Firewatch: Kris’ Game of the Month, March

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This is going to be the best looking game in 2016…so far

Hey guys, its your girl KrisSimsters and Firewatch is probably one of the most beautiful games in 2016…so far. Yes, I know we’re only three months into the year, but damn this game is beautiful. Yes, its no Unravel and to be honest, I almost talked about that game, especially since its very original, but in the end, Firewatch captured my attention more. This will also probably be my quickest Game of the Month since its entirely short (its only three-four hours long), but I’ll try to stretch this review out as long as I can. Lets get this review started, shall we?


 

BACKGROUND:

Firewatch was released on February 9th, 2016 and it was released on PS4, Microsoft Windows, MAC OS, and Linux. It was developed by Campo Santo and published under Panic!. It received a 9/10 on Steam, a 4/5 on Metacritic, and a 9.3/10 on IGN. This is an indie-adventure game where you play as Henry, a guy who takes a summer job as a fire lookout in Wyoming. The first impressions of the game is that things will be easy, but as your go deeper into it, you’ll see a mystery starting to unfold.

MUSIC: 10/10. The soundtrack to this game is just as beautiful as the game, one of the best parts of playing this game is hearing the OST.

VOICE-ACTING: 10/10. There are only two voice-actors in this game; Henry, whose voiced by Rich Sommer (Mad Men) and Delilah, voiced by Cissy Jones (Life is Strange/Fallout 4).

ART STYLE: 10/10. Do I even have to tell you why? Just look at how beautiful this game is:

I just really love how this game looks, its definitely worth the twenty bucks.

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It even looks good at night…

PLOT:

As much as I can gush about this game’s art style, I kinda of have to move on to the actual plot. As I stated before, you are playing as a man named Henry. Your wife Julia-“Jules” as Henry would call her-has Alzheimer’s and her family has taken her back to her home in Australia for treatment, away from you. In order to get your mind off things, you decide to take a summer job as a fire lookout. You are stationed in Shoshone National Park, adjacent to, but not apart of Yellowstone National Park. The year is 1989. You have a “cool” supervisor by the name of Delilah.

Delilah is sarcastic, a drinker, and loves crossword puzzles. She calls you “Hank” and you call her “D.” Anyway, one of your first duties, on your first day, is to deal with two rude teen girls, who have been littering the park. After you take away their boombox, the teen girls get revenge by cutting the phone lines after the storm. The two girls are then missing and since Henry was the last person who saw them, he would probably be the most likely suspect. Towards the end of the summer though, the girls are found when they were caught for taking a tractor for a joyride. That was the subplot.

The main plot is about somebody who starts stalking Henry after he goes spelunking in a cave on his first day before the storm. The stalking doesn’t start until at least an hour into gameplay (its not that long as I’ve mentioned but it might be longer for you, I played through it twice and watch a Lets Play of it) when the supposed stalker knocks you out while your fishing at the lake. From then, the stalker starts listening to the conversations between you and Delilah; and commits several crimes including trespassing, theft, and destruction of property.

Towards the end of the game, its revealed that the stalker is former lookout, Ned Goodwin who came to Henry’s lookout a few years ago along with his son, Brian Goodwin. Delilah’s reason for Ned bringing Brian is because Ned wanted to instill manliness in Brian, even if it was against the rules for Brian to come along. Given Brian’s fate…well, I’m not going to spoil that for you. The ending itself is a pro and a con, let me explain.


PROS & CONS:

Pros:

1). Overall Gameplay: The overall feel for this game is fantastic especially if your a PC/Mac user. PS4 users experienced framerates dropping while playing this game (I’m sure they’ve been fixed by now), which is why I say if you have a Steam account, get it on Steam.

2). Gives You Memories: So after I had beaten the game, I was roaming around on YouTube when I came across this video, and long story short, after you’ve beaten the game (and your willing to spend an extra $15) the pictures you’ve taken (whether you used the roll or not) with the disposable camera you’ve gotten within the game can actually be yours. All you have to do is fill out the online link you’ve seen after the credits roll. The name of the company if Footdome and the actual package is manufactured by Panic! Inc.

3). The Ending (The Good): As I’ve stated before, the ending could be seen as a pro and a con. Lets get into the Pro side. One thing everybody agrees is that the ending is very anticlimactic because the fire you and Delilah have been watching-I called it Flapjack-is finally big enough that it’ll burn everything you don’t pack; this includes your turtle, your books, your wedding ring (if you don’t put it back on), your picture of you and Jules, and even your pine cone collection. Now onto the good part of this ending, you get one last tape recording from Ned and it explains he did to you and Delilah during the summer. And then you find his hideout and learn that he has moved deeper into the Shoshone. That’s it, he’s moved on and maybe so should you. While this ending might work for those who don’t play games often, if you are an experienced player…

Cons:

1). The Ending (The Bad): You can see how this is rather bad ending. The whole game was built around a mystery of a stalker and the only thing he gives you that bad explanation. Yes, I’m sure he’s probably suffering from PTSD from not only being in the military, but for Brian’s fate, but he’s a coward. A good (a really good) ending would have been if Ned would have came out of hiding and admitted on why he did what he did. And how was he able to hide out there for some damn long? Yes, he had food, but why did he have food? Why did he have the materials to survive?

2). Delilah: I’ve had rather weird feelings throughout this game when it came to Delilah. She’s neither trustworthy or non-trustworthy throughout the game, depending on her mood. When she heard that the teenage girls had killed the phone lines, she wanted Henry to destroy their camp. When they went missing, she didn’t want to talk to the police. When they found out about Brian, she didn’t want to do anything about it. And it doesn’t matter if you were nice and friendly or wanted to run off with her, at the end of the game, you do not get to meet her. What is Delilah hiding? Maybe, she was the one helping out Ned all these years, knowing it was against her orders and knowing that she could be risking her job. Did she know about Brian before then? Probably not because of her reaction when she finds out through Henry.


Final Thoughts:

Nobody in this game is perfect; Delilah’s got a history almost as tall as me (if not taller), Ned Goodwin did what he did and Brian’s fate suffered in the end, and its quite possible that Henry committed a emotional affair because he wanted to find any excuse to get away from Julia. And the game reflected that, something that’s beautiful on the outside and ugly on the inside. This could also explain why there was no good ending in the game, nothing good comes easy. My name is KrisSimsters, Stay Golden guys.

FINAL RATING: 9.5/10. Good game, iffy ending.

-Follow me on Twitter @KrisSimsters

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Stay Golden
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