A few years ago I watched my boyfriend play ‘Everybody’s Gone to The Rapture’ and I was entranced. I was hooked on the mystery, the environment and how excellent the storytelling was. So when I heard about ‘What Remains of Edith Finch’ being on the Epic Games launcher for free and being similar to Rapture I had it downloaded before you could say
antidisestablishmentarianism. I decided to stream it on Tuesday this week.
I hadn’t even loaded the game up pre-stream so it was a complete blind play-through for me.
Graphically, the game is dreamlike. It’s not your state of the art, crisp as a newly ironed work shirt, God of War sort of deal. But the slightly glowy, blurred edges make for a dreamlike visual that fits with the game’s theme.
The intro was a bit vague. You start off playing as Edith. She tells you about the family home that she has just inherited. She says she hasn’t been back since her brother’s funeral. All a bit mysterious since she doesn’t explain what happened to her brother but continues to talk about her ancestors who lived in the house who each had a story behind their lives before they were all hit by a “curse”.
Once you get to the house you get to have a bit of a walk around. The house is dis-symmetry gone completely awry, with castles and boats built on top of an ordinary looking house. It smacks of the Winchester Mystery House if it went to Vegas, got shitfaced and came back high on LSD.
Edith’s mum didn’t think it was helpful in any way to give Edith a key to the front door of her own house, so we end up climbing through the dog flap into the garage to get into the house that way.
We move through the clutter-ridden house, trying doors all over, only to find them locked tight. By peering in through the spyglasses, we see a perfectly preserved room from a period in the family history for that particular family member. Edith tells us that after her siblings died and went missing that her mother locked all the rooms shut. She grew up looking at the rooms through the spyglass and just assumed that was normal practice in a house.
It was a bit weird that all the rooms were kept as they were, especially since there were so many of them. I get the impression that Edith’s family were incredibly eccentric, but this quirkiness really added to the mystery of the story.
Edith manages to get into one room and discovers that her ancestor who built the house loved to put secret passageways in it. She begins in Molly’s room. The game takes you through each family member’s story as if you are reliving their last moments. It doesn’t end well for any of them, I’m not going to lie and this does eventually take its toll on you and I noticed that I’d stopped talking and became pretty sad during stream. Especially when you get to Gregory’s story – you’ll understand when you play.
Whilst there is a theme with the unfortunate endings of the family and the game is mostly one long walkabout, the stories themselves are all a little series of different mini-games – from flying about as an owl and catching rabbits, to trying to navigate through an imaginary town with one hand, whilst chopping fish heads with the other. I felt as though without this variation in the mini-games, which were SO very different, I probably would have struggled to finish it before becoming bored.
I did a lot of fannying about if I’m honest and still managed to complete the game in two hours. I’d say a speed playthrough could quite easily be done in a hour, which is fine if you managed to snap up the game for free like I did, but would be really gutting if you had paid the £15.99 standard price.
The game also ended quite abruptly and left us watching the credits in the hope that we were told a little more as the story left both myself and my viewers with a fair few questions. Most of these revolved around the disappearance of Edith’s brother, which personally, was my main focus in the game. We never found out what happened to Milton Finch and I had to Google an answer by the developers to find out. Whilst the answer was really clever, I got nothing from the game and had I not Googled it, I’d have been pretty put out about not finding out anything more.
Positives: Great storytelling with the mini-games and art-styles
Negatives: Very short game with unanswered questions
Overall Score: 7/10