What Remains of Edith Finch was released in 2017 and as it is free for PlayStation Plus users this month (May ’19) I decided to finally see if it was as good as everyone said it was. The short answer: Yes.
A million times yes. Edith Finch is a 20 something young woman who returns to her eccentric family residence she left many years ago to rediscover her equally eccentric family. A family who believed there was a curse in which all but one in a generation would die under unusual circumstances.
Edith Finch is effectively a walking simulator, a game in which you walk from place to place interacting with things in the world. Walking simulators often get a lot of flak due to the perception that there is little ‘play’ in these types of games but some, like Telltale’s The Walking Dead, can provide some of the best narrative experiences in the video game genre.
In terms of visuals, Edith Finch is beautiful; it is colourful, quirky and has the perfect blend of cartoony and realistic visuals I have seen from a video game in any generation. There were many times I found myself staring in awe from the forest and chuckling to myself at some of the personally styled rooms in the Finch house.
The Finch house is a character in itself, with hidden passages and unique rooms. It is here where we discover Edith’s family legacy with a bedroom for each of her family members going back 4 generations. Each bedroom has its own style representing each member’s personality and these are perfectly crafted. I specifically enjoyed Barbara’s, which showcased her rise as a child star only to chronicle her later struggles as an adolescent the further you get into the room.
It is in these rooms where you get to play the moment where each character died. This sounds morbid but is as beautifully presented as everything else in the game. Each character has a unique story to tell and for the most part a unique play style. Molly becomes a cat and other animals as you attempt to satiate her hunger, Sam views everything through his camera, only advancing the story after taking specific photographs and Barbara’s story is presented as a cross between a comic book and horror film, complete with the theme from Halloween, to name a few. Each story perfectly fits the characters and after completing them allows you to look at their respective rooms in a different light and discover things you may have overlooked.
If I had any criticism it’s that there isn’t more of it, the game is relatively short and I was often left wanting to discover more about the Finch family. Another criticism could be that I would have liked to have been able to interact with more things in the rooms to get even more of a sense of each character but these are very small criticisms in a game that succeeds in almost everything it attempts.
What Remains of Edith Finch is one of those rare games where you feel like you’ve discovered something special. The story is interesting, funny, dark and heart warming and pulls you in from the get go thanks to Edith’s perfect commentary. The world crafted by developers Giant Sparrow is one of the most beautiful you will see in this and possibly any gaming generation, not just because of the visuals but because of the love and care taken when creating each family members room and the world surrounding them. Even in this world of ever advancing technology, two years later, What Remains of Edith Finch deserves all the praise and accolades it has already received and then some.
+ Beautifully and lovingly crafted world.
+ Fun and engaging story.
+ Each story individual with unique gameplay elements.