Firewatch is an adventure game that was published by Campo Santo and Panic Studios; the developer being Campo Santo. I played this game on my PC. The game has several interesting aspects to it, ranging from the unique blocky style of design, to its interpersonal play. All of these unique traits work together to pull you in as a player, forcing you to live vicariously through the heart and head of the main character.
While on the surface, this game can be seen as simple, nothing more than your summers hottest crime thriller. Think about it, the game and your standard crime movie have just about the same plot: the main character simply sets out to do his job, plot develops, you are taken through the twists and turns of the movie, and then it ends. You then move on with your life, possibly recalling the film in a future conversation or two, but it just doesn’t play a large role in your life. Firewatch is nothing like that. You will not forget this video game, ever.
The game play is taken in the first person form, with interpersonal dialogue that you get to choose. You adventure through the forest, protecting them from wildfire. You are forced to hike through beautiful back country with almost parkour style obstacles. None of these controls are innovative alone. This is obviously not the first game to incorporate first person dialogue to help pull the gamer into the experience, look at halo, call of duty and the rest of your standard first person games. So what is it that makes Firewatch hit us in the feels? What aspect makes it different than the others in its ability to break our hearts? The answer lies in hope and curiosity.
We all love a big dose of hope, its so… fulfilling and meaningful. This game gives you that from the time you shut the door of your pickup truck to start your “hopefully” self fulfilling summer job. The hope of finding meaning in life is always there, and what are the odds that you find that person who offers you a sense of that meaning working in the middle of some forest? Seriously, lets think about the odds here, how many firewatchers are female in real life? If this game were realistic, your character probably would’ve only received directions from some old man who took the job to avoid the perpetual depression of country club life and golf. Curiosity plays such a large role in all of this hope though, you are curious to see the face of the cute chipper voice that greets you daily. Even until the end of the game, you live with the ghost of you hopes, being forced to push away the happiness you have found for its own safety. When you think about it, that almost what the universe does to your character at the beginning of the game.
Nevertheless, you are left with hope and anguish, feeling cursed to eternal loneliness by the end of the game. This is where the games value transfer into the real world, never letting you forget it. You see the games representation of the unexplainable aspects and overall unpredictability of life make you think about the “what if’s” in your world. Granting us the freedom of the consideration of who we are and what we have.
As far as the game goes, its a great game. 9/10. Would play again, and recommend to a friend.