Firewatch Review - Burning A Hole Through My Heart

Firewatch Review - Burning A Hole Through My Heart

Firewatch is a fantastic story told in a beautiful place, alive enough to be gorgeous, but a tiny bit too empty.

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The ever-abused walking simulator again? I have been interested in this nonethless, even if it will probably get a lot of flak from the hardcore gamer crowd (add quotation marks where necessary). The only worry is, after playing through SOMA and currently The Talos principle, i notice they use the same (or incredibly similar sounding, i haven't looked it up yet) disembodied voice actor/actress which subtely bothers me in an are-there-really-that-few-actors-in-the-pool-to-choose-from sort of way. Eh, i'll check out the trailer i guess first.

Edit: Is IS her (or somebody etc etc) again! Oh weellll, not a dealbreaker. But they really need a few more options in gaming before people like me start getting creepily attached to the only soothing voice they know.

Xsjadoblayde:
The ever-abused walking simulator again? I have been interested in this nonethless, even if it will probably get a lot of flak from the hardcore gamer crowd (add quotation marks where necessary).

Edit: Is IS her (or somebody etc etc) again! Oh weellll, not a dealbreaker. But they really need a few more options in gaming before people like me start getting creepily attached to the only soothing voice they know.

I think something I enjoyed about Firewatch is that while it is a lot of walking and talking, it didn't feel as introspective as some of its contemporaries. I'm not too familiar with SOMA so I can't speak on that one, but it certainly doesn't fall prey to the same problems that games like Dear Esther or The Beginner's Guide had where the game is entirely about the narrator's recollection or discovery of something, and instead feels a lot more like a story you're an active participant in. Really, I think the comparison to Telltale games is much closer to how it feels, just in first person rather than the third usually seen from the typical "Walking Simulator" tagged game.

As for the voice actor, I rather like her, though this is the first game I've played with her in it, I think. Typecasting for certain voice types is unfortunately a thing in multiple mediums, though. I think the does very well in this one.

NewClassic:
I think something I enjoyed about Firewatch is that while it is a lot of walking and talking, it didn't feel as introspective as some of its contemporaries. I'm not too familiar with SOMA so I can't speak on that one, but it certainly doesn't fall prey to the same problems that games like Dear Esther or The Beginner's Guide had where the game is entirely about the narrator's recollection or discovery of something, and instead feels a lot more like a story you're an active participant in. Really, I think the comparison to Telltale games is much closer to how it feels, just in first person rather than the third usually seen from the typical "Walking Simulator" tagged game.

As for the voice actor, I rather like her, though this is the first game I've played with her in it, I think. Typecasting for certain voice types is unfortunately a thing in multiple mediums, though. I think the does very well in this one.

Telltale's style has always been quite pleasing in their ability to feel human and convincing enough to become invested with the characters. This title has a much more visually enticing, melancholic appearance in comparison, with the intro choices sounding like they are there to have an impact on the main game also, which if so, is pretty neat.

After looking into the voice actors, it appears...

Cissy Jones - Delilah in (Firewatch)

Erin Fitzgerald - Alexandra Drennan in (The Talos Principle)

Nell Mooney - Catherine Chun in (SOMA)

... all three games do not feature any of the same woman as the disembodied voice and it is instead me being a dumbo with their very convincing similarities. Unless my ears are so culture blind to US accents, but there really is something undeniably similar that confused my shameful hearing.

Xsjadoblayde:
... all three games do not feature any of the same woman as the disembodied voice and it is instead me being a dumbo with their very convincing similarities. Unless my ears are so culture blind to US accents, but there really is something undeniably similar that confused my shameful hearing.

You had me wondering for a minute there. They do sound very similar.

OT: Loved Firewatch but it is absolutely a Walking Sim. So don't buy it if you have that phobia to them that seems to be spreading these days, just so I don't have to listen to your whining on every forum I visit for the next week.

The ending felt poor and rushed, though they saved it towards the end with the final conversation. Not surprising though, as the conversations between the two characters was the best part of the game.

Juan Regular:
You had me wondering for a minute there. They do sound very similar.

OT: Loved Firewatch but it is absolutely a Walking Sim. So don't buy it if you have that phobia to them that seems to be spreading these days, just so I don't have to listen to your whining on every forum I visit for the next week.

I was one of the few weirdos who liked Everybody's gone to the rapture, which should make anything else under the genre (or whatever it officially counts as) a safe bet. ;)

I have mixed feeling about walking simulator. I usually enjoy them, except only watching them. I don't see any reason to actually buy them when I can just watch a let's play and get pretty much the same experience (I'm assuming none of the choice you make actually matters, just like walking dead). So, yeah it's pretty and the dialogue are good, but why isn't this a movie?

Visually striking game. I hope they add more to it in the future to encourage further exploration; a beautiful wilderness going to waste is a crying shame.

Possible typo? (Final review paragraph):

(...)Without it, Firewatch is pretty, empty. With the tension is gone, it's missing Something.

This was a nice read, Firewatch has been one of the PS4 games in my sights since last year's E3.

Meiam:
So, yeah it's pretty and the dialogue are good, but why isn't this a movie?

In this case, I would argue a lot of the personal tension wouldn't have landed as well if it was out of the player's hands. I think it could've made a fine movie (or book, or television show), but in this form, I think it made for a good game. There are a lot of ways to tell this sort of story, and we don't see games do it much. I think Firewatch did very well in bringing this sort of narrative to a game audience.

Really, I do think there is something to the use of player controls in here that would make a Let's Play or film version of it less good. It wouldn't be bad that way, really, just not as good.

Barbas:
Possible typo? (Final review paragraph):

(...)Without it, Firewatch is pretty, empty. With the tension is gone, it's missing Something.

Nope, fully intentional. It is an astoundingly pretty game, but that's an art design thing. Without the Something out in the woods, as it feels through most of the story, the woods end up being a lot emptier, even if they're no less busy.

Firewatch confirmed for this year's over-promoted Indie darling.

Oh why aren't more people playing this? It's gorgeous, Delilah is one of the most interesting game characters I've ever encountered (despite being just a disembodied voice on a radio), and the mystery suspense plot gives the game just the right balance of paranoia and tenseness, without becoming exhausting (as is the case with Alien: Isolation). Plus it is short enough to not outstay its welcome. I liked my walk in the woods, but I reckon if it were any longer it would drag, and any shorter it would feel under-explored. At ?15 for 6 hours of really good story, I think it is a comparative bargain.

Meiam:
I have mixed feeling about walking simulator. I usually enjoy them, except only watching them. I don't see any reason to actually buy them when I can just watch a let's play and get pretty much the same experience (I'm assuming none of the choice you make actually matters, just like walking dead). So, yeah it's pretty and the dialogue are good, but why isn't this a movie?

The ability to choose your own dialogue or make physical choices, creates better immersion. These games make you feel a bunch of emotions you couldn't feel through watching someone else play it. Playing this game, I felt guilt, responsibility, paranoia, and even occasional embarrassment with myself - things that can't be felt unless I was the one making those choices. Even if the choices turn out to be largely superficial or non-choices on a re-run, I think the strength of the illusion the first time around serves its intended purpose and makes a more fulfilling experience (if hampering the replay value).

 

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