I have always hated walking simulators even though they are usually loved by the critics. I never managed to find myself immersed in them mainly because of the lack of a coherent narrative experience and the lack of interactive gameplay segments. What Remains of Edith Finch is perhaps the first and only interactive adventure that I might have enjoyed and this is thanks to the excellent story structure, gameplay segments and the narrative building offered by the game.
What Remains of Edith Finch tells the story of the Finch family and how they were cursed to either die or mysteriously disappear. The game is open to interpretation of the user which means there is no clear cut answer to the story of each of the Finch family member, however the way they developers go through each of the story and how they let the player play out the story from their own experience is what makes the game so unique and stand out from other games in similar genre.
While most games usually put you at the start of an adventure without telling you the end goal, it was pretty clear from starting the game that we were going to explore the history of the Finch family. The game is never really ambiguous in the way it tells the story although there are some moments that feel more symbolic than reality which makes them all open to the rendition by the player.
What Remains of Edith Finch is essentially a compilation of mini games featuring a variety of different settings and most of them don’t offer much in term of interactivity. What makes these games fun is the way the developers have integrated them into the narrative so while they are simply meaningless if separated from the story, they become an immersive experience that shouldn’t be missed. It feels like the work of a genius and the developer Giant Sparrow deserves all the praise for it, because frankly speaking, I haven’t seen such interactive story experience in any game so far.
Majority of the game is set in the Finch family house where you get the opportunity to explore their rooms, visit their personal belongings and get an insight in their lives. The Finch family considered themselves cursed because of the terrible tragedies that each family member had to face, even stretching to their pets. Each of the Finch family member can be seen either disappearing, or getting killed in a gruesome way and the game doesn’t shy away from showing some of the more gruesome moment in their life. It explains their story with a degree of mystery that is not hard to understand and put together, you simply need to pay more attention. Some of their stories also offer unique gameplay segments that surprised me because they were well integrated into the chronicles of the Finch family members.
Some of the most memorable story segments for me revolved around an interactive comic which we could read, but also take control of the actual character in each of the comic panels when required. This is simply a creative way to tell the story and works well in the context of the story. The game is littered with numerous segments like that, some are just a few mins short while others will take you longer. Due to the variety it offers, the game never felt repetitive to me which is usually the case for most walking simulators.
What Remains of Edith Finch is a work of art strictly speaking. The game demands your full attention when playing the game. Each of the Finch family member has their belongings in their room and once we get to know their story, it is always interesting to see how the developers have carefully laid out and designed them. Even the background of each room tells the story of each Finch family member really well without reading a single word about them. Such is the attention to detail in most locations and the game is full of them so you if you are curious to find out more about a particular Finch family member, you will spend countless amount of your time looking at each and every thing.
The game isn’t necessary long so it never outstays its welcome, however it does suffer from some technical issues that can be distracting. This is true for the game on the PS4, which is where I reviewed it. The regular PS4 version suffers from some terrible frame rate sections especially when we are out in the open while even the PS4 Pro support is rather disappointing to say the least. The game doesn’t offer any supersampling or increased resolution but provides a better performance than the regular PS4 version, although it still suffers from frame pacing issues that make it hard to enjoy the game. The PC is arguably the platform of choice here so go for it if you want a better experience.
What Remains of Edith Finch Review (PS4)
What Remains of Edith Finch is one of the best interactive story adventure that I have ever played. It takes the user on a thrilling ride full of mystery, twists and drama. Unfortunately the game suffers from some technical issues that might sour the overall experience.