What Remains of Edith Finch: the house where…
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“Yes, man is mortal, but that would be only half the trouble. The worst of it is that he's sometimes unexpectedly mortal—there's the trick!”
- Voland, “The Master and Margarita”
I think I’ll start without welcoming speech today. Too many things to discuss.
Ok, tell me – what do people mostly lack in their lives? Why do people go to the movie theater, go hiking or actually play video games? Of course, for new experience and emotions. And, the more dense this unique experience is, the more interesting it is – that’s just how our brain works. That’s exactly why some short indie games might get burnt into our memory and echo as strong waves of emotions every time. “What Remains of Edith Finch” is this kind of game.
What Remains of Edith Finch
Full walkthrough takes around three hours so it can easily compare to a good movie. It sucks you in and is build like a movie which makes it even more similar.
The game poster stylistically resembles “The Darkest Dungeon”, although that’s probably just a coincidence. It has nothing to do with surviving or monster hunting. It’s more about a family. A family of the biggest losers in American history.
Female protagonist called Edith Finch explores a house trying to recall her childhood. She looks around the rooms, finds some things connected to story of their relatives and carefully passes them to the player. Basically, it is a compendium of short stories. One fate – one story. From completely absurd and mystical ones to fully rational and ordinary ones. The only thing that connects them all is death. One way or the other, ancestors die where it’s ill fate, their own mistakes, weird accidents, mystic stuff or some terrible events. That’s the whole appeal of the game.
Even till the end of a story, you might not know what happens to another character. What if there are several characters in the said story? Please, go ahead and guess who, when, how and why. Guess, listen, read and – step by step, generation after generation – follow the dark fate of the Finch family… and their house.
What Remains of Edith Finch approaches the story telling in a very creative way. Basic mechanics is main hero, Edith Finch, walking around. That’s not something new or surprising but each story has something unique.
First story (unexpectedly) let us transform into different animals. I must say, such a start seriously impressed me and set a mood for the rest of the narrative.
What comes next is even better.
Story of a man delving deeper and deeper in his own imaginary world. Story of a kid who dreamt to be an astronaut. Story of a baby in small tub. Father and daughter. Actress. The approach is different every time. The result is always the same.
The game never tries to be scary in the sense of primal fear. Quite the opposite, it’s pretty colorful, entertaining and captivating more often than not. But, with that being said, it remains really thrilling and scary when it wants to. But not cause of some jumpscares or things it shown you on the screen. It’s scary because of the things the game did not show. The consequences remain behind the scene: death, birth, mourning for your family, house rebuilding, course of history and culture. By the end of every story, you’ll be living through it and trying to experience it yourself, overwhelmed by emotions – that’s how our mind works.
Developers understand that very well and always give us time to recollect ourselves and process what happened. And then we get Edith’s comments and journey through the house carries on.
One important thing I would like to mention is the house itself. It is crooked, slanting, hanging by a thread but at the same time so authentic and unique. Seems like it’s built of Lego and it’s pretty much true. The Finch family grew, generations changed and new rooms were added to previous ones almost randomly. That’s how fragile and ridiculous the house looks like from outside. It’s a good demonstration that even such a mess of absurd elements can survive a few centuries and withstand the cruel unpredictable world. What cannot be said about the residents of the house.
Despite the bulky external appearance, the house is fairly cozy and not scary inside. This contrast works perfectly – here you just went through the most terrifying story about some monster and now you’re back in your homely child room with plushy rabbits and pink wallpapers. I think that’s a great way to catch your breath.
In three hours this game tells a story of the family that covers several centuries with their failures… and even more failures, apparently. It’s surprising that those people managed to continue their family line and didn’t die in the process.
I suppose the main point in the game is to show complexity and omnitude of a human being, value of family and incredible strive for life.
Without a shadow of doubt, “What Remains of Edith Finch” can be easily called the best visual novel. Because games of this genre are mostly the anime stylized sprite images where player’s only allowed to control the communication.
Here, on the other hand, the term “visual novel” is perceived literally: we’re going down the story “rails”, we can’t pick anything but at the same time we get a complete meaningful story and character dynamics.
Decent graphics, amazing story, incredible style, soundtrack and ambience. This exquisite creation from American studio “Giant Sparrow” deserves the highest rating.
A confident 10 out of 10. If you’re not gonna play it, do yourself a favor and watch it.
Remember about your family, relish on your past and eat healthy. See you at Weplay.tv