What Remains of Edith Finch: Review
A Recommendation for the New Gamer
The gaming world can be intimidating when you focus on major esports titles such as Fortnite or Call of Duty. Smaller games, like What Remains of Edith Finch, provide stories and accessible mechanics and are often looked over by the gaming newcomers. There are many games where you point and shoot, or solve puzzles, but few dedicate themselves to inducing emotions in the player.
I am not one to easily be moved to tears from movies and games but What Remains of Edith Finch provoked just that. It led me on an emotional rollercoaster that left me filled with curiosity and always wanting more, yet when the ending of the game arrived I was satisfied and felt full.
What Remains of Edith Finch starts the player sitting on a boat, where you then look down and open a book titled “Edith Finch”. Shortly after, you arrive in a forest, you slowly walk towards an abandoned house. You play as Edith Finch, one of the last surviving members of the Finch family, who returns to her family home after her mother’s funeral. The Finch family suffers from a curse, and as you open the book to discover your family tree, you see that many members of the Finch family’s stories are yet to be uncovered. Once you enter the house, you are encouraged to explore, looking at everything and interacting with as many items and areas as the game allows.
Each family member has their own room, which has been sealed off and left as is on the instance of their death. As you play the game, you are completely drawn in to discover every nook and cranny that each room offers. It never felt like the items and rooms were a part of a perfectly arranged movie or theatre set. The rooms all felt lived in, with books left open, food neglected and out to rot, and personal items like photos to collect dust.
You begin to discover the Finch family tree with Molly Finch. As you play and discover her story, you are put into the perspective of multiple animals, including an owl and a shark. The different mechanics you experience throughout the game range from being placed inside a comic book, to experiencing both one’s mundane reality and their imaginary, while having to struggle to control both on the same screen.
Although you play through people’s last moments, there is an underlying hopeful feeling that accompanies you as you’re playing as each of these characters. Their untimely demise is heartbreaking, but being able to discover their stories as you explore their individual rooms gives you a feeling of familiarity that contributes to the game’s comfortable eeriness.
Though the gameplay mechanics primarily consist of walking, the game doesn’t feel slow or dragged on like many other walking simulators. I have a tendency to rush from point A to point B, so the game’s slow walking speed initially concerned me, however having interactive subtitles appear at points of interest, had the game feel like I was playing through a book. The game often let you interact with the subtitles, whether it was untangling them by flying a kite through them, or taking the shape of dandelion seeds blowing in the wind, What Remains of Edith Finch never failed to bring in creativity.
Edith’s commentary occasionally felt mundane, and subconsciously led me to believe I was done searching a room, which led me to miss intricate details which I realized after I finished the game. Each Finch members last moments are all so different, yet the Finch curse begins to become all too familiar, where it is expected, but never repetitive. What Remains of Edith Finch leaves the player with a solemn ending, it secretly feels hopeful, although you already know your future fate. Once the story ends, there isn’t much else to explore aside from your feelings of hope for the final Finch member, and that they live life to the fullest until their inevitable passing.
What Remains of Edith Finch is available for PC, Xbox One and PS4.