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Genre: Walking Simulation, Puzzle – Drama
Developer: Giant Sparrow, SCE Studio Santa Monica
Release Date: April 25, 2017
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Let’s Player: Cryaotic
There will be another to these shores to remember me. I will rise from the ocean like an island without bottom, come together like a stone, become an aerial, a beacon that they will not forget you. We have always been drawn here: one day the gulls will return and nest in our bones and our history.
Part walking simulation, part puzzle, all bittersweet, What Remains of Edith Finch is a deep plunge into the tragic history of the Finch family by Edith, the last daughter of the clan. Equal parts history and mystery, the the game follows Edith as she wanders through the halls of her family’s lopsided home, recording the lost stories discovered behind sealed doors. Named for her great-grandmother, Edith chronicles the lives and deaths of her family members who all succumbed to a mysterious “curse” her great-grandfather Odin brought with him across the sea. Every member of the Finch family found an early quietus save for one child of each generation who survived long enough to make the next.
There’s an eeriness about the game that doesn’t quite border on scary with many of the deaths occurring under potentially supernatural circumstances (e.g. Molly and Milton), and the beauty of it is that the true or false of such is left for the player to divine. Since I watched the game, I can’t speak for the details of gameplay, but had I the time, I would’ve been able to play through it (and I may possibly do so for a future Let’s Play or stream). There are no enemies to vanquish nor points to score, and the puzzles are not only intuitive, but intricately connect to each relative’s story.
The house itself is a crooked wonder since Edie (the great-grandmother) sealed each person’s room after their death, adding additions to the home as the family grew.
The game has a definite Dear Esther vibe, exploring a deserted island, recalling the past with a soundtrack that takes both Edith and the player back to those moments of tragedy, nor does any history mimic the other (except in death); they each have their own aesthetic to reflect the individuality of the fated Finch. And the title itself is a poignant double entendre. For in history, heartbreak, and hope we discover what truly remains of Edith Finch.