What Remains of Edith Finch is a game I had been watching for a while. It seemed to have a lot of promise, and my trip to PAX South, where I saw firsthand not only how amazing it looked in person, but also the high level of interest by people waiting eagerly for an hour or two just to get some hands on time with it, only served to further cement my interest in this game. So, I was pretty stoked when Annapurna Interactive, the publisher for What Remains of Edith Finch was courteous enough to extend a couple review copies for our site. This review will focus on the PC version which I played through. We will also have a PS4 review of the game going live by another of our excellent review team very shortly. So, with all that said, let’s dive into this review.

Story

What Remains of Edith Finch typifies what is requisite in a good walking simulator/exploration game: an excellent story. However, Giant Sparrow, the developer (whom you all might remember from their previous game, The Unfinished Swan (which was excellent as well in point of fact)), wasn’t content to simply offer an excellent story. They just had to go and craft what might be one of the most interesting and well thought out stories I have ever had the pleasure of playing through. It also defied classic tropes and stereotypes, preferring instead to take a lot of risks in presentation and topic matter, and I must say, the results were nothing short of brilliant.

You play as the narrator and protagonist, Edith, named after your grandmother, matriarch of the Finch family after its fateful migration to America and the path that journey set for the Finch family from that point forward. It seems the Finch family was destined to sorrow, with so many premature deaths, both accidental and mysterious, that the only constant with the Finch family was the certainty of a premature demise (with the sole exception of the elder Finch, who seemed to outlive all her descendants (excluding the protagonist of course)).

You, Edith, have returned to your family estate after the death of your mother as the only living member of the Finch family, to revisit your memories growing up here and solve the mysteries surrounding the deaths of everybody else in your family, or simply reconnect with them via memories and memoirs. This provides the core basis for everything you do in What Remains of Edith Finch and provides and incredible journey as you live through the last moments of all your relatives lives. After all that, you are provided with a shocking resolution that will have you thinking about this game for a long time after you complete it.

I will say there were a couple parts that were so evocative that I almost started to tear up. That, in my opinion, is a testimony to how connected you become to each Finch family member and how amazing the writing was that it could reach deep within both you and the game, create a symbiosis, and draw forth a wide array of emotions as you experience the individual stories within balanced against the overarching story being narrated by Edith Finch herself.

On a comical note, the Finch family was apparently filled with foodies, as the majority of books in the house that weren’t historical in context were actually cookbooks….and the house is literally filled with books.

mmmm…several years old Chinese takeout. Delicious.

I found the story to be as refreshing and compelling as it was somber and introspective. It’s been a while since I have encountered storytelling of this caliber in a video game. The story in What Remains of Edith Finch is an easy 10 out of 10

Gameplay

The gameplay in What Remains of Edith Finch is also quite innovative and unique in its approach. With most walking simulator/exploration games, you really have limited opportunities to interact with your world, instead simply observing the world as it is or was. However, in Edith Finch, you absolutely take an active hand in the events that shape the story. This innovative approach is actually just as relevant as the story telling itself in conveying the full weight of the events portrayed in the game.

You still have the classic elements of a walking simulator, but the bar was raised by adding new gameplay elements to capture each Finch family members last moments. For example, one section is set up as a cel shaded, comic book adventure with full interaction and even weapons to be used. Another section features a certain Finch family member transforming into a variety of animals with the gameplay reflecting the actual movements of each unique animal as it consumes everything in its path. Another involves kite flying, yet another a bathtub orchestra and dance. My favorite was the isometric dungeon crawler sequence mixed with a block and chop mechanic.

The actual variety of gameplay from one family member to the next, each specific to the individual family member and their hobbies or interests was incredibly impressive. Each was unique and provided excellent context to the story being told as well. A nice feature included is the ability to go back after finishing the game and replay any individual section independent of the others. This will be particularly relevant for achievement hunters, but I actually found myself simply wanting to experience certain aspects of the game again regardless.

The actual game itself, outside of the variations of gameplay, handled immaculately. I was running at a constant 60FPS with no drop off and no real strain on my computer as well. I think the average physical memory usage was about 6% throughout and it did not burden my rig in any way. I also experience no bug, crashes, or anything untoward while playing. This was a seamlessly crafted game through and through.

Another resounding 10 out of 10

Graphics

The graphics in What Remains of Edith Finch were as amazing as they were quirky. Initially, you get the beautiful and yet standard forest walk setting typical of a large percentage of walking simulators. However, once you see the Finch estate, everything changes. What you get then are detailed graphics that are both entrancing and thought provoking all at once. Additionally, because there are so many mini games within What Remains of Edith Finch, you actually get a vast array of programming styles as it pertains to the graphics. The cel shading I mentioned in the gameplay section is only one example of the variety you will experience. I don’t think the graphics work was groundbreaking in any way, but this is simply a gorgeous game regardless, and everything has a real purpose in adding to the visual experience as it relates to the story and gameplay as a whole.

9 out of 10

Audio

The audio in What Remains of Edith Finch is top tier.

First, I want to talk about Valerie Rose Lohman, who voices Edith and is the primary voice actor for this game. Hers was one of the finest examples of voice acting I have heard. She really captured the true essence of the character and was able to not only convey a sense of adventure and mystery, but also whimsy, humor, and thoughtfulness. What she really did was completely humanize Edith and not only make her a person you could completely connect and empathize with, but was also able, through her reading of passages written by or about her Finch family members, to truly bring them to life as well. I really can’t overstate how amazing a job she did with this story and script. You can really tell when an actor connects with her character and that was definitely the case here.

This sort of looks familiar. Loose tie in with The Unfinished Swan?

While the voice acting was the shining light, the sound design was the icing on the cake. From the orchestrated music to the simple ambient noises in the house itself, everything made sense, sounded great, and was truly on point. Here is a list of the people who should be honored for their accomplishments in the game:

Composer: Jeff Russo

Sound Design: Steve Green (Lead), Eduardo Ortiz Frau (Add.),

Chuck Russom & Ryan Collins

Audio Programmer: Johann Ly

Composer: Jeff Russo

Sound Design: Steve Green (Lead), Eduardo Ortiz Frau (Add.),

Chuck Russom & Ryan Collins

Audio Programmer: Johann Ly

The audio in What Remains of Edith Finch was for me another easy 10 out of 10.

Verdict

What Remains of Edith Finch might simply be the single best walking simulator/exploration game I have ever had the pleasure of playing. I think all told it took me about 2 hours to complete, and you could easily spend another hour wrapping up achievements and taking screenshots. This is a must own must play game that definitely shined on PC.

9.8 Finch family members dying in mysterious and often spectacular fashion out of 10 possible. Since the Finches were quite imaginative, I will leave the remaining .2 out of 10 to yours.

Published by Peter Faden

Executive Chef and soon to be Non Profit Organization guy by day, Gaming enthusiast by night...weekends are open to interpretation. While gaming, you can find me on Steam or PSN most readily, although I use the same handle on all clients. robilar5500. Feel free to contact me anytime.

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