What Remains of Edith Finch | Teen Ink

What Remains of Edith Finch

January 22, 2019
By 22bc01 BRONZE, Cannon Falls, Minnesota
22bc01 BRONZE, Cannon Falls, Minnesota
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

In 2017, indie game “What Remains of Edith Finch” took the internet by storm, starting its run by winning the gaming award for best narrative. Later in 2018, in spite of the industries predictions, the game received its second title, The BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) award for best game of 2018. With so much buzz around the game, I was excited to play. However, I wasn’t quite ready to make a twenty dollar commitment for only two to three hours of play time, especially with notable titles such as Breath of the Wild just downloaded onto my console. Later, two years after this games perceived “peak hype” I was ready to jump in.

Now in my personal opinion, not many video games make it to a level of art. Many have spectacular graphics, but that doesn’t make them art in my eyes. For me though, “What Remains of Edith Finch” accomplishes this goal because of its dedication to creating an immersive and detailed environment. The first way it does this is by putting storytelling in the front seat and putting its focus on creating a cohesive and interesting plot. Next, it lets its game mechanics really mend with the game to create an amazing gaming experience, all tied in with spectacular ambiance, graphics, and controls. Of course, the game must be played to truly be understood, but I can offer some insight into the game's storyline.

“The truth is, even after I inherited the house I'd never thought I'd come back to it. But now I had questions that only the house knew the answers to. As a child, the house made me uncomfortable in a way I couldn't put into words. Now, as a 17-year-old, I knew exactly what those words were. I was afraid of the house.” “What Remains of Edith Finch” is about the heir to the finch mansion and legacy, Edith. In the beginning, all the player the reader knows about Edith is that she has inherited the Finch mansion and never wanted to return to it. Unfortunately years later she realizes that she didn’t leave on her own terms, prompting her to come back to the house. The way the gameplay works is also intriguing. The main way the player makes their way through the story is by trying to find ways inside the sealed bedrooms of the Finch mansion; all so that Edith can find closure by learning her family's complicated past. This is mainly done by reliving her ancestor's deaths. There are several different ways to experience the family’s deaths, with just a few ways including; going through interactive comic books, direct gameplay, or even picture viewfinder goggle slideshows. Some may think this would make the game confusing, but the pacing of the game makes it playable for nearly anybody.

Next, the overall ambiance and aesthetic of the game. The games music and graphical style keep the player on edge and looking for the next clue to the story. The way my brother and I might describe the overall ambiance of the game is feeling like something is always about to happen. One thing that might describe the feeling is quickly jumping into bed as soon as the lights out, even though everyone knows that monsters aren’t real. This really provides that horror game feeling. However, the game is not modeled on jump scares and quick reactions, which in today's gaming community is refreshing.

Now onto the graphics. The graphics to me are a definite ten out of ten. The cartoonish and smoothed over, yet somewhat realistic style keeps the player feeling as though they are in the real world. Despite the graphical style, the game still manages to feel like a dream, influenced of course by the surreal music. Thanks to the graphics and ambiance of this game, What Remains of Edith Finch is unforgettable. And of course, for Giant Sparrows hawk-eyed team, not even player models can be forgotten. I am in love with the dedication to the first person viewpoint. To move things, the player clicks and moves the mouse like it is their hand which really reins in the player's focus. Not only that, if the player looks down at themselves in the game they see the body of the character being played at the time, which I find mesmerizing.

Lastly, the controls and gameplay aspects. As already stated, the main gameplay of the game is trying to find out all of the reasons Edith's relatives died, which helps the player to understand who they were. However, another big part of the gameplay is the investigation. Usually, the player is trying to find out more about Edith's family members, so they end up paying more attention to the environment and looking for clues. Also, the player is constantly looking for things that can move so that they can make their way to the next room. I think this part of the gameplay is fairly unique for a horror game, especially without a time limit and as someone with slow reaction time, I appreciate it.

Although no one can seem to decide what genre this game is, be it a walking simulator, an action game, or a virtual novel, we (and gaming award judges) can all agree on one thing. What Remains of Edith Finch is of its own breed, and none of us would change it for the world. Be it the amazing graphics and gameplay, the unique game mechanics, or the immersive storytelling, What Remains of Edith Finch is an amazing game with an equally satisfying conclusion, and I can’t wait to see which direction Giant Sparrow goes off to next.



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