Firewatch is some kind of spiritual sequel to Gone Home and similar so-called Walking Simulators, as it sets out to create a similar game experience outdoors. It has a strong brand identity, with its bright yellow and clean, likeable logo. Beside the UI though, the in-game graphics are painfully generic and have that comic-like feel that most uninspired indie games seem to have these days. Some people love that, I don’t. As the game starts we are shown some text which represents the backstory of the main character and given some choices as what to happens. As with every other choice in the game, these are of no consequence beside maybe changing a few words in a conversation later on.
A Walk on the Wild Side
We are then thrown in the wild, as the titular Firewatch of an area of the Yellowstone national park, with map, compass and a radio to speak with your boss, who works in a tower in the next area. The dialogue is strong and well delivered, as you keep on chatting and getting to know each other better. The limited means of exploration are quick to disappoint, as there are only a few paths, the total game area is small-ish and our means of interaction with it are extremely limited. There are no actual puzzles but just a sequence of events that you follow with the story, so gameplay itself is thin at best. The story itself, together with the dialogues, manages to create moments of tension, but the actual game events remain mostly irrelevant and the ending, while unusual, left me a bit cold.
Interestingly, the game has had amazing sales, owing in my opinion to said branding and giving the idea that it is more than the sum of its parts, but if you are interested in exploring and surviving the wilderness through an enjoyable game, while being immersed in a good story and similarly pleasant but way more individual graphic style, The Long Dark, beside others, is a better product in every way.
But is it fun?
Firewatch gives off a pleasant aura, but beside good dialogue, it ends up being an insubstantial, inconsequential experience.
Graphics - Tech
Graphics - Art
UI - Design
UI - Functionality
FX and Voiceovers
Soul / Depth
Challenge-Reward cycle Enjoyment
Frustration VS Satisfaction
Stability & Debugging
Value for money
Has a distinct brand identity
The conversations feel real and are well acted.
The story manages to grab you at times
Basic, generic, vague comic-like graphics
Exploration is very limited and unsatisfying.
Beside a couple of moments, the story is a let-down.
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