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Firewatch

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8.1

Great

Game Reviews from around the web

100

This unconventional game combines strong story, beautiful natural surroundings and fantastically written and played characters. What it lacks in classic adventure mechanics, it makes up in great dialogue system between the main protagonists. [Issue#262]

LEVEL (Czech Republic)

95

Firewatch pushes the still-forming first person exploration genre ahead several steps, with wonderful dialogue, sumptuous design, and a story that examines loneliness in unique ways.

95

A gorgeous, spellbinding game that plays with your thoughts and delivers a narrative throughline that you never see coming. An absolute must for fans of storytelling in games.

95

Firewatch is special and rare…It tackles mature subjects, but it isn’t just telling a story. It is using the medium of gaming to say something to the player. Maybe that was especially effective for me because I’ve avoided asking myself the questions that Firewatch poses. But I think it’s important that a developer can wield this kind of power, and I want more of it.

93

It is among the very best of the first-person narrative genre, and it reminds us what video game storytelling is capable of in the right hands. It’s a game I can see coming back to every year or two just to revisit its beautiful sights and memorable characters – just like a good book.

92

It offers a real look at developing relationships, choice and consequence, all with the beautifully rendered backdrop of the Shoshone national forest. It’s a game that will stick with you beyond the finish and one that you’ll want to go back to.

90

An incredibly well written story that evokes more emotions than one could expect. A game worth experiencing if you are into the more soulful aspect of interactive storytelling.

90

Firewatch adds a humane flavor to a game, that is a mix of walking simulator and a telltaleish adventure game. And it looks absolutely gorgeous. Campo Santo kicks off the adventure game year of 2016 with a high note. Well played, sirs! [March 2016]

Pelit (Finland)

90

Firewatch is a fantastic game, it has great storytelling and believable characters. It’s one of the more refreshing gaming experiences I’ve had in years.

90

Firewatch is a curious experience, and one that has continued to shift my perception of what a game is.

90

Firewatch is narrative-driven adventure game dealing with adult issues in ways unlike any other game out there, and is one of the best looking games so far this year.

90

Firewatch is a quiet mystery for gamers who know how to listen. A strong script and exceptional dialogue direction make Firewatch to one of the best interactive storytelling experiences you can get your hands on.

90

Without spoiling anything, it’s this concept of being powerless that enhances everything going for the story.

90

It was wonderful to explore the world and to listen to Henry and Delilah open up to one another about their lives. I’d easily recommend it to anyone who values a good, mature story. While the final destination leaves much to be desired, the trip was well worth it.

90

Firewatch shows the way video games, without creating major conflicts or over-the-top conspiracies, can elicit strong emotional responses from their audience, and it should be applauded for that even by gamers who do not appreciate the first-person adventure mechanics.

90

A powerfully distilled story told in a time and place that haunts you with its beauty, its mystery, and restraint. Firewatch takes the time to turn its setting into a character, and it’s one of the most three-dimensional videogame characters you’ll encounter in 2016.

90

It’s a gripping, compelling story set in a truly beautiful world that’s worth exploring. Just go in with your expectations clear. This is a relatively short game that’s almost entirely about the story, which consists almost entirely of two people talking over radios to one another. You play a chubby guy in his forties talking to, presumably, a woman of a similar age who you never see. There’s really nothing else like it I can think of, which makes it all the more rewarding…I loved Firewatch, mostly, letdown with the ending notwithstanding

90

An industry supergroup brings together their experience to tell an engaging narrative in a beautiful world. Firewatch explores love and commitment through two of the most authentic videogame characters I’ve seen. A simply wonderful game.

90

Firewatch is a beautiful story of escapism and loss, set against the beautiful Wyoming wilderness. The physicality of your interactions, the excellent radio conversations, and poignant writing and imagery are hindered only by slight issues in presentation and technical hitching. It’s grounded, human, and one that you’ll be eager to talk about for days after the credits roll.

90

Firewatch is one of those games that you need to take a step back and think about after it’s over. This tense four-hour adventure might lead you to believe it’s going places it never goes, and while some might wish for a grander tale loaded with conspiracy, what’s actually there stands on its own as wonderful. A touching human story sprinkled with player agency, Firewatch succeeds in causing players to consider what it truly means to be alone.

90

Even without much motivation to replay the short campaign, Firewatch is still well worth the $19.99 price tag for the beautiful landscape, compelling mystery, and amazing character development. Firewatch isn’t a game for everyone, but if you love a good mystery, this is a must play.

85

A brilliant adventure packed with some of the best dialogue gaming has even been medium to, Firewatch manages to engross you from the moment it begins and throughout its fittingly brief tale. Even if the journey is far more captivating than the eventual destination, Firewatch is more than worth the price of admission. Wyoming and its mysteries await.

85

A captivating journey into a beautiful, atmospheric wilderness, with a touching story that doesn’t always hit the right notes.

85

If there can be such a thing as a page-turner in video games, this is one. For anyone who enjoys narratives within games, Firewatch is certainly worth playing. Player agency is woven into the game’s characters and plot, unmasking mysteries as they curve toward their conclusion. In the end, it feels like it’s about the emotions and cares of real people, not the animations of puppets.

83

Firewatch is a new adventure similar to Journey or Dear Esther. Campo Santo has done a great job with the visual style and with every sound in the game. Firewatch is a beautiful journey with an engaging narrative.

82

In contrast with most “walking simulators”, Firewatch is very indigenous. The game doesn’t make you browse endless memoirs and local legends, or spend hours pondering what deep thought the writer tried to convey in each ambiguous sentence. Instead, events in Wyoming forest unfold very naturally, like something that really can happen to a ranger. [Issue#207, p.58]

Game World Navigator Magazine

82

It offers a fascinating world to explore, but the gameplay isn’t very challenging.

82

An excellent narrative adventure that may have been even better if it were more flexible with its ending and the consequences of our choices.

80

Firewatch is hands down the best, the most engaging first person walker I have ever played. Something doesn’t let me rate it higher though, and I guess it’s my common sense. [04/2016, p.50]

CD-Action

80

The look of this game is nothing short of stunning… Each detail is carefully designed and thought out with a charming feel to it overall.

80

It won’t set the world on fire, but there’s a compelling character drama behind this mystery tale. [March 2016, p.76]

Games Master UK

80

The story’s the star, of course. [March 2016, p.114]

Edge Magazine

80

Whether you’re looking for several hours of mystery and drama or just a magnificent world to explore, do yourself a favor and spare a few hours of your time to experience Firewatch.

80

Like a good thriller, the whole time I was playing Firewatch I was completely engaged and couldn’t wait to see where the story went next. The tale raises interesting questions about solitude, privacy and paranoia. However, a weak ending and some occasionally strange pacing ultimately detracts from Firewatch’s spark of greatness.

80

When faced with challenges of a certain magnitude, many people seek escape through emotional-altering substances, mindless activities, destructive relationships or even by escaping physically to someplace remote and isolating. Eventually, they come to realize — perhaps suggested in Firewatch — the ultimate futility of trying to escape that which they carry with them all the time and they begin to accept and understand themselves a little more clearly.

80

Firewatch is not perfect, but it’s a really deep and mature story which can take you deep inside your mind. It’s writing is fantastic and the environment is jaw-dropping, but maybe it’s too short and limited for its price.

80

But anti-climatic ending aside, Firewatch is a truly unique experience that packs an emotional punch. Razor-sharp dialogue and exceptional voice acting only stoke its flames and help it burn brighter.

80

Firewatch is not what many people may have wanted, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. Fans of interactive drama will absolutely want to give this a try, as it shows how you can craft a “walking simulator” while keeping players involved and intrigued as opposed to ignored and bored.

80

Firewatch is an excellent, tense story, uncanny in spite its numerous beauties, and unmissable despite weaker mechanics.

80

Firewatch may be too short and with some minor technical issues but an excellent visual style, interesting characters, intriguing storyline and a very original place of action more than make up for that. Firewatch is something unique enough that is worth recommending not only to the fans of “walking simulator” games.

80

If you want fast paced action heavy moments, this isn’t for you. What the game does offer is mystery, intrigue and beautiful design. The game isn’t very long, but doesn’t need to be anything more as it feels compact, interesting and felt like a movie.

80

Despite the lackluster ending, Firewatch is certainly a worthwhile production. Well-thought-out and executed graphical style, amazing vistas and fascinating dialogues are definitely something to see and experience for yourself.

80

While this relationship is a triumph rarely seen in video games, the moment-to-moment storytelling is not as well-crafted. Firewatch sets up a smart bait-and-switch by messing with your assumptions about what’s going on, but doesn’t quite deliver on it. The build-up is tremendous, lacing the air with paranoia and tension by dangling different threads. But by the end doesn’t tie together.

80

The world is beautiful and the voice acting is excellent. But Henry and Delilah’s story is far too short, and the resolution of the game’s story relies far too much on a backstory that isn’t given the breathing room it needs. It’s an emotional rollercoaster that just teeters back down to a merry-go-round, leaving me with a detached feeling that everything I had spent the past few hours working towards has been all for naught.

80

A different and intriguing experience that blends the realism of everyday life, the one we find when you get away from the routine and the mystery of the strange and the unknown.

80

Firewatch establishes Campo Santo as a visionary studio with some interesting ideas on its mind. And while its first game doesn’t quite muster the authentic emotional resonance of a first-person narrative masterpiece like Gone Home, it still successfully draws us into its world and makes us care about its characters.

80

Campo Santo has taken one of the most boring jobs in the world and turned it into an absorbing tale of fear and regret.

GameTrailers

80

A tight, taut human tale well worth the trek.

80

The ending will be a point of contention for some, but it all comes down to a perspective and regardless of that, you should play this game.

80

It tells a simple, effective story using its keenly developed sense of location and by binding us to Henry through smart writing and dialogue choices. The question of whether these choices can substantially impact the outcome of Henry’s story does niggle: were we just witnesses or active participants?

76

Despite some hiccups regarding the gameplay and a rather disappointing ending to the story, Firewatch is an experience worth remembering, all thanks to its fantastically-written characters and its superb atmosphere.

74

It’s a beautiful, beguiling place to spend some time, absolutely worth it while you’re there, but sooner rather than later you’ll yearn to shed its shackles, to get off the beaten path.

72

It’s the equivalent of a quality short novel: brief but intense, it will leave something behind. It’s also a very passive experience, so don’t dive in if you’re looking for adventures: you won’t find anything of sorts. But it’s nonetheless a unique experience in a way, something you’ve never experienced before.

70

It’s an interesting take on the usual “walking simulator” and a dividing experience that many will appreciate. The art direction is great, as are most of the dialogues between the characters, and yet the closure of the story isn’t fully satisfying. It could have been… more.

70

A trip to the wonderfully stylized nature of wild Wyoming fully wakes your imagination. Unfortunately, a well-developed story doesn´t reach to a satisfactory ending. Thanks to excellent dialogues, fabulous views and immersive atmosphere Firewatch certainly deserves your attention.

70

With both the beauty of Firewatch and its varied tones and exploration, this is one game that will resonate with players just as variously.

70

Firewatch uses extremely atmospheric woods to tell a nice story in four hours time. That same forest is keeping you from feeling free though, and the story misses depth. Was this game a bit too ambitious? It certainly seems so.

70

In essence, Firewatch is a scavenger hunt for adults who know something of life’s disappointments.

70

I wasn’t very fulfilled by Firewatch. It’s not that I’m not susceptible to a story told in this format – on the contrary, what kept my interest for the duration was how the story was delivered. But its shadow boxing with video gamey elements didn’t amount to anything substantial, and when everything else ends up hinging on the story on offer, the resulting experience sadly feels less than essential.

70

It’s a shame Firewatch fails as a mystery because it succeeds in so many other ways. Its world is captivating, its design is clever, and its characters are among the most well-written in gaming. Though it might sound counterintuitive, the plot is in many ways secondary to the relationship you build between Henry and Delilah, and that portion of the game is truly inspired.

70

Firewatch doesn’t live up to the high expectations as it’s too unpolished and too plotty to leave any sort of lasting impression. Its best moments are gripping and worth checking out but the overall package is a tad underwhelming.

65

No one can deny that Firewatch is full of promise. The problem is that it rarely fulfills it.

60

Firewatch is full of excellent dialogue, breathtaking moments, and stunning vistas, but ultimately amounts to nothing much at all.

60

It turned out that the plot was one giant misdirect whose resolution felt disappointing. Firewatch’s ending also failed to lend any emotional weight to Henry and Delilah’s relationship. That made me question whether Henry had forged a relationship with her at all—which made me wonder why it was worth talking to her for six hours.

50

A bold experiment in semi-interactive narrative that doesn’t quite succeed. [Issue#249, p.58]

PC PowerPlay

Game Reviews from around the web

Firewatch does some clever things with the central mystery to toy with the expectations of people accustomed to playing video games, but it never delivers strongly enough on that idea — or any other. As strong as the two characters at the heart of the game are, this is a story that struggles to find its voice.

Firewatch is a rare and beautiful creation, that expands the possibilities for how a narrative game can be presented, without bombast or gimmick. It’s delicate, lovely, melancholy and wistful. And very, very funny. A masterful and entrancing experience.

There is no fast-paced action or head-scratching puzzles, so the dialogue needs to carry a lot of Firewatch’s weight. Thankfully, the nuanced and intimate performances led by Mad Men’s Rich Sommer and Cissy Jones, of Telltale’s The Walking Dead, are more than up to the task.

Firewatch may leave you before you’re ready to be done with it; like Gone Home, Oxenfree et cetera it’s a six-hour experience that you can easily start after lunch and finish before bed. But it’s an emotional gut-punch all the way through, for many reasons, and largely a pleasure to explore and find yourself lost in—mentally, if not geographically. This is your next must-play story, another voyage to a place games don’t often take us.

Good

  • Engaging story
  • beautiful lush graphics and vistas

Bad

  • Short
  • Not much of a game

Summary

Firewatch is a game that you will absolutely finish - probably before you're finished with it. The games story is excellent and the graphics are beautiful even if it isn't much of a game.
8.1

Great

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