R3pl4y

Completed the game

You, a middle aged man has fled your ordinary life and taken up a job as fire watch out in the wilderness. Your only social contact is that of another fire watch, Delilah, over a radio.

I've heard a lot of praise for this game and its narrative, and play with social aspects in a game media. I've also heard that the game is very beautiful, something that might be of a particular taste. I find the game to be very yellow, to indicate that the forest is very dry, but I didn't find the art style particularly appealing. It is quite rough, and especially the fires in this game, something you'd think the developer would put extra care into considering the title. It doesn't look very threatening or dangerous.

Don't be mistaken, this is a walking simulator, or a hitchhiking simulator if you'd prefer. You are stationed in a forest with a tower and you'll get missions to follow a map and compass out in the wilderness to investigate and retrieve things. It is an open world that looks pretty much the same everywhere but still I never get lost and I have an easy time to orient myself. In some way the game leads me down the roads I should take, without telling me where to go. That is masterfully done.

Going on hikes and visiting new places in the world is intriguing and I look forward to see what's next. It is just not as fun to hike back to your tower, even if the game tries to lighten it up with banter over the radio.

Firewatch plays with music in an interesting way where it is silent most of the time and all the sounds you can hear is nature. This makes the music much more effective when it kicks in to set a mood. However the sound design is blunt and often I stand still and try to locate the source of a sound, just to discover it is ambience turned up to loud and nothing to take note of.

The main praise this game has gotten is for the relationship between the protagonist and the woman on the radio, but really this is just another case when gamers praise a developer for putting some extra care into the telling of a story. The story was fully entagled after the first two chapters, and the characters not that colorful. They are dull and sometimes dumb, and while I appreciate the effort and enjoy the dialogue tree being a part of the game it is not above average or worth any particular praise. I like the voice actors, and I think they should get an award.

That's it! I would recommend Firewatch if you get it cheap and have 4 hours to spare. It is really short and worth the time that you spend on it. However, I don't think it is such brilliant as others would make you think.

My rating: 3