What Remains Of Edith Finch: A Collection Of Haunted Family Memories
The New Family Home
The old home was lost at sea and when the low tide set, part of the house that patriarch, Odin Finch died trying to bring to the island on the outskirts of Washington State could still be seen from where Edith Finch built the new home with her husband, Sven and their young child in What Remains Of Edith Finch.
It was said the first thing that Edie did was build the new family cemetery and then start construction on the new family home, which would grow generation after doomed generation as family members moved in and seldom ever left. The house that Edie and Sven built was becoming a mausoleum as they lost more and more family over time and the library was the place to preserve their stories for the next generation.
Edith Jr, is narrator of the tale and tells through her journal about the night she retraced her steps to the house that she had inherited from her mother, Dawn after her death and had not seen since the night her family fled from it shortly after the death of her brother.
The Finch house scared Edith her entire life, mostly because she remembered it from a time when her mother began to seal off rooms that were used as memorials for family that had passed on. She never found this unusual, or the amount of hidden passageways built into the house that went room to room so there was always a way to visit areas that were sealed off.
Edith never thought she would go back there as her last memory after the death of her brother, Lewis, was that they gathered their belongings that night and left and when Edie refused to come along she was left behind and found dead the next morning.
Edith, after the death of her mother, and learning that she is to become a mother herself, feels the pull to understand the family curse so she can pass it on to her unborn child, and understand it herself.
The second to last of the Finch family still alive, Edith Jr, now pregnant, goes back to the house she hasn't seen since her childhood. The place where so many of their family have lost their lives and been forever memorized in the home behind sealed doors and buried in the on ground cemetery.
More of an immersive experience that any other game I have played of its type, What Remains of Edith Finch shines in its storytelling and visuals.
The game has no enemies, simple puzzles and navigation, but is far from a first person point and click bore-fest. As Edith first enters the house, only armed with a key that doesn't open the front door- the only interaction in the game play is using the directional and right trigger to open doors and interact with objects.
In the ways that this world imagines those simple button manipulations, creeping up a tree as a cat, swimming as a shark, a child swinging so high on the back swing on a shaky branch, or Edith herself moving through the tiny spaces between the walls and she uses the passages to each room.
The game is never boring, as the story unfolds each room telling about the life and death of the Finch the room is in memory to. Where each story is an obituary, it is never sad and really celebrates the life of each fallen family member.
Each section mixes up how the simple control mechanics are used from being an animal in the section on Molly and the imaginary world of Lewis.
The game is broken into story of each fallen family member and celebrates their life and what was special about them rather than being so sadly focused on their death. Was the Finch family cursed for sure? No one seems to really know, but only Edith Jr's child remains of the family line.
The First Generation
The only house can still be seen at low tide, and as Edie and Sven build their new home, she can always see the old one in the background from any angle of the massive yard.
Why Edie insisted on the passageways, we aren't sure but of the first generation of the family that lives there, things are pretty normal until the first death within the New family home, until the death of their children.
Molly, is the first to go and the first room that you can enter in the tour of the house as Edith Jr through a passageway. Molly was sent to bed without dinner as punishment and in her hunger was eating everything in her room as she wrote in her journal from the gerbil food, to toothpaste, and some Holly berries that were decorating for Christmas.
Molly writes about a fabulously wonderful journey in which she was so hungry that she was several types of animals hunting prey and finally a serpentine type monster than was hunting people. Molly is found dead inside her room, assumed to have been poisoned from consuming the Holly berries, and her room is the first be a memorial, although in the cemetery there is a statue to Odin.
Not long after the death of Molly, Barbara was killed seemingly by an intruder though her death was suspicious as she was a child star that had appeared in one motion picture and then was never able to get another staring role. Edith Jr remarks that Edie must have found irony in Barbara being killed and being brought back into the limelight.
Traumatized from being home the night that his sister was killed, Walter begins to lose his mind and lives in a fallout shelter under the house for the next thirty years and Edith Jr is outraged to the realization neither her mother or grandmother ever told her about her uncle living on the property until his death when she was about six years old and family came out of the bunker only to be hit by a train as he crossed the tracks.
Edie and Sven's son Calvin, then dies on a freak accident when he tries to swing as high as he could but either slips and flies off or the branch breaks and sends him flying over the cliff side- the game isn't too clear with that one.
Only their son, Sam, goes onto live to adulthood and have his own family to bring back to the home.
Sven eventually dies on the property as well, trying to build a slide in the shape of a dragon for their elaborate property.
Of the first generation, only Sam goes onto adulthood while his father and all his siblings have died on the property between the last 40's and 60's. Sam joined the army as soon as he was eighteen to get away from the cursed family home, and the memory of his twin who had died on the backyard swing. Edie had left the twins' sharing a room even though the massive house was constantly adding new construction, and Calvin's side of the room remained behind a rope like a mini museum.
Sam And The New Generation
One would think as the surviving child of the first generation of the family, Sam would not want to raise his family in the family home.
Edie had begun to make the living memorials for the fallen family members and each room was like a museum piece. It was creepy but beautiful with this retrospect about each person in the prime of their lives and at the time of their death.
But Sam married a woman named Kay and had several children, living in an expansion put on in the home. It only takes a few short years before life starts to fall apart for Sam's family the way it did for his own siblings growing up in the Finch home.
Sam's children are Dawn, the mother of Edith Jr, Gus, and Gregory.
Gregory drowns in the bathtub as a baby shortly as Sam and Kay are planning to divorce, and because the memorial is in the Finch home, it is assumed that he died on the property though through the montage of Gregory's death, a playable section where you are a small child moving about bathtub toys until the water is turned on while the distracted mother is arguing with Sam on the phone- why would Kay have custody of the children in the Finch family home if Sam wasn't there? After all this was his family?
Was he living somewhere else in the expansive house? Was he not moved out yet? This needs further explanation and the beautiful and creative way about narrating the death of a baby was not sad in the way it should have been though the imaginative play with the toys performing Swan Lake in the bathtub.
Gus is killed during what is either a savage thunderstorm or hurricane that takes place on the day that his father remarries at the family estate.
Trying to bond with his daughter over the tragic events, Sam takes Dawn hunting for the first time and Sam is killed after she shoots a buck who wasn't dead and pushes Sam off the cliff.
Dawn in the only one of Sam's children that survives into adulthood but she leaves home to find purpose in India where she starts volunteering and teaching and meets her love, Sanjay.
Dawn and Sanjay have the last generation of cursed Finches to live in the house.
The Last Of Edith Jr
It is never explained what happens to Sanjay, but his death is what makes Dawn come back to the home she never wanted to see again.
Dawn grew up with the Finch house as a tribute to family members that have passed and she knows that Edie will never let go of the past. As Edie adds new memorials, when all Dawn wants is normalcy for her young children, it is the decision of Dawn to start sealing off rooms to protect Milton, Lewis, and Edith Jr from knowing the dark secrets hidden behind those doors.
Dawn wants to keep the past out, but in the end she decides to share what she has hidden away from Edith Jr after her death in hopes she understands about the house that is now hers and the family that lived before.
Son Milton goes missing. Or maybe he chose to just disappear. There are hints around the game that Milton knew about all the passageways through the main house and all its expansions as he has marked it with artwork. It states one day he just disappeared, but maybe Milton wasn't going to stick around to be the next victim of the curse, as so many of the family members had died in the home.
As Dawn closes off areas of the house, Edie starts to add peepholes to the rooms. Edith Jr comments that she always that that was normal growing up in that home.
Lewis, who was described in a beautifully illustrated story that hinged on a letter from his therapist was suffering from mental illness and addiction issues and was living in a fantasy world where he was the king and had an issue with telling fantasy from reality in the end and was killed in a factory accident.
It was at that moment Dawn decided to take Edith Jr, and Edie if she would come and get away from the house forever.
Edie wouldn't go and tried to explain to Edith Jr the family history in a book but Dawn destroyed the book on the night they left the home and when Edie wouldn't leave with them, they fled. Edie was found dead the next morning.
When Edith Jr goes back after Dawn's death from what was presumed to be a long illness like cancer, Edith Jr embarks on her final trip to the family home to understand the past of her family, writing down the family tree and for her unborn child.
The last scene is Edith's child who appears to be a boy putting flowers on Edith Jr's grave in the family cemetery. It is presumed she died in complications from the pregnancy.
But what will we know of the last Finch? Did the child ever explore the house now that he has his mother's journal and knows about what has befallen all the other Finches?
Will there ever be DLC to document this story?
Beautifully written and illustrated, What Remains Of Edith Finch is a short game where game play can be between 1-3 hours. While the path is structured to keep finding the passages to get into the next area, there is replay value is exploring more of the house and going back to certain stories about family members to see where it all connects.
Will Edith Jr's child outlive the family curse? Will they inherit the home and decide to let another generation live there?
There is so much more I want to know about the story but it didn't feel rushed and the game was just the perfect length. Never did I feel bummed out or bored as the story moved on along painting a beautiful epitaph of each family member lost.