What Remains of Edith Finch is a first-person exploration game developed by Giant Sparrow and published by Annapurna Interactive. The game is available for PlayStation, Xbox, Windows and Nintendo Switch. What Remains of Edith Finch is also currently available on the Xbox Game Pass.
I absolutely hated this game after the first 15 minutes. The controls were clunky, the story was downright weird and I just wasn’t into the concept of the game. However, I stuck with it and boy was it worth it, What Remains of Edith Finch actually turned out to be an amazing game with one of the best stories I have ever played!
The game focuses on the character Edith, a member of the Finch family, a family which is ‘cursed’ whereby all but one family member from each generation dies in an unusual way. You play as Edith and explore the Finch family home and surroundings, uncovering secrets and tales of how members of the family died. As you learn more about each individual family member, you actually play as them in a series of short gameplay sequences throughout.
Like I said, I really wasn’t sold initially on the whole concept of the game, whilst it was certainly something I had not experienced before, I just didn’t grasp the whole ‘flashback death’ part of the game. That was until I played through the story of Barbara Finch, a once child star in Hollywood with an iconic scream, attempting to reignite her career. Barbara’s flashback plays out in the form of a Halloween themed comic book and her death actually ends up being quite graphic; I don’t want to give too much away but the way in which these deaths are conveyed, its hard not get invested. As the main story of the game plays through, we experience more deaths and learn more about the Finch family.
Some of the deaths are quite comical, take Calvin Finch for example, an excitable and reckless 11 year old boy with an interest in the universe and space. You play as Calvin as he is swinging on a tree swing, attempting to complete a loop before, rather humorously, launching off the swing and off the face the of a cliff. In comparison, there are some disturbing deaths within the game, with one flashback having you play as a baby being left alone in a bathtub, which turns out to be one of the darker mini-sequences in the game. These individual stories which really do break boundaries at times make this game captivating with a poignant undertone.
One of my favourite flashbacks within the game is that of Lewis Finch. The flashback follows Lewis working at a fish cannery, grabbing fish and using the guillotine to behead them. As you play though this sequence, Lewis begins to create an imaginary world which soon overtakes his vision of the real world until he ends up becoming so immersed that he ends up taking his own life. Not only is the gameplay mechanic in this sequence nothing like I’ve experienced before, this abstract insight into mental health and depression is depicted with so much effort that I was genuinely speechless as I played through. This sequence is the game at its best and the emotion it conveys is honestly unprecedented for a video game.
A lot of the deaths actually take place within the Finch family home and as you progress through the story, you begin to pick up on some of the brilliant smaller details and lengths the developers went too. For example, there is one family member who pushes someone through the bannister at the top of the stairs within the house and if you explore the bannister as Edith, you can actually see where a temporary repair has been made as a result. It’s this attention to detail throughout the game that make it so immersive.
There’s no denying that this game is a little depressing, but its unique experience really do make it a remarkable tale. So often first-person story driven games follow the same shape, but What Remains of Edith Finch rewrites this with one-of-a-kind experiences and a gripping and unusual story. Whilst this recipe may not work for every gamer, What Remains of Edith Finch is a fantastic game not to be missed.
Eerie, gripping and unique in every single way, What Remains of Edith Finch is an extraordinary experience in its very own category.
What Remains of Edith Finch is available on Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch and Windows. It is also available on the Xbox Game Pass.