Firewatch is an engaging, detailed, and very surprising story that Campo Santo has created masterfully. Every second of wandering, talking, or interacting with the world is one that you will enjoy and experience to the fullest. While the game is short and has some notable glitches, it is something that you just have to play to fully appreciate it.
The story is something that is best experienced blind, as I did. It is full of twists and turns, and what happens will always be unexpected. You play as Henry, a middle-aged man who has had a lot of things in his life fail miserably. Right from the second the game starts, you are immersed in his character and continue to be engaged with him for the rest of your adventure. The game starts very strong, as the text-based opening scene sets you up knowing Henry’s background, and feeling sorry for him and what he has experienced. You see no other people throughout the game, except from a far distance. This gives you a sense of loneliness, which helps create the mysterious atmosphere and is an interesting part of the game. Your only other contact is Delilah, your supervisor, who is stationed in the next lookout tower, which can be seen in the distance. Your communication via radio with her is probably the game’s strongest point, as it feels like you are talking to an actual person, with an exceptional script between the two. The story changes pace quite often, which keeps every moment interesting. The game’s weakest point is probably the ending, as it isn’t the one that the rest of the story seems to be building up to. It is a very poignant and thoughtful ending though, and I still liked it, but it may not be the one you are hoping for.
Gameplay & Graphics
The visuals and artwork are purely fantastic. The game has a great lighting system, making for some beautiful sunsets, comparable to Witcher 3. The gameplay is also great. There is no HUD, and paired with the lifelike camera movement, it makes you really feel like you are standing in Henry’s shoes. A large chunk of the game is hiking to destinations, and although it can take a while, it is never boring, as the movement and the interaction with the world never disappoints. However, through my playtime I did experience some glitches and errors, such as getting stuck and even freezing up at one point. Hopefully Campo Santo will release a patch for this, because it takes away from the immersive experience they offer.
Firewatch is an amazing game with comedy, suspense, mystery, and sadness, creating an excellent story, albeit with a mildly disappointing ending, and paired with great gameplay, graphics, and an immersive experience, I would not be surprised that this will become an indie classic through the years to come. Even though it is a short game, it is a memorable one, and I would highly recommend paying the small $20 price for.
I rate this game a 9/10.