Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Firewatch (impressions at two hours)

I've been looking forward to this game. Very, very much.

In Firewatch, you are a fire lookout in the Wyoming wilderness...

Stop right there.

I would be happy to play a game where you role-played a fire lookout in the wilderness, living in your lookout tower and tending to the daily tasks of fire lookouts. No external plots other than to simulate (in time-compressed format) what fire lookouts do on a daily basis.

I get to do some of that in Firewatch, but there's a plot, too. A story.

At this point, you're expecting me to say that the story ruins the game, but it doesn't. It does seem forced, occasionally, but it's also deeply and surprisingly affecting at times. It's not easy to put themes of hope and loss into a game--at least not deftly--but Firewatch does so quite well.

I also appreciate the dialogue system. While I can't tell you if your choices materially affect the story, your choices do feel meaningful, and they are in the sense that you are defining yourself as a certain kind of person by what you choose.

In most games, I don't care about that much, but this game is different.

The wilderness is a primary character in Firewatch, and it's beautiful. So beautiful. It's constructed in such a way that it feels quite real, and I may at some point I may just go rogue and wander around.

For now, though, I enjoy the story, and I'm content to follow the course.

This is a quiet game, and I highly recommend playing it with headphones. It's also a game that you don't want to play with any distractions around, because becoming immersed in the environment is extremely important to the experience.

Here's a link to the PC version: Firewatch. It's also available on the PS4, but I played the PC version.

Site Meter