Winning the award for Best 3D Visual Experience at the Unity Awards 2016, Firewatch is something like a well-written book. It is an experience to lose yourself in with its tendency to let you escape to the summers in Wyoming, 1989. It has an extremely gripping story, matched with an excellent voice-acting performance and art direction. Its environment was modeled by Jane Ng, based on a single painting made by Olly Moss. It is something for you to ponder over once you complete it and set it aside, and has been one of the most memorable games for a lot of indie game fans.
Story: Henry is a flawed but good man. He is a fire lookout in the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming, a year after the Yellowstone fires of 1988. A month after he starts working there, mysterious events begin to occur around him and his supervisor, Delilah. She uses humor as a shield to protect herself, trying to keep her life as private as possible despite Henry’s shrewd insistence. She has something to say for almost everything, such that Henry (the player) calls her at every new occurrence. The strange events connect to a conspired mystery that happened a few years ago, and their investigation helps develop their relationship.
Play Style: You play as Henry in the first-person view, with the only person to communicate with being Delilah using a walkie-talkie. You choose from a variety of dialog options and explore the vast, bold red, yellow, and orange forest of Wyoming. There is a powerful ambiance to the game, and the atmosphere feels like an actual place. Even though there are no faces for either of the characters, they are acted to perfection such that you develop a sort of attachment to them. Moreover, there is more to do than mainstream walking simulators. You explore and investigate the surrounding areas, trying to find answers for the weird events that have been occurring. Exploring can be tedious at times because of the cumbersome references to the map, but the use of the accompanying compass fixes it.
Audience: Natural explorers and gamers who love to get lost in the explorative aspects of a game are sure to love this game. It is one of the most original walking simulators we have come across and if you a collection for that you ought to not skip Firewatch. Moreover, if you are skeptical about first-person view games and feel they are not your type, Firewatch is an excellent place to start and move on to games like The Witness.
Platforms: Firewatch is available on Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
Verdict: Even though your only mode of communication is a walkie-talkie, the relationship that develops between Henry and Delilah feels as real as it can get. This is attributed to the brilliant design and acting that goes into Firewatch. It is a game that feels no less than an adventurous movie because of its realistic issues and variety of emotions. The adult theme and dialog reflects the capability of games to tell engaging, exciting stories.