Seventeen-year-old Edith Finch is last in her family line. The Finch family line has a perceived curse that causes all but a single family member from each generation to die unusually. Edith returns to her family’s home following her mother’s death to explore the Finch house that she and her mother abandoned years before. She learns about the deaths and fates of her entire family line and puts the pieces together of her family that she hardly knew.
My summarized review of What Remains of Edith Finch
What Remains of Edith Finch is less a video game, but more of a walking simulator. What Remains of Edith Finch is a wonderfully crafted tale of a family’s tragic stories of inevitable death if you look past that. Visually stunning and fantastic, the game’s narrative is strong. Some of the stories that play out are hard to watch, once you understand the severity of the character’s deaths. A short game that takes only a few hours to complete. What Remains of Edith Finch, only seems to have repayable if you are interested in discovering the lore and profound meaning that you may have missed the first time.
Full Thoughts and Reactions after playing What Remains of Edith Finch
Video games like What Remains of Edith Finch, classified as “Walking Simulators,” by gamers, tend to be viewed by some players as pejoratively. Video Games that have no gameplay except for movement and the occasional puzzle and discovery moment. You can get to the end of the game with relative ease. In the late 2010s, we started to see more of an influx of games following this form of “interactive narrative” style of games. Some excellent games support this, like The Stanley Parable, SOMA, and Firewatch. Other games that were fair like Oxenfree, which I covered before. Of course, there are bad ones, the worst that I’ve played was The Letter on Wii U. This new idea of storytelling and gameplay looks to be around for a while for better or far worse, depending on your favorite genre of game.
You control Edith, a seventeen-year-old girl, going back to her home to find out exactly what happened to her family. After her mom’s death, she travels to her family’s home and looks around to learn about a past that she never knew. Along the way, you even get to learn about Edith as she goes through the house. It was a sense of both self-discovery and coming of age at once. For her to go back and find that the family was cursed or not, made for a story, I thought to be great. The discovery of this family’s history to find out who she was, I liked as a fun premise for this walking simulator.
What Remains Of Edith Finch crafts a story that is amazing to follow and hard to continue with simultaneously. Some deaths were silly and can be considered avoidable and other stories that made me want to stop playing. Not that the particular story was terrible but just hard to watch when you realized the context of how they died. The visual style and overall story give a reminiscent style of Lemony Snicket’s: A Series of Unfortunate Events. I say that as What Remains of Edith Finch’s plot and tragedy matches the tone to A Series of Unfortunate Events, I feel.
The way that each of Edith’s family stories is presented and explained in a grand style, it felt very fantastic. The idea that the story got shown ranged in many ways. One story told comic book style, while another by a fantasy setting and another story shown through a camera lens. The creativity of the stories might not make the tragic tale’s any less grim. Still, it gave those who lived more fantasy and less depressing real-world ways of telling their stories. These tales told wonderfully, and Edith eulogies the tales, made me think about how I would have liked my life and death to be summarized. Something like the movie Big Fish that fantasizes how I lived or summed up in a newspaper blurb in the obituary section summing up my life in a few sentences.
The voice acting was great and gave a grim, somber tone to the family and their deaths as told to the player. I thought that the soundtrack was great as well. A great mix of fantasy and tranquil ambient music and themed fits all of the characters well. The game does have on-screen text that can get annoying at times as it follows the player around through the game, but presented in a unique way around the screen. Giving a storybook feel and keep with the game’s weird fiction feel.
This game is short. You should be able to beat the game in about a few hours or so. There isn’t much to go back to unless there was a detail that you may have missed the first time playing. It’s still worth trying out if you are a fan of walking simulators. There are some puzzle elements to the game, but nothing that will stump you for very long. There aren’t any game over sections, but checkpoints you’ll encounter when you get to another area. You will play through these tragic tales when Edith goes into each of her family member’s rooms. Each family member’s rooms are a shrine and memorial to each family member set up by Edith’s great grandmother Edie. Each family member does have a unique gameplay style. While significant, I feel that some members had more depth than others. I wondered if this was a conscious decision by the developers or because family members had content cut for time. It didn’t take anything away from the game for me, but some member’s I wanted a little more backstory’s about them.