Review: What Remains of Edith Finch (PS4)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PC

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: What Remains of Edith Finch
Format: PSN (2.83 GB)
Release Date: April 25, 2017
Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
Developer: Giant Sparrow
Original MSRP: $19.99
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 16
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
What Remains of Edith Finch is a remarkable experience. It takes players through the tragic story of a family cursed by death. Reminiscent of Gone Home, this is a story about a woman exploring her childhood home, but where Gone Home is mysterious about where the family is, Edith Finch is far more upfront and tragic.

The Finch family is dead with only Edith remaining. She explores the family home looking for answers about what happened to each member of the Finch family. The Finch family curse spans generations and their home serves almost like a museum with each person’s room being boarded up after they died.

Once in a room, Edith finds something that sends players into the body of the deceased on the last day of their life. Each person’s journey feels unique and heartbreaking for different reasons. Seeing the way each member of the family died is heart wrenching and the game consistently finds new ways to take players on different experiences to explore death. Some stories can be straightforward while others go for more of a fantastical approach.

Tragedy struck the Finch family at all ages, and the game doesn’t shy away from showing the youngest members final days. I cannot tell you how hard some of the stories hit me, playing through what I knew was someone’s death was an experience I didn’t expect to have such an impact on me.

… The attention to detail put into every inch of the house is astounding …
From a gameplay perspective, the journey is very linear. It’s nearly impossible to get lost. The game does a creative job in funneling players through the house and through each story. Paths are straightforward and the game uses text superimposed in the environment as a way of pointing players in the right direction. This is a narrative experience, there is not much expected of players other than to explore the world and see the stories within the game.

With that said, players should know immediately after reading “narrative experience” if What Remains of Edith Finch is their type of game. The storytelling here is fantastic and left an impression on me that I’ll likely keep with me for a while, but if you want more interactivity from a game then this is not going to do much for you.

Visuals:
The star of the game is the house. It’s a beautifully detailed building that feels lived in and real. The attention to detail put into every inch of the house is astounding and makes it feel like an important character.

Each room is decorated to reflect the inhabitant’s personality, making me genuinely believe that this was a real home to a real family for generations. With the family dying throughout the 1900’s, each room feels like a time capsule that perfectly captures the period in which the owner departed.

… I really felt her emotions throughout the journey …
There is a disappointing aspect to the visuals though and it’s due to some technical issues. Early on, when outside of the house, the game is hindered by framerate issues and a slight blurriness when moving around too fast. Once in the home those issues aren’t as apparent, but still present.

The game does a good job preventing the issues from popping up by confining the player to small rooms and keeping the walking pace to a stroll. Technical issues aside, it looks great because it works around the technical issues as opposed to pushing through them.

Audio:
Edith Finch does most of the voice work as the narrator and she does a fantastic job at selling the emotional impact of being the last remaining Finch. She delivers every line believably and I really felt her emotions throughout the journey.

Most of the family members take a turn at narrating their final days and each one does an excellent job. Even the children are voiced well which sometimes can be the hardest role to pull off in games. All the performances are believable and executed well thanks to the acting and a good script.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is one player only with no online component.

Conclusion:
I am going to remember What Remains of Edith Finch for a long time. I’ve already spent a couple days reflecting on my time with the game and I really loved every minute. While some might write it off as just another “walking simulator,” I think it’s one of the best narratives I’ve played through in a long time.

The game continuously tops itself in terms of the subject matter it explores and how it’s explored. The story treats dark subjects with respect and care and finds new and interesting ways to dig into them. I genuinely felt emotionally impacted by the heartbreaking storof the Finch family and I highly recommend checking out the game. It only takes a w hours to finish, but it’s a worthwhile experience.

Score:
9.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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