Welcome to Late to the Party, a series in which I discuss video games that I’ve finally gotten around to playing. Today I’m going to talk about What Remains of Edith Finch, a first-person exploration game. I played What Remains of Edith Finch on a PlayStation 4 Pro and today’s post will be spoiler free.
Released in 2017, What Remains of Edith Finch is the second game to come from Giant Sparrow, an independent games studio that previously had been under Sony’s umbrella. Giant Sparrow’s first game, The Unfinished Swan, had been a novel and mostly enjoyable experience for me so when What Remains of Edith Finch was announced I added to my list of games to eventually play. Last month What Remains of Edith Finch was one of the free games for PlayStation Plus subscribers so I added it to my PS4’s library and gave it a go.
What Remains of Edith Finch is (unsurprisingly) the story of Edith Finch, a young woman who is returning to her family’s old home in the Pacific Northwest. The house has belonged to several generations of the Finch family and over the years successive owners have added on to the building, with the end result being a structure that’s as troubled as the Finch family history (and not what I would call architecturally sound). Edith’s family is seemingly cursed and many of the occupants of the house’s various rooms have met untimely ends. With the recent passing of her mother, Edith finds herself the new owner of the house and you play through her interesting journey of returning to her childhood home and unraveling the stories of the relatives who used to live there.
If you’ve played Gone Home or similar games you’ll mostly know what to expect from What Remains of Edith Finch in terms of gameplay. Edith moves around in first-person and at certain points she recounts the history of the house and the people who lived in it. What sets the game apart from other walking simulators is that as you explore the house you’ll take breaks from Edith’s journey to relive important family events from the perspective of other members of the Finch family. These flashbacks play out almost like minigames and they do a good job of changing up the pace of the game. Overall the gameplay from these flashbacks works fine, though there were a few moments where I felt like I was fighting the controls to do what I wanted.
Visually, What Remains of Edith Finch looks fairly good for the most part but has some minor issues. Bits of environmental pop-in can be seen in various parts of the game and on rare occasion the game briefly stuttered on me. What the game does really well is lighting, as well as creating a house that genuinely looks like people lived in it. On the audio front, What Remains of Edith Finch has a fittingly melancholy soundtrack and good sound effects.
Most players will finish What Remains of Edith Finch in about 2.5 hours. Aside from trophy hunting there’s not too much replay value to What Remains of Edith Finch unless you really love the story, so you may want to wait until the game is on sale to purchase it. One important thing I should note for trophy hunters is that What Remains of Edith Finch does not have a Platinum Trophy.
If you like games like Gone Home you’ll definitely enjoy What Remains of Edith Finch, and even if you’re not too hot on the gameplay of walking simulators I’d suggest giving this game a try just because the flashback sequences do a lot to liven up the normal walking simulator experience. All things considered, I’m going to score What Remains of Edith Finch at a 7.0 out of 10. It’s a short game but it’s mostly a good experience for as long as it lasts. As a personal note at the end here, let me say that if I was a member of the Finch family, and was aware of the family’s history, the first thing I’d do after inheriting the house would be to remove any valuables and then burn it to the ground. That house has been home to far too much tragedy.