When Firewatch first came out, I heard whispers here and there about it but never had the chance to try it out myself. That is until the game was added recently to the Xbox Game Pass, I’ve finished game and would love to give my take on a spoiler free review of the game.
What is Firewatch?
Firewatch is about your character Henry whose early adult life you experience through the beginning of the game in the form of text and life choices. When I first saw this, I was intrigued and didn’t think much of it until you reach the end of this prologue sequence where things completely change.
After finishing this prologue, you begin Firewatch arriving at your summer job working as a fire watch in the forest keeping an eye out for fires. When you first arrive, you meet your boss via radio communication Delilah with whom you speak with throughout the entire game as your relationship builds.
The not so good
Let’s start with what I did not like about Firewatch, the game is rather short and can be easily completed in one sitting especially if you want to mainly just focus on the story elements. You can extend this time with taking a slower pace and taking in the world around as I did, but it still felt like after the climax the ending of the game came rather fast and could’ve had more time and content in between. The last thing I felt Firewatch needed was a real antagonist as the plot seemed like it was going in that direction.
Moving on to what’s good about the game, I thought the art style and graphics were great for the time the game was released back in 2016 and it helped with the immersion of the game.
They really nailed the feeling of being in a campground/national forest with hiking trails. The controls are simple yet effective for this type of story-based game. The world is open and feels just the right size in my opinion for what the game was going for and I never found myself discouraged by any back tracking since the world was not too large. I also enjoyed the map and compass feature that’s given when you explore the open area as it helps with the immersion as well.
Finally let’s talk about the great with Firewatch. I felt that the life choices that were given to you at the prologue became very powerful and relatable so quickly and this carried over into the rest of the game. You really feel connected with the protagonist Henry and the chemistry with his character and Delilah was spot on.
Having their relationship build up during each mission even if it is just to have her provide additional commentary on what you are doing helped expand her character and helped you connect with her. I believe the writers did a fantastic job as near the end of the game you find yourself making decisions you wouldn’t make after experiencing Henry’s life up until that point.
Once you experience the plot and explore more of the forest and discover the secrets lying within you get even more deep and relatable events that take the game that started out as a middle-aged man starting a summer forest job to another level.
I give Firewatch an 8/10 and recommend it to anyone who enjoys a more relaxing story-based game.
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