I started this game not knowing too much about it, the only information I knew about this game came from a trailer I watched many years ago in a showcase. I was not expecting too much out of this game, but my first impression indicated that it was more than just a beautiful game. After playing through the game, I definitely stand by the idea that it handles multiple themes that many people deal with in life. Additionally, this game can also serve to be an escape from stresses and anxieties of daily life.
The story is pretty impressing, the way that they make the plot relate to themes of addiction, isolation, and escape really helps sell Firewatch to its players. The game also does a neat job by building up tension and making it seem like there was going to be a twist some unrealistic twist at the end, This idea was echoed in many other reviews of the game that I looked at after I finished it. Many people were upset that there was no twist ending and there were certain characters that we did not even get to see. While I initially thought that there would be some unexpected final twist and that some characters were not who they seemed to be, I realized that after experiencing the themes that the story evokes a twist was not necessary for the game. While I enjoyed having the rug pulled out from under my feet, I felt like the story was realistic which was their goal all long. The relatable themes also compensate for the “walking simulator” that many people call this game. Although, at some points, I felt like I was walking forever, it paid off when I could find some cool setting to gaze at, and it took time away from my other stresses.
The mechanics here are simple, you walk from point A to point B and investigate the items to move the game along. The main way we got information is by talking to Delilah, our supervisor. Although, we never get to see her, we get enough information and she adds to the story enough that her identity is not relevant here. That is another part of the gameplay that is interesting. The game is very vague, there are many questions left unanswered, which is both a good and a bad thing. It is good since it is not necessary, but it is also bad because if leaves the players sometimes wanting more. Another important gameplay mechanic, is choices. Like I said before, there are many choices in the dialogue throughout the game, although I am pretty sure it does not affect the outcome of the story.
The design and visuals of this game are what really make it great! I absolutely loved the free roam feature. I played it after I was done with the first play through, and I was definitely interested in just roaming throughout the entire park. I’d say that the one things that disappointed me is that I wish that we had more options to the dialogue. Sometimes I felt that I did not like any of the options that I had, that is not too important though.
This game relates to a culture of those who are overwhelmed by daily life. In the story we see a man escape his issues by going to work in almost complete isolation in park. We see this in our culture a lot through people who are fed up with 9-5s, their relationships including their families and marriages, and of the fast paced life in general. The ways people deal with this include, but are not limited to, converting to minimalism, going to the country, and sometimes ending their relationships. Here we see a game that does not try to create a sensational story, but instead make a story that resonates with a generation who sometimes feel overwhelmed whether it be by loans, jobs, and many other issues. In my opinion, the developers of this game have succeeded due to the game’s critical reception and many positive reviews by fans.
The biggest thing that surprised me was how relaxing this game can be. The last time I played this was when midterms were coming up. I was really stressed with the amount of work that I had to do so I got on this game after a long day and I let all my anxieties go. I felt like I escaped from all my earthly problems, and very few video games that I have played have done that. Overall, I plan to continue playing this game whenever I feel like I need to get away from issues and life in general.