Firewatch Quickie Review

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Two is just as lonely as one.

I can’t remember a game in which I have followed literally since it was announced back in 2014. My excitement for this game was through the roof! Every trailer, every screenshot, and every developer’s commentary just looked AMAZING! The art style reminds me of something straight out of Pixar’s workshop. Firewatch is developed by a group of people who have worked on such classics as Bioshock 2, and The Walking Dead game, so you don’t have to worry about the writing being weak. The story follows middle aged Henry as he takes a job watching fires in Wyoming, this is his attempt to get away from it all for a summer, and catch up on some writing in peace, and did I mention this is all set in 1989? The feel of the 80’s is brought on strong as I stumbled through the woods trying to follow the colorful map, and compass. I found it a bit frustrating, but I guess that’s just a testament to how accustomed (and reliant) I’ve become to google maps. He hikes through the woods for two days before reaching his look out tower, and is greeted by his new boss Delilah.

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The back and fourth conversation between Henry and Delilah is natural and very entertaining. There were times that I stopped hiking and exploring all together just to hear them finish their convo. Delilah is a funny, foul mouthed, tequila drinking, middle aged woman with a contagious sense of humor. Henry’s entire purpose for being out there is to watch fires, but so many strange things start happening that distract him from sitting and watching. Fireworks are going off, two girls come up missing, the communication lines to the lookouts get cut, Henry finds out he and Delilah are being watched, documented, and taped. With all this going on the game seemed to really being going somewhere deep and dark. It was one point in the game where the tone went to pleasant and comedic, to suspenseful and terrifying. I started the game running through the woods, and excited to see what was around the next bush, during the last hour I was kept looking over my shoulder, and swearing that I heard someone in the bushes behind me. The length was fine, I’m all ok with the “Short and Sweet” approach to a network game, it’s just the ending I had an issue with. I honestly wouldn’t even say it was an issue, the ending and the build up was just… ok. I really feel like they could have done SOOOOO much more with what was laid out in the first hour of the game. I honestly felt like the ending is how all this would have played out in REAL life, but I guess that’s what they were going for.

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