What Remains of Edith Finch is a first-person narrative adventure video game by Giant Sparrow. But, if we skip the official statement part, What Remains of Edith Finch is a milestone in the history of narrative-driven, self-exploring adventure genre.
Maybe we believed so much in a family curse…
…we made it real.
When I start a narrative-driven game, I always get overly excited when the loading screen appears. I know that whatever I will experience through the game, it will be unique. After the loading screen, I’ve found myself standing in the woods. Since What Remains of Edith Finch is a walking simulator, I immediately checked my feet. Here they were, I even got a body along with my feet. I was lucky this time.
What Remains of Edith Finch offers the most green and surreal woods you will ever come across while playing a walking simulator. I was able to see the famous and cursed family house from the distance. I knew that this game will get gradually weirder and weirder. I pulled myself together and moved on.
“The house was exactly like I remembered it. The way I’d been dreaming about it.”
The game tells the story of The Finches, supposedly a cursed family which I am the last member alive, Edith Finch. I was 17 years old at the time and already haunted by the memories of dead family members. At the first look, the environment of What Remains of Edith Finch portrays a serene view and a wide landscape which you could enjoy a long and peaceful life. But, seeing everything through the eyes of Edith teared a hole in my heart. Every look, every belonging was a memory which reminded her of a dead relative. The beauty was stained by death.
With a key in my head, I reached the house. From the outside, it was obvious that Edith had a crowded family back then and I needed to be prepared for a flood of saddening memories. I took a deep breath and went in. The house stunned me. It was beautiful in every way; it was full of books, pictures, colours, comfort, tranquility and memories. What could have happened in a place like this? How come The Finches faded away? At this point, Edith landed a hand to me. They left the house in such hurry, that they didn’t have time to even clean the table. The house was frozen in time, it was exactly like Edith left it seven years ago. A memento of the family curse. But, I was there for a reason, I needed to know how my family died.
While playing the game, Edith tells the story of her cursed family. Everything Edith says also appeared on the screen, but the animations were jaw-dropping. I watched it with a joy when a sentence flied away or broke into pieces or hit the screen. That was one of the best ideas I’ve ever came across while playing a walking-simulator and from now on, I know I will always be looking for a smart and unusual idea like that in a game.
The Finches loved their house and they built secret passage ways through the walls and between rooms. In every room I entered, I was stunned by the detailed art work. There was nothing, not a single thing that I would cut out amongst these items, there was not a thing that will offend the eye. Moreover, every room was full of personal items and belongings which fit perfectly both to the design and the personality of the owner.
Here is a tiny gallery:
But, The Finches was disturbed by a curse. According to Edith, they called the curse upon themselves. The dark clouds were always on the horizon for the family. It is no secret that all the family members except Edith are dead. No spoiler in that, for each death defines the masterful story-telling.
As I entered the rooms, I learned how each of them died. Each has a unique story, each was the weirdest but the most perfect soul I could ever met if they were alive. Each with their hobbies, rooms, letters, toys, books, dreams, fears and desires carved in my brain. But, little Molly with the creepy story which I will always remember while trying to sleep; and the cool brother Lewis with his imagination and incredible mini-game in his mind will always be my favorites.
What kind of family finishes building a cemetery before starting the house?
The family secret unraveled as I witnessed each fascinating death, the gameplay and artwork changed in every room I entered. My every step accompanied by great, great soundtracks, while I was experiencing the last moments of their lives from their eyes. What Remains of Edith Finch left me with so many questions, but in the end, I know that their eyes were closed, but hearts were open.
What Remains of Edith Finch took me three hours to finish because I was lost in the woods for a good ten minutes. It is rather a short experience, but it is at full. Not a single minute of these three hours is lost. Amongst all the walking-simulators I’ve played, and I’ve played a lot, What Remains of Edith Finch is the best one by far.
Even though, you may witness some FPS drops while approaching for the first time to the house through the woods and while the game is saving. It is just a minor issue which won’t last more than few seconds.
Giant Sparrow did a splendid job with What Remains of Edith Finch and from my point of view. This game is what a narrative-driven, self-exploring adventure game should be. What Remains of Edith Finch offers a great narrative with mezmerising visuals, saddening moments with mini games, brings unique and unusual new ideas to the genre, a different point of view to the inevitable end of all beings, elegant and detailed characters and environment designs to the game. With no doubt, it is a work of art.
- Splendid architectural and environmental storytelling
- Unique, detailed and various art, character and gameplay design
- Emotionally destructive & satisfying (just how we like it)
- Great soundtrack
- Too beautiful to end in three hours
- Some minor performance issues
What Remains of Edith Finch was reviewed using a Steam key provided by the publisher.