven years previous, Edith and her mother, Dawn, ran away from the home after a nasty argument with their great-grandmother, Edie, leaving behind all of their possessions. The Finch home itself is unusual. Edith’s great-great-grandfather Odin, after losing his wife and newborn child in Norway, elects to move the remaining family — and their original house — to Orcas Island off the coast of Washington state. However, a huge storm capsizes the ship carrying the home just as it arrives at the island, and great-grandmother Edie constructs a new home within sight of the wreckage of the original home’s wreckage complete with secret passages. However, the curse appears to have followed the family, and as each member passes away, Edie seals up each room as a memorial, complete with a peephole into that room. Over time, as additional rooms are needed, they were attached on top of the original home… and subsequently sealed away.

    One of the the things that I liked about the story is that you have to explore the home and read the stories behind the deaths of each member of the family. Each tragic story has it’s own distinct visual style and way of narration, with one of the stories being done in the style of a horror comic book. As each story is completed, another part of the house is unlocked. While I liked the way the story was told, I felt that it made the entertainment too linear and on the rails. Although there are some puzzles to solve, I did not feel challenged at all. And, that’s my only gripe which makes me hesitant about calling this a “game”…. I feel that I should have been challenged more as a player.

    Once you have completed the game, check out the wiki for this game.

    Will I recommend this title? Yes, but because of the excellent story behind it and the short gameplay time, not because of the challenge.

    “All parts should go together without forcing. You must remember that the parts you are reassembling were disassembled by you. Therefore, if you can’t get them together again, there must be a reason. By all means, do not use a hammer.” —IBM Manual, 1925

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