More of an Experience than a Game
Written by Agen_TerminatorFirewatch is more of an experience than a game in the truest sense, and one which I heartily enjoyed. It starts off relatively quickly, establishing the story so far through a series of clicks and questions, before you take up your position in your firewatch tower and encounter over the radio the voice of your new colleague, Delilah, with whom you create and uncover the game's story through some excellent back and forth dialogue.
The general gameplay's focus is on the exploration of a national park in Wyoming, and you're guided by Delilah on the radio who assigns you some general forest-ranger tasks, ranging from retrieving supplies to yelling at teens to clean up after themselves. I found the first parts of Firewatch rather relaxing and unintentionally selling me on the job of being some sort of forest ranger in a nice climate. It's a pleasurable experience, if you're open to its low tempo.
Of course, this situation doesn't last as mystery causes paranoia to start seeping into your thoughts as you find yourself in weirder and more suspicious situations. You'll find yourself making wild leaps as to what's happening with the plot and the game becomes quite engrossing, leaving you wanting to find out what happens next. It becomes a little like the game version of a page-turner. I'm very anti-spoiler so I won't go into detail, but Firewatch has an emotional heart throughout, something that's not often really present in games, and it was much appreciated and I felt it delivered on its promise.
Firewatch in terms of visuals is bordering on being somewhat cel-shaded, but not quite, and I think the interesting style lends the game an ethereal feel which contributes positively to the immersion. At one point in the game, you may come across a camera which you can use to take pictures of some of your favourite sights in Firewatch, which is a nice touch. I used the majority of my film reel on nice viewpoints of the pleasing landscapes in the park, of which there are many, and at the end of the game, it offers to develop the photos and send them to you for real (for $15). I didn't do it, but it was an interesting offer! I would have considered it more had it not been that a lot of my photos ended up being a little dull towards the end as I started using it to document evidence as the plot progressed.
The sound in Firewatch isn't particularly noticeable, but that doesn't at all mean it's not well-used. It sounds like a forest should, and when you're on long distance travels, you get some interesting music. Voice-artist wise, Firewatch is possible the best I've ever came across in a game. Delilah (Cissy Jones) and Henry (Rich Sommer) are perfectly portrayed by their respective voice artists and everything is believable.
The game is about five hours long, although this could easily be completed quicker, and I feel this is about the right length, as the game never outstays its welcome, but some people may see the short length as a downside. However, Firewatch is not priced along the same lines as many other full titles -- I picked it up for £15 through Steam-- and I felt it was well worth the money.
Firewatch does present you with choices throughout, such as in your conversations with Delilah or in general interaction with the world (shame on you if you steal other towers' food packets!). However, I wasn't completely convinced that my choices had a large defining impact on the unfolding of the game, so that could be somewhat disappointing if you go into it with that sort of expectation. This is also an issue I have with Telltale's games. However, it did feel like my conversations with Delilah were moulded by my responses, but I've only had one playthrough, so it could just be well-crafted to leave that impression.
Also, one thing I wish I'd known is that you can disable the live marker for your current location on the map, which is on by default. I think I would have probably been quite happy to get more lost in the park and have my rusty orienteering skills tested a bit more. I can understand why it was left on by default however, as this likely wouldn't have appealed to everyone and was probably the safe choice. Just knowing the choice was there though would have been better, but I guess that is my own fault for not looking through the settings as closely as I could have.
In summary, I enjoyed Firewatch a lot. It's a neat and polished game by new studio Campo Santo which gets you involved in an intriguing and mature story in a refreshing wilderness setting. I'd recommend it to mostly everyone, so long as they know what to expect. It still pops into my head weeks after playing, so it definitely made a positive impression on me.
Mystery and Intrigue...
Written by yennaFirewatch is now officially the second game I have ever played to completion, and I am overall pretty pleased with it! It starts out very much, as another reviewer has described, as a "walking simulator". This section of the game is very relaxing, with beautiful animated scenes of nature, and pleasant background music.
However, things suddenly begin to feel...off. The game will have you guessing wildly about what is actually happening, and who is behind the mystery that emerges. It's exciting, if a bit anxiety inducing near the end (so those who struggle with games that feature suspenseful aspects, as I often do, may want to consider this before playing). There is a definite sense of unease that is cultivated as the game progresses, but given the relatively short play time of Firewatch, it is not too exhausting or intense.
I did not take too much issue with the ending, which I found sad but acceptable plot-wise. If anything, I just wish the game had been a bit longer, as I enjoyed even the more menial tasks that you have to do in the beginning. There were also parts of the game (pieces of evidence, etc.) that I think are inserted to throw you off, but I wish there had been more concrete storylines to do with those as well. I just like to have all the answer really, and the ending did leave me with some further questions.
Overall, I definitely recommend this game, as it's a little slower paced than most, and definitely unique both in style and plot line.
Prepare to get lost, and very confused.
Written by Fledman351I wanted to make sure i wrote a short review after reading some myself and feeling apprehensive about the game.
Everyone seems to have mixed feelings about the ending, but in my opinion they are misunderstanding what the game was actually all about - paranoia.
The games ending is perfect for what you endure during the whole experience; you'll feel confused, scared, intruiged, and a whole lot more confused. But it plays perfectly with what the human brain is capable of making you feel/think.
So don't be deterred by people saying the ending is 'mehh'. Even if you don't end up liking it, the rest of the game is still worth experiencing for its sheer beauty and interesting, and very well written/acted dialogue and story.
A great narrative
Written by BlueWaltI've just completed Firewatch this morning, and I'm struggling to review it. I'm not even sure where to start on the game.
Taken as a whole, I honestly think the game is great. But technically, it's questionable. It does, however, feel like a game where the stroyline is what takes precedence over technical implementation, and I feel comfortable judging it as such.
Visually, the game is unique, which makes it hard to compare, but I feel it more than succeeds at what it needs to do, and I really appreciated the style and the dramatic landscapes that the game was able to produce, that I have to give it a at least a 9/10 in this department. It's not crisp and gritty, like Crysis, in fact, almost cartoonish, but it still really works.
The soundtrack does its job relatively well. It imparts emotion at the appropriate times and is pleasant, but I probably wouldn't listen to it by itself, but that's fine. The sound of the world is atmospheric and you really do get immersed into the forest as you walk over obstacles, climb hills and explore caves.
The voice acting is superb, and possibly the best I've ever heard from a game. The voices seemed somewhat familiar too, but looking up Rich Sommer (Henry) and Cissy Jones (Delilah), I don't think I've ever come across either's work before.
Regarding the storyline, there's not too much I can say without giving spoilers to the plot, but overall I felt it was great, although I'm a bit unsure of the ending. It's impressive how invested the game got me in what was happening.
Overall, if you liked Telltale's Walking dead, then I'm sure you'll like this too.
A Beautiful Game
Written by WheatonsRevengeFirewatch probably isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I found it superb, and by far the most enjoyable experience I've had with a game in the past year. It's a 'walking simulator' and mystery game set in Wyoming and the debut game for developers Campo Santo.
The game is set in 1989, and your character, Henry, has ran away from life and taken root as a fire lookout in the Wyoming forest. Your only contact with humanity is with Delilah, your boss, who you can reach via radio. The sense of loneliness created by expansive wild in which you inhabit, is palpable and as such, Firewatch makes for an incredibly immersive game.
The game seems to evoke emotion more familiar with reading a good book than a video game, but it's much appreciated, and this honestly feels more like the start of games tapping into their potential as a storytelling medium.
I don't really want to go into the details of the game too much so as to avoid spoilers, but what I will say is that the game is emotionally taxing, and that's where the enjoyment of the game comes from. You'll question yourself and your decisions.
The story is very well-worked, the voice-acting superb and basically everything feels polished. The visuals, while not hyper-realistic, are very appropriate for the vibe the game delivers and have a dream-like quality.
It's only about 4 hours long, but games needn't be epics to be good, and I think the length was very appropriate