So I spent the weekend walking through the wilderness…mostly alone. I was a little nervous though, because there were times that I wasn’t really sure what was going on and not really sure if I would make it out or not. I felt a little exhausted at times but I knew the trek was not long so I figured I could push through. Welcome to the Firewatch review….
I came across Firewatch on Steam on a weekend sale giving me a whole whopping 10% off so I figured what the hell. There has been a some buzz about this game but at $19 seemed a little pricey. I have avoided all reviews on the game as I knew I would be purchasing at some point and I wanted to make up my own mind. So Steam doing what they always do…got me to purchase it because it was on SALE….#marketingworked. Once purchased I installed and got set in to play.
First things first I noticed the looks. If you were to take a FPS like Borderlands but smooth it out with some Team Fortress you would end up with the sausage fingered character like you play in Firewatch. Everything looked great and ran very smooth. I was running on Ultra so you would hope it looked good right? Only once did I see a glitch in the game and saw empty space. Controls are very easy to learn and you pick up on it very fast. I tried using my Xbox One controller but found that the keyboard just felt better with these button sequences needed. Sound was decent. There is an eerie amount of wilderness silence in the game. Every once in a while you would come across some music during something drastic but most of the time you are hearing nothing but birds and trees. I feel like the sound plays a huge part into the suspense of the game.
The storyline is pretty linear. But the way it starts and feeds into the game is very interesting. If you loved choose your own adventure books then you should enjoy Firewatch. You play Henry, a character that has had some rough recent life hits that landed him in a job as a firewatch lookout. Henry has only one companion throughout the whole game and that is Delilah his Supervisor.
Your communication with Delilah is all through your handheld radio (which can be a pain in the ass). When using the radio you end up with limited time to answer Delilah’s request or questions. Most of the answers I found really didn’t even answer the question or had little effect on her answers. As the story progresses you end up very reliant on the radio and your only companion. As the game progresses you find yourself following the orders of your Supervisor with little choice on your own. More and more of the story unravels with suspense and mystery. At one point I was curious if we had zombies, aliens, “what the hell is it”?
I spent a ton of time running around and found that my in-game skill follows my real-life ability to follow a map. I was ALWAYS lost. No matter what I did I was always on the wrong path. So most of the time I had the map and compass out to my aid. You would think no big deal doing that but by having the map out stops your ability to run…meh. While running through the forest I was really surprised there was not more items to find or creatures to interact with. With such an open 3D map we really could have added a huge amount to the game with minor side missions or things to interact with.
There is not any fighting or weapons in the game. So be prepared for tons of walking and talking. The interaction with Delilah the Supervisor keeps the conversation interesting and helps you understand the story line but even once I picked up an axe I still found myself very limited what actions I could take with it. I can see Firewatch really reaching to more of an adult group then the run and gun younger players. As an older player you can relate to more of the issues the characters are going through and their relationships as they grow.
I enjoyed Firewatch but the biggest kicker you will find in almost all comments and reviews, is the gameplay time. I knew going in the game was short so I didn’t let it deter me from my mission. For you diehard gamers out there you will be able to hammer through Firewatch in 2-4 hours. I took a few breaks and tried not to blast through it but still finished it in under 6 hours. For $19 you would hope to see just a little more out of it.
I know all of the work from the studio that went into Firewatch and like I said I did really enjoy it. I just feel that it is more in the $9.99 price range. If you can catch it on a discount then I would recommend jumping on it.
Do you have something to add to this post? What are your feelings on Firewatch?