Firewatch game serves as pleasant surprise

Mace Mackiewicz, Staff Reporter

“Firewatch” is a videogame I came in knowing very little about. I had seen a couple of articles online talking about it and I knew it was loosely related to Wyoming in the 80s and forest fires. I went into the game with no expectations and surprisingly most of the game was good.

In “Firewatch” you play as a guy named Henry who is trying to escape from issues in his life by taking a job as a firewatch. Henry’s only interaction with another person in the game comes through his radio conversations with Delilah, another lookout for the summer.

The following part of the article contains slight spoilers.

At the very beginning of the game you find out Henry’s wife has extremely early onset of dementia and was taken back to Australia with her family. Henry not knowing how to deal with this sees an ad in the paper and joins the firewatch.

As for game play this game has been called a “walking simulator.” The main focus of the game is the story and there aren’t really any puzzles. The game has no combat and most of the solutions are just going from point A to point B.

There’s two frustrating parts of the gameplay. The first is the map system. The game takes place in the early 80s so the main character doesn’t have a GPS he can use to get to different places. You have to constantly bring up the map and compass to find your way.

For some people this is probably pretty cool, but I found it tedious and added padding to an already extremely short game.

The other issue with gameplay is how the game blocks pathways. This is one of the best looking games I have seen and at some points I just wanted to wonder around the map, the problem is the game blocks off most areas entirely or until the story deems that it’s ok for the player to progress through them.

The strong point of the game is definitely the voice actors which pretty much make or break the game. Since the game is entirely story driven, the story is carried by both of the voice leads and they do an extremely good job.

The story itself is very good for the first 2 hours. It was relaxing and a nice change of pace to experience being a firewatch instead of the usual soldier or warrior of most video games. There’s little bits on conflict here and there about people causing trouble in the forest.

The final act of the game; however, takes a turn and makes the player think that maybe the game is going into a more sci-fi direction. I don’t want to spoil anything but the game ends on one of the biggest anti-climaxes of all time.

Overall “ Firewatch” is a great relaxing game, the ending will ruin it for some people including me. But the first 2 hours of the 3 hour game were great. And I really want to see what else this studio puts out later so I don’t think 20 dollars was a waste.

Overall I would give the game a 7 out of 10. It was really interesting and different beginning but it gets dragged down by the ending, the map and the blocked paths.

Mace Mackiewicz can be reached at 581-2812 or mmmackiew[email protected]