When i decided to take the plunge and buy a PS4, Firewatch was one of the games that was on the list to play. I had seen the trailers and watched some streams of the game, and it looked fantastic.
The game looked really vibrant with the colours from the streams, however sometimes you don’t get the full experience when watching through a stream, doesn’t feel the same as playing and experiencing it for yourself.
When i started up the game, and did the initial process I was greeted by some choices, which I was to find out was setting the way for why Henry took the job at the Firewatch. This is where the game starts to pull on your heartstrings. You have to make multiple choices over how Henry and Julia meet and what happens to them over the coming years. There’s ups and downs and you can really feel it, and all I’ve done so far is read the writing and choices on the screen, but you really start to connect with the couple this year, basically because your building there relationship. I loved this, it helped to connect to the characters, especially Henry who you will be playing as through the game.
When you start playing the game and get wander the area, you will be amazed at the beauty before you, and there are even points throughout the game where Henry comments on it himself, and I have to admit, that the colours and the lighting for me we’re spot on. The effects as well that you see when the fire starts raging and the smoke begins to build is incredible.
The world is open to an extent, you can only go to certain places as you play through the game and get the equipment needed, so where it is mostly open world, there are some linear parts to it where you have to go to certain places to continue on.
The storytelling is brilliant and I love the connection between Henry and Delilah. There are a lot of quirky conversations and from the options I selected they both got on well and worked well throughout the game. It’s the same as from the start of the game where you have several options to select from throughout the game, and this is the same when you start in the tower with Delilah at the other post. There’s all different options to choose from which I don’t think will deter from the final end game, but it may have implications on Henry and Delilah’s relationship. However I’m not too certain about this as I have only done the one play through, if I go back and choose other options, i’ll update the review accordingly to let you know.
There are animations within the game which are part of the everyday motions and they are really smooth, one of the animations is when you leave your watch tower and go down the stairs, Henry ducks and grabs hold of the upper part of the stairs which he has to duck down under, and this is just so smooth and seamless, its the same when he jumps off rocks, there are some where you can press forward on the left stick and he will simply just jump down, there are some though that do require a good ol’ button press. The design of the icons that came up as well got me a bit confused at the start as well.
This was mainly because everything was done in a yellow colour to go with the style of the game, which is fine and logical. But when it was asking me to press X for things, my brain for a while would automatically think yellow on an Xbox One controller was Y, so I would press the triangle button instead. I think that was just my brain choosing the colour and not the letter and also being too used to an Xbox controller. That’s not really a negative, I think using the buttons colours would have been better, as triggers we’re no issue as they we’re a different shape. Something very minor, which I got used too 🙂
When they were actions and movements which required a press of a button, when these were timed to perfection created such fluidity and Henry would just glide over rocks, fallen trees etc. Absolutely wonderful
I did encounter a few framerate issues while playing the game and this was perhaps my only real negative. Normally a drop here and there doesn’t really bother me and I brush it off, but this seemed to get worse the more the game went on and it seemed like the more animation with the smoke for the fire coupled with other things that were happening on the screen such as animations for jumping, climbing, rappelling etc were making it worse. Which is a real shame as it started to spoil the enjoyment a little bit.
The store is a short one and I think i managed to complete it in around 4 hours, and there are only 5 trophies within the game, all of which can’t be missed as they’re all based on the story. This is one thing I don’t like and find it very lazy of the developers to do. There are so many more options out there to do, they could have had a trophy for finding all the cache boxes and things like that, it just seems like a missed opportunity to me.
Don’t get me wrong though, I know i’ve said about the framerate issues and lack of trophies available, but this is a very good story based game. I loved connecting with the characters and getting to know more about them. I also loved the sort of mini story in the middle of the main arc surrounding the girls that you first chase off.
Its beautiful, the story is well told and the characters were amazing, and I was kind of sad that Henry doesn’t get to meet Delilah as I think that may of been a nice touch. (For the choices I made throughout the game anyways)
I’m going to give Firewatch an 8