The only words that come to mind when describing this particular story/game…is ‘pleasantly disturbing’.
I can’t say that I’ve ever had an experience like the one I had with this offering from the developers at Giant Sparrow and Annapurna Interactive. Seriously…like…wow.
“What Remains Of Edith Finch” is a complex combination of an expertly written story and a video game. It surrounds the gothic tale of a family that is believed to be forever cursed, leading to a series of great tragedies, hardships, murders, and suicides, that have plagued the family for generations…despite their desperation to escape the horrors of their supposed fate. And yet, even though this story is extremely dark when you really stop and think about what’s going on here…it’s told in this really beautiful way. A hypnotic fantasy that refuses to let you go once you immerse yourself in the narrative.
Like I said…wow.
This game is more like an interactive collection of stories. You play the role of a 17 year old girl who has inherited the family estate, and you use your controller to walk through the old house…the story unfolding gradually as you move forward. It actually makes you a part of the story, with the text and spoken words leading from one dark tale to another. With you…an old book with the Finch family tree laid out before you…filling out as you add members to the branches as you go from room to room, learning about your relatives, and the many ways that the horrific curse took a hold of them, one by one.
But, through the entirety of the stories, some of them with ambiguous endings, and some that are downright shocking, the big question remains…
…Is the family curse inspiring these stories? Or are the stories perpetrating the family curse? Is it possible that all of these awful things happened because of the belief that the curse was real? Or vice versa?
Honestly, this is SUCH an amazing story and game! Often taking you into the elaborate fantasies of the relatives’ tragic last moments. Fantasies that are, quite frankly, quite beautiful and even uplifting in their presentation. Delusions that really grab you and make you feel for this family as if they were real people. From deadly accidents, to the abandonment of reality, to the final dreamlike fantasies of an infant being left alone in a bathtub…you will be captivated by the story of this bloodline and intrigued by th question of whether this curse exists or not.
Once I started, I couldn’t put it down. I had to go all the way to the end. And even afterwards I can’t stop thinking about it. There’s a story that takes place in a fish cannery that is just downright HAUNTING!!!
Anyway, I thought this was an amazing triumph, both in gaming and in storytelling, so I thought I’d share! That’s kind of what I do here. Hehehe!
Check out the trailers below. The text pops up on the screen as you go along, and even the words move and scatter and become a part of the story by having a personality all their own. And it’s fun to just be able to walk your way through a storybook world like this. I think you’ll be deeply affected by it as a whole.
I certainly was…