I really wish I liked Firewatch more. As a concept I like these walking-simulator games, they play to what I sometimes want out of video games. Atmosphere, story, deep-insights into the human condition. It’s that last part that I loved the most about last year’s Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture and once again it’s the strongest part of these types of games.
With Firewatch the group at Campo Santo shot for the kind of personal story that we see so rarely in bigger budget video games (although it’s becoming a more frequent refrain for these mid-low budget titles) these days. Unfortunately, in so many ways they have fallen short of the lofty goals they set. I can’t find myself recommending that everyone has to play Firewatch, it’s just not that kind of game, but there is something there for fans of similar games–Gone Home, the aforementioned Rapture and Dear Esther to name a few.
The setting is amazing and the early game sections set up a serious sense of dread. I spent the majority of the middle of the game looking behind me occasionally. The level of investment you have in the characters well being is due to a combination of grounding your character in the world, you see your arms and legs interact with the world,Â and some phenomenal voice acting from Rich Sommer and Cissy Jones. So much of my reservations with the story and gameplay are countered by my appreciation for those two stellar performances.