Game Review: ‘What Remains of Edith Finch’ is a weird fiction tale with a heartfelt narrative

Every house has a story to tell, a history book of sorts. The story of those who lived there, those who died there, and those who never came back. The Finch family home has several stories, and Edith plans to discover them all.

Giant Sparrow’s What Remains of Edith Finch takes you on an eerie but beautiful journey into the life and death of the Finch ancestors. One by one, players explore the tangled history of the Finch family house, using secret passages to access the locked and preserved rooms of those who have passed. Akin to the narrative-heavy games Firewatch and Gone Home, What Remains of Edith Finch sets its focus on story and atmosphere, both of which meld together to make the game feel like a modern take on weird fiction stories from authors like H.P. Lovecraft or Edgar Allen Poe. Taking you on a journey to a home nestled within a dimly lit forest in Washington State, What Remains of Edith Finch is a collection of short stories about a cursed family, that forces us to come face-to-face with mortality.
What Remains of Edith Finch

Opening to the sound of a grand piano, a boat ride and a book, What Remains of Edith Finch transports you to a tranquil forest that is, perhaps, a little too quite. Towering over the skyline sits ‘the house’, a mismatched stack of rooms perched precariously on top of one another, like a sinister cousin of the Weasley family’s Burrow. Before long, players are whisked off on a two-hour long movie-like journey, a narrative house tour of sorts, that unravels murky family secrets, whilst showing off the beautifully detailed interior of each of the locked bedrooms. Unlike a lot of narrative-driven games,  What Remains of Edith Finch’s story is set in stone. Your job is to do little more than take it all in, whilst using basic controls to open doors to passage-ways and explore the house.

What Remains of Edith Finch has a haunting art-style. Stepping into each room is like being transported into a time capsule thats decor ranges anywhere between the early 1900s to the modern day. The graphic-style alone makes this game a play-it-twice worthy title. While replaying the game won’t provide you with any alternative stories, it will give you a chance to explore the intricacies of the house that you may have otherwise missed. In addition to its breathtaking art-style, What Remains of Edith Finch has put a heavy focus on developing a soundtrack that brings the house and its history to life. Scored by Primetime Emmy-nominated composer Jeff Russo, best known for his work on Fargo, Snowfall, and Legion, the soundtrack incorporates classic instruments, strings, piano and violins, with sounds that can be likened to the shifting, changing, and tapping noises of an old house.

What Remains of Edith Finch is a must play for any lover of heartfelt strange fiction, but it does have its downfalls. While for the most part, the gradual narrative is captivating and enjoyable, the stories’ end can seem sudden, and somewhat unfinished. While a large portion of the ending is fairly easy to stitch together, we are still left with many questions about the house and the curse on the family who lived there.

What Remains of Edith Finch is priced at $19.99 USD or $27.00 AUD, so for those who are looking for narrative alone, this costs little more than a book or DVD. However, avid gamers may feel that, due to the open-ended conclusion, short 2-hour span, and walking-simulator style gameplay, the price tag is fairly steep.

All in all, What Remains of Edith Finch is a must play, if like me, you love diving into a heartfelt eerie story and don’t mind taking a back-seat when it comes to control.

What Remains of Edith Finch is available on steam and PS4. Check out the trailer below:

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Game Review: ‘What Remains of Edith Finch’ is a weird fiction tale with a heartfelt narrative

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