What Remains of Edith Finch is the newest game developed by Giant Sparrow and I was gracious enough to be given a code to experience it for myself after I was able to snag an interview with Lead Designer, Chris Bell, at PAX South earlier this year. You can find that interview here. It’s a compilation of tales of how the various members of the Finch family have perished throughout the years.
Its got an air of mystery to it from the very beginning as you’re walking up to the house through the woods and it keeps that mystery hanging over your head until the very end.
You are guided through each of the family members demise through a first-person experience, but not every point of view is the same. In one you may be looking through the lens of a camera, in another you could be swimming in the ocean as a shark. (Yes, a shark! And that’s not even the craziest part.) I honestly thought every family members story played a drastic part in the big picture. Some were dark and depressing, some you could tell were accidents. It touched on both sides of death and grievance by doing that. The denial that a person was mentally unstable or that something as little as swinging the swing fully around and deciding to give flying a shot could have such sudden consequences.
The attention to detail in the house was a huge factor that I LOVED! It didn’t look like some stock house you see in every other game. It made it actually feel like generations of this dysfunctional family actually spent their lives there. My favorite thing was the drastically different ways they visually told the story. You had one girl whose death was told in the style of a comic book, and another through the eyes of a toddler imagining amazing sequences his toys would perform for him. (and yes, said baby ended up drowning in that bath tub…that one really got me.)
This game is truly a work of art. From delving deep into a world surrounded by death and grievance, to being able to explore and experience every detail of the deceased. The graphics are breathtaking and make it hard not to completely immerse yourself into the story.
As far as negative things, I think the main thing that I would’ve liked to see more of would’ve been things around the house to interact with. There was very little outside of the journals of the deceased to really discover, but that was the focus of the game so I understand that.
In the end, I really liked that you still didn’t know exactly what was going on even up until the very last moment. It makes you thankful for the time that you have on this Earth and that you still have family in your life. I can’t imagine watching the people I love to be picked off by death one by one and then continue to have to live with not knowing what exactly happened because your family wanted to shelter you from the truth. Also, I really do wish that the game was longer. It was so beautifully done, it had me wanting more, even though it would undoubtedly lead to the heartache of the demise of another family member.
It may only be a little under 2 hours of gameplay, but I feel as if the $20 price tag is justified. It’s very obvious that a lot of skill and love went into the making of this incredible game.