Developer & Publisher: Giant Sparrow/Anapura Interactive
Released: April 24, 2017
Requirements: OS: Windows Vista SP2 or higher, 64-bit
Processor: Minimum, Intel Core i3 2125 3.3 Ghtz or later
Memory: Minimum 2 GB RAM
Graphics: Minimum, Nvidia GeForce 750/AMD Radeon 7790 or above
Storage: 5 GB available space
What Remains of Edith Finch
Giant Sparrow / Annapurna Interactive
This is a poignant piece of interactive story-telling.
You play Edith, the last member of the Finch family, who returns to her rambling family home many years after having hastily left. Its been locked and empty for most of those years, and Edith seeks – if not answers then at least a better understanding – of why and the what of the deaths of her relatives across the decades. Young or old, the only constant is their death. Their tales will be revealed, room by room, as Edith explores.
Edith narrates as she goes, her words literally hanging in the air. The letters drape the environment, appearing and then dissolving or cascading away. Way more than merely subtitles, they add to the storybook feel of things.
The house resembles a family tree, reflective of the one that Edith completes in her journal as she goes. Each room was sealed after the death of the particular Finch, and once Edith finds a way in, the room becomes a window into their life. The bits and pieces tell you some things, certain items which you can interact with tell you a bit more. Its worth pausing and contemplating, before interacting with the item that will spirit Edith into the life that came before.
Each of the tales told by the room is different, in tone and what is required of you. Sorting that out is part of the appeal, so I leave that to you. Having said that, Edith might enter a comic, or become a shark, or fly a kite or disappear down a plughole. Most are straightforward, some a little less so, and you will have to ‘play’ with some. None are hard, but utilising the mouse and the keyboard simultaneously and working out what does what might cause a fleeting agitation or two.
Exploring the house is itself a bit of a treat. Tunnels link to passages or a hatch in a floor or a secret space; ladders lead to balconies or trees or the roof. It’s a visually appealing and richly detailed environment, adding to the attraction. Books abound, reflecting some of the themes and moods of the events, and certain features of the house add to the tapestry Edith is uncovering.
Not everything takes place inside, and the outdoors contribute their own elements. The two cemeteries stood out in that regard.
The game plays in the first person and uses the mouse and the keyboard. WASD moves Edith around and the mouse interacts with the environment. Hotspots are limited and obvious, appearing first as little white circles and then as an icon when close enough. This will usually be a hand, which means you will e.g., open or push or slide the item, or perhaps just crouch and enter the space. Sometimes you will have to mimic the action, other times simply click. You might also have to use the relevant WASD key to produce the action (e.g., climb up or down a ladder). It is again generally straightforward and intuitive but be prepared to try a few things at times (playing in the bath is probably the ‘highpoint’ in that regard).
There is no manual save, but the game saves regularly and will simply pick up from the last save before you exited. Tweak some settings to suit. The ambient sound and the musical accompaniment is top-notch, as is Edith’s narration. While you will have an item at certain times, there is no inventory management whatsoever. Three hours at most should see you through.
What Remains of Edith Finch surprised me. It was so much more than I was expecting, and while it remains a narrative piece of story-telling at heart, it tells it in ways that should make it appealing to most adventure game players. It could be bleak but isn’t, and is more uplifting than devastating. You might quibble with some bits, but I doubt you won’t be touched by your outing with Edith.
I played on:
OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit
Processor: Intel i7-9700K 3.7GHz
RAM: Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR4 32GB
Video card: AMD Radeon RX 580 8192MB