This Firewatch review contains mild spoilers regarding the story, if you’re looking to dive into the story blind please take note.
A few weeks ago I finished Firewatch, an indie narrative driven game developed by Campo Santo. Firewatch takes place in Shoshone National Forest following an interesting individual named Henry, which is the character you control. The game opens to introducing you to Henry who has a fascinating back story that is really moving. The once the game has pulled on your heartstrings, you are sent to your new post in the national forest. However, a month into his new position as fire lookout, Henry and his supervisor (Delilah) start noticing that strange things start happening to them. Currently the game runs you $19.99 on Xbox for about 4-5 hours of solid gameplay.
There is so much that I enjoyed with Firewatch. Two things that I enjoyed most with Firewatch are the story and visuals. Graphically, Firewatch is simply beautiful. The fine art of graphical simplicity is well applied here. Check out some pictures below illustrating how attractive the game is (credit goes to Reddit user deviousmojave).
I also really enjoyed the story for Firewatch. It was compelling enough to terrify me into thinking somebody was constantly behind me, watching my every move. There was also enough back story for the Henry character to leave me satisfied. In addition, there was just enough of a small love story to keep you interested in the character development.
Achievements were another aspect of the game that I enjoyed. There is a great mix of story and exploring based achievements, such as finding a pet turtle. You can check out my Ol’ Shoshone Achievement Guide for finding and listening to the “Ol’ Shoshone” tape.
The Bad (or… what I wasn’t expecting)
Spoiler warning ahead!
While I found the game unnecessarily terrifying (I really don’t do well with horror / thriller games), and also enjoying the ending, I found it slightly lackluster. There wasn’t anything in particular that I disliked, I just expected something different with all the thrill and tension that the game presented to you throughout the story. That doesn’t mean it’s bad in any sense, I just expected it to go somewhere else and I felt a little let down.
Other than the story taking a different turn then expected, my only other gripe with the game was the map. It was confusing, at first, to navigate where the game wanted you to go. I suppose I’m used to games that marks next objectives on the map, Firewatch has you rely on actually listening to the conversation to know where you’re going. Because of that, I found myself lost quickly. Luckily, if you do miss the conversation the game will lead you in the right direction.
Overall, Firewatch is a great game with very few flaws. The length of the game feels just right and is a blast to play.
[+] Great Story
[+] Very impressive simplistic visuals
[+] Aspects of thriller that keep you intrigued
[+] Easy 1000GS
[+/-] Ending was unexpected, but still interesting
[-] Takes time to get used to the map
Firewatch – a solid 4.5 out of 5