Firewatch REVIEW

Getting lost is incredibly easy in Firewatch‘s intimate sliver of national forest. Instead of a mini-map or a bright flashing arrow, protagonist Henry gets a compass and a less-than-detailed paper map that he has to physically hold in front of him to even see where he is. It’s easy to meander the wrong way down the loosely defined paths through the game’s trees, rocks, and streams.

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Not that getting lost is such a chore in Firewatch. In fact, it’s a good way to stumble on some of the game’s best scenery. Every corner you turn around can reveal another stunning vista or spot full of natural beauty that will have you reaching for the screenshot. The environment really pops thanks to some stunning use of natural light, which fights through morning haze and late-afternoon sunsets to play beautifully off the ruddy brown rocks, brilliant green trees, and shining waters. The only distraction is some pop ins even on the PS4 PRO.

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Firewatch is at its best when it embraces the loneliness of its wilderness setting.  Playing as Henry, you’ll go multiple in-game days without seeing another soul up close, usually wandering without even a backing soundtrack to break through the quiet, refreshing stillness and natural beauty.

The good

  • Stunning scenery that makes great use of natural light
  • Excellent writing and vocal performances between the two main characters
  • The building tension as a mysterious conspiracy unfolds around you

The bad

  • Main story line doesn’t come to a very satisfying conclusion

The Ugly

  • Frequent animation stuttering & pop in on the PS4 version (even on the new PS4 PRO)

Verdict: Buy it if you want to take a relaxing trip to the great outdoors without ever leaving your home.

Article written by Torey.

I’m a long time passionate fan of games, not gaming drama.

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