What Remains of Edith Finch Review
Have you ever imagined what people were thinking when they died? Have you ever thought what was going through their mind in their last living moments? What they were thinking as they stared death in the face? What Remains of Edith Finch does just that and does it very well. What Remains of Edith Finch is a first-person, story-driven game in which you play as the character, Edith Finch, as you walk around a house you inherited from you grandma that your entire family lived and died in. As Edith, you walk around this house and get to experience every family members last living moments before they died. Edith Finch was Developed by Giant Sparrow Games and is sort of a sequel to their first game, The Unfinished Swan, and both were published by Annapurna Pictures.
The way in which this game tells stories is incredible. Walking through the house is a little slow moving due to there not being a sprint button, which is really annoying in the start as you make your way through what seems like a rain forest to the house. Later on, it doesn’t seem like much of a problem because everywhere you need to get is a fairly short distance away. This game doesn’t have near as much interaction as other games in the same vein like Gone Home or Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, but there is enough interaction to break up the constant slow walking. At first, it’s a little confusing because every door in the house is sealed with some sort of glue around the edges and you’re not too sure where you need to go. Luckily for the player, there is only one door you’re able to get in and it’s the only one that’s opened. That room is where you find out that all the rooms are interconnected with secret passages. Each secret passages entrance is hidden behind something like a book and each book is slightly interacted with to reveal its path. The entire time you’re walking through this house, you get the feeling of emptiness and being alone. The whole house looks as though the family that once inhabited it just up and left one day. Food is still left on tables and dishes still left in sinks, never to be cleaned, let alone be used, ever again.
Every story that is told in the family member’s perspective is cleverly told and gorgeously portrayed. Something that Giant Sparrow did with What Remains of Edith Finch that not a lot of other games do is they change up how the game looks during some of the stories. One of the stories told you’re playing as one of the family members that was an actress. While most of the game looks fairly realistic, during this story the visuals change to that of a cell shaded, comic book. Another story is from another family member who works at a canning factory, cutting heads off fish. You find out that he hates his job and wants to do something video game related and starts daydreaming about a video game he’d like to make its it starts off as top-down maze, then changes to more of a 2.5D visual and then goes full 3D and the character is about to be crowned king. There is a sense of fantasy and absurdity told in some of these stories and an unbelievable realism in others, but each one making you feel very sad that the person died so soon. One of the more realistic stories is told from the eyes of a 1yr old baby playing with his toys in the tub. The water is off and you’re playing as a frog, playfully hopping and splashing. Your mom comes in to drain the water and then replaces the stopper when all of a sudden, she receives a phone call from your dad. Playing as the frog, you hop on top of the handle, turning water back on and watch as the water soon rises above your head. Since each story is played out in first-person, through the family members perspective, there is a strong sense of immersion while playing. While every story is about death and filled with sadness, there’s this odd sense of life behind it all too and how all the characters seem to embrace what is to be their end. The music also tends to add this peaceful, yet sad feeling to every story and just when you are walking around the house and helps really make you feel as if you yourself are walking through this world and experiencing everything first hand. You can’t help but just get lost in these stories and even getting lost in how Edith Finch narrates events that happened in the past in certain parts of the house as you walk through each room. The world just seems so much deeper the more you play and you’ll probably long for more information about these characters lives as I did.
While this game only took me about three hours straight to complete the game, leaving only a few trophies left to unlock, I instantly wanted to go back and relive some of those harrowing experiences. Even though this game doesn’t have a very high replay value, I do think that Giant Sparrow is one of the best developers at telling stories and creating an incredible experience that even people who don’t play games all the time, can enjoy. I do think that this game is more than capable of going back one or two more times to play through, mainly to look for stuff that you may have missed along the way. The music and graphics, combined with the immersive storytelling, join together in a harmony that is hard not to be drawn to and lose yourself in for a couple hours. I can’t wait to see what else this developer is capable of creating and the stories they have yet to tell the world.