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Our favorite reviews and responses to Edith Finch

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

Our latest game, What Remains of Edith Finch, has been out for a month now and the response has been fantastic. As of today we’ve got a 90 Metacritic rating on PC, making it the highest-rated game of the year! (along with a very respectable 88 on PlayStation 4)

In addition to reviews, the game has sparked a lot of interesting and thoughtful discussions. Here’s a few of our favorites from the past month:

 

The reviewer for The Telegraph spoke very personally about how the game affected her:

Edith Finch hit me harder than perhaps any other single piece of media ever has… I couldn’t bring myself to write about the game until over a week had passed since I’d last played it. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since then.
An emotional roller coaster that explores our curious relationship with tragedy

 

The Creative Director of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter describes about how crazy it is that this game exists at all:

…let me just say that I have probably never played a more imaginative game in my entire life… And the amount of work put into every minute of the game must have been insane. I mean, literally. No other game of this kind even comes close. If I ran the team the size of Giant Sparrow, I’d never greenlight this project.
What Remains of Edith Finch

 

A mechanics-oriented review from VG247 that, towards the end, becomes surprisingly intimate:

Edith Finch is what happens when someone remembers that interactivity is delightful on its own terms, and sets out to do something more interesting with it… we usually just make games about murdering things – even though it’s not really the murders that make it enjoyable. Certain actions – putting a reticule on a target, dodging an incoming attack, and chaining together a series of effective attacks – are just inherently fun.
What Remains of Edith Finch is a game for everyone who has ever been alive

 

Waypoint discusses how the game exemplifies the power of interactive stories:

Edith Finch is an example of stories… that can only be told by the video gaming medium. Its collection of individually resonant narratives, bound by where we come in (and unexpectedly out), is inspired, delighting and surprising and unsettling with each new chapter.
‘What Remains of Edith Finch’ Perfectly Illustrates Gaming’s Storytelling Power

 

The reviewer at No Coast Gaming has never liked first-person narrative games but talks about why he found this one strangely compelling:

I’m not the person who is supposed to review What Remains of Edith Finch… [I] have a hard time becoming emotionally invested in games of this genre… [but] with that in mind, I think this is as hearty a recommendation as can be given: What Remains of Edith Finch will stick with me for years
Review: What Remains of Edith Finch

 

An unexpectedly glowing review from the often harsh, hardcore gaming critic Jim Sterling:

Many games have attempted to tug at its audience’s heartstrings, but few are possessed of enough subtlety and elegance to succeed. For such developers who think “emotional” is an apt descriptor without qualification, the heights achieved by Giant Sparrow might as well be as the Sun to Icarus.
What Remains Of Edith Finch Review – Family Matters

 

Timothy Nunes shares his thoughts on how the game depicts mental illness as well as his own experience with it:

Edith Finch puts such an importance on remembering that you cannot handle everything on your own, and I needed something like this. There is a major stigma looming over mental illness in today’s society that keeps those of us with issues from seeking help… Edith Finch shows the aftermath of that kind of thinking. For the better part of a decade… I was scared of the schizophrenia and bipolar disorder that plagued my father throughout my entire childhood. I watched him throw away help over and over, and I feared I’d get caught in the same stubborn loop, causing the same kind of delusional harm to those around me. Hell, I’m still scared.
How ‘What Remains of Edith Finch’ trades stigma for humanity

 

Wired describes how the game’s impact depends greatly on how much of yourself you see in it:

Yet I find my experience with What Remains of Edith Finch difficult to reconcile… it wavers between profundity and formula… It teems with people you can reach out to but never quite touch… Somehow, though, it still worked for me, because I remember my own family home. I remember my half siblings, who came and went before I reached adulthood, and who still live within half an hour of that house. I remember my parents fighting, separating, divorcing. I remember my mom getting sick and getting better… Walking through Edith’s old house, listening to her as she recalls and imagines the stories of those who came before her, I thought about my own family history and its effect on me.
What Remains of Edith Finch is a Great Game — If You See Yourself In It

 

M. Joshua Cauller looks at the challenge of conveying what this game feels like through a trailer:

The [trailers] do a great job of framing this memento mori idea, but they chose not to show the player engaging these memoir moments. I mean, I get it. It’s a hard choice: do we show the player’s first-person gameplay (with all the drunk-wonkiness of movement — and time-constraints of gameplay animations), or do we wrest camera control and show the game’s beautiful setting instead? By choosing setting, they got beautiful footage, but sacrificed the player’s voice (player-cam). I respect this decision. But I’d like to consider the player-cam option. Would this work?
Thoughts on first-person-narrative game trailers

 

Ian Bogost in The Atlantic considers whether games should try to tell stories at all, using our game as an example:

What Remains of Edith Finch both adopts and improves upon the model set by Gone Home… The result is aesthetically coherent… The writing is good, an uncommon accomplishment in a video game. On the whole, there is nothing to fault in What Remains of Edith Finch. It’s a lovely little title with ambitions scaled to match their execution. Few will leave it unsatisfied. And yet, the game is pregnant with an unanswered question: Why does this story need to be told as a video game?
Video Games Are Better Without Stories

 

Two writers at Kotaku discuss the meaning of the game’s ending and the feelings it left them with:

It feels like there should be a video game-y way to “figure it out” but at every turn the game pretty much denies that to you… [there’s a] natural tendency to want to assemble the clues and solve the mystery. Which, if this story has a point, that point is, “stop trying to mythologize everything and figure it all out!” Which… well, I do start to ask, is this deliberate and clever, or just unfinished? They get away with it, ultimately. But I’m still not 100% convinced that the ending wasn’t just the result of development challenges or something.
We Should Probably Talk About Edith Finch’s Ending