Giant Sparrow is quickly becoming known for thought-provoking games, wonderful story telling, and magnificently realized worlds. Their first title, The Unfinished Swan, released back in 2012 to great success, so naturally, everyone was waiting to see what they would do next. When teasers and videos began dropping for What Remains of Edith Finch, I knew they were going to have another hit on their hands. Read on for our full What Remains of Edith Finch review.
Title: What Remains of Edith Finch
Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
Developer: Giant Sparrow
Available On: PlayStation 4, PC
Reviewed On: PC
Release Date: April 25, 2017
Review Game Provided by the Publisher
What Remains of Edith Finch is not a long game by any stretch of the imagination. My initial playthrough took me around two and a half hours to complete, and that was with several stretches of exploration. If you simply moved from one area to the next, it could easily be completed in under two hours. But this is a game that isn’t measured by the length of time it takes to complete the story. I will say, if you have any interest in this game, it’s best to go in blind. As a slight precaution, there will be a few gameplay spoilers in what follows.
A narrative-driven game, the is another major game that can best be described as a “walking simulator.” I don’t use that term in a negative way, but as a means to represent what you’ll be doing when playing. You primarily play as Edith Finch, as she is about to revisit her childhood home. Walking through the forested landscape leading up to the house, back story and several plot points are introduced as players look around and examine different objects. This mechanic just worked for me, and I was interested in where this story could potentially go after just a few moments.
Upon reaching the house, Edith continues to provide more and more dialogue on the current situation, and it’s up to the player to explore the rooms of the house. Each room is entirely different, and belonged to a particular Finch family member. You can examine objects in each room to learn a little bit about them, but the real fun begins when you check out their diary and get whisked away into their past. At this point, everything shifts and you are controlling whichever family member you are currently learning about. Each room offers a completely different play style, from platforming, to swinging on a swing-set, to campy slasher movies, to exploring a royal kingdom while cutting off the heads of fish in a factory.
The varied amounts of gameplay offered throughout the rooms was definitely my favorite part about this release, and it was something I honestly wasn’t expecting. Each room serves as a little slice of history, and it’s fun and utterly depressing at the same time to witness Edith slowly fill in the family tree in her own journal while exploring the memories of those who came before her.
I’m honestly not going to dive any more into the story and gameplay elements of this game, because as I mentioned, it’s best to really jump in and see for yourself what makes this game so special. What Remains of Edith Finch will keep calling back to you after you’ve finished it, and in a way, you’ll want to return to get a better understanding for the story after you know the what and why things happened. My only complaint is that the game was literally over almost as quick as it began. You don’t get to enjoy the individual room sequences as much as I would have liked, because they end within minutes. Either way though, this is an excellent title, and I encourage you to check it out.