I generally love walking simulators, a video game genre that has been receiving a bit more attention lately. These types of video games are perfect for even the most inexperienced gamer as for the most part, players are steering a character into a direction while the game narrative unfolds. With that said, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of What Remains of Edith Finch from developers Giant Sparrow.
You might recall Giant Sparrow’s previous work, The Unfinished Swan, a Sony exclusive title that released for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and the PlayStation Vita. Their latest release, What Remains of Edith Finch, puts players into a narrative that uncovers a family secret curse.
Because the narrative is crucial to walking simulator type video games, I’ll do my best to avoid giving too much away for those already interested in picking a copy of the game up. Players take on the role of Edith Finch, a young woman who returns to her childhood home, a place that was also home to several past generations of the Finch family.
Though, it seems that most members of the Finch family were met with an untimely death, something of which that Edith’s mother attempted to cover up. This ultimately left Edith and her mother to abandon the home years ago.
Now in present day, Edith returns in order to fully understand her family’s past and if there really is this supposed fabled curse. I’m sure that gamers will quickly draw to the similarities between What Remains of Edith Finch and Gone Home, another walking simulator released back in 2013 from The Fullbright Company.
Each involves a narrative that requires puzzle solving and exploration. Although, if my memory serves me right, I believe Gone Home features more of the puzzle-solving aspect whereas What Remains of Edith Finch offers more of a narrative experience.
Visually, the video game looks incredible with environments of both outside and within the home captivating me just enough to take my time in exploration. Unfortunately, while the game doesn’t look like an empty shell, there’s not a whole lot of interactivity available. Unless a certain object or area played a role within the actual narrative, gamers will have a “look but don’t touch” standard throughout the narrative.
As mentioned, the home in which Edith Finch is exploring was a household that suited the Finch family for generations. In order to understand what really happened to each Finch member, Edith must find a way to their room which will essentially trigger a flashback.
It’s within these flashbacks that players take on the role of that particular Finch member. Each one seems to come with their own unique game mechanics as well. You might be flying a kite into the skies gathering up debris or taking on the role of various animals chowing down on their prey.
While the developers Giant Sparrow likely felt giving a Finch member’s last moments would be enough to bring in an emotional attachment to the character itself, I personally never felt all that attached. These moments were too short and there were even times that I was unsure just how the family member met their grave ending.
That can also be said about the video game itself. The entire game took me about two hours to complete which could have been bumped up a bit more if there were more level interactions or perhaps more backstory for these characters.
Regardless, that’s not to say What Remains of Edith Finch is a title worth passing up. The short gameplay levels of each Finch member was fascinating and offered a fresh new experience each time. Upon completing the title, gamers will unlock an option to replay a character story as well.
If you’re looking for another walking simulator fix that’s heavily narrative focus then What Remains of Edith Finch might be title well worth the purchase. However, don’t expect too many puzzles or level interactions.
Disclosure: A copy of this game was provided for review purposes.