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Firewatch Review: Escaping Escapism

Real Talk By: Haggy

Explaining Firewatch to someone is difficult, as the act of doing so would somewhat spoil the whole experience.  It is a highly narrative game, with the story seeping in almost everything you do.  So, if you don’t even want the chance of a spoiler, and to go in completely blind like I did, just know the game is a great experience.  Even if it’s one of those games where it’s almost just watching a movie.

However, if you don’t mind potential spoilers, let’s elaborate.

The first thing I noticed about Firewatch is how functional it is.  It’s not unheard of for a game to just, y’know, work on startup.  However, in PC gaming, games rarely just work at the get-go without at least some sort of complication.  Firewatch blew me away with the fact that it was well optimized and running in not even a minute of me clicking ‘play’.  I was even playing the game itself in even less time than that.  Strong points there as I hadn’t a single problem from that point on.

firewatch1

The next thing I noticed was the story.  It’s really great so I won’t go into too much detail, but the setup is that the player takes the role of Henry, someone who has had a troubled past having just accepted the job of a fire watcher, basically someone posted in a forest to look for fire and other strange things.  It’s all going well, but things start becoming peculiar very quickly.

Soon after the story begins, the next thing a player will notice is the very well made environment.  It’s not high poly, but it is definitely well stylized and well colored.  Everywhere you look almost looks like a stylized painting, though it’s not quite there.  Still I definitely appreciated how the game looked in my playthrough.

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Gameplay isn’t too much to write home about.  The dialogue, going through the environment (As well as a bit of problem solving) are a grand gesture, but I keep getting the feeling that this experience wouldn’t lose anything if it were just a movie.  The game has come up with creative ways to get from point A to point B but mostly it’s just an excuse to have dialogue between you and your friend Delilah.  Sounds a bit dreary, but honestly the voice performance here and the plot in general definitely lends itself to the game’s enjoyment.

Tragically, that is about all I can say without ruining the game for you.  It is engrossing, well written, well made narrative that you get to drive at your pace, and by the title of this review there are definitely deeper meanings to be ascertained here.  In short…

Firewatch Gets

4mf

 4 out of 5

What’s Legit?

+Great Visuals

+Great Story

+Great Value at $20

+Superb Functionality

What’s Perpetrating?

-Some Areas That Seem Traver-sable Are Not

-Long Travel Times Sometimes Gets Aggravating

-Game is Somewhat Short

#Firewatch @PlayLegit

firewatch

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