You play the game as Henry – a man who seems to have lost a lot in life – who decides that taking a job in a national park would be a good opportunity to get away from it all. Shortly after arriving you quickly meet (via your radio) the other main character of the story, Delilah. The relationship between the two really sets this game apart from other first person games. I found myself really caring about these characters and also the development of their relationship. Like Telltale games you can choose speech options that have a set amount of time to respond, making you really feel like you are in control of the story and forcing you to remain attentive and engaged. This is where the small details of the game are highlighted, such as Henry patiently pressing the walkie-talkie button, until you have sent your response to the game.
The whole game is set in first-person where you roam around the national park from your home base which is a watchtower, navigating over obstacles and repelling down cliffs. All the while keeping your eyes peeled for any signs of fire (the job you were hired to do). You actually feel that you are doing the actions as the camera of the game seems to follow the eye movements of what you would be doing as you are undertaking these tasks. While you are carrying out these actions your only interaction (minus a few brief ones) with the “outside” world is your walkie-talkie and Delilah, who is in a watchtower next to yours.
Without giving too much away there is a mystery Henry has to solve which means that you have to explore the national park. There is no fighting or way to die (That I discovered) only your map and compass to help you navigate around. I did find it frustrating at times to be blocked by what appeared to be open space or “invisible” walls, which did break the flow of the game for me at times. Also I found that running in-between locations to be a bit tiresome, however you do have an amazing world to look around while you do so, which does alleviate those feelings somewhat.
The music of this game really complemented the story and I found myself getting goose-bumps with anticipation of what could be around the next bend. I must admit I am not the bravest of guys when it comes to playing certain video games and I did jump at one obvious part during the game which caused me to laugh at myself. You also get a camera during the game which you can capture any snaps that take your fancy. Again, without spoiling anything you get the chance to view these after the game and even ordering them to be printed and sent to you. I may be wrong but this is the first time I have experienced something like this in a game and I thought it was a nice touch.
As my friends can very well attest I am not the biggest fan of Telltale style games however the play-style of this game had me hooked. The seamless story seems to work so much better especially in the first person mode. You actually can’t help but feel like you are the character and I think this is why the ending of the game left me feeling like I wanted more. I was so invested in the story and although it wasn’t a bad ending, it just felt like it was missing something. Perhaps that was just me wanting to play it for longer … speaking of game length it took me around 4 hours to finish and I did collect and read just about everything I could find. Another note, they seem to have taken a page out of The Order:1886‘s book, with the inclusion of being able to inspect objects. The inclusion was a welcome addition and helped add detail to the story.
I am a big fan of this game and while it is priced currently at $19.99 US, I believe it is worth the money and encourage anyone to give this game a shot. Firewatch is available on PC and PS4 this review was completed on PC.