Sitting in the midst of the forest for weeks on end, reading books and keeping an eye out for fires, may be a fascinating way to get away from civilisation and catch your breath. It may also become a little monotonous. Firewatch provides you a sense of what life is like. Even if the narrative isn’t refined enough, it’s a fascinating production.
The trip begins lightheartedly, while dealing with serious challenges. The writers introduce us to numerous decades of the main character’s life in short, simple phrases, mingling events from his past with bits of the first moments in the vast forest to which Henry fled after an unhappy occurrence. The game’s assumptions are fairly straightforward we play the part of an observer who maintains watch in his high tower and carefully checks for signals of a potential fire hazard. We see the action from a first-person perspective, and while the game instructs us to climb, leap, and slide down a rope, the arcade aspect is completely automated, leaving no room for error. Exploration, admiring nature, and enjoying your own vacant part of the globe comprise a large portion of the gameplay. Already, the first steps among the woods give you a sense of the setting we’ll be in. Silence, calm, and breathtaking vistas make it simple to unwind and appreciate every stone or plant you come across. Firewatch is beautiful both at night, with the starry sky and a somewhat too large moon, and during the day, as we walk over the hills and valleys.
The hero’s primary tool is a walkie-talkie, which serves as the only means of communication with the outside world, as represented by Delilah, our employer and neighbor from the second observation tower. She, an inquisitive, amusing, and slightly bitter woman living someplace on the horizon, controls the tempo of the entire novel, is the plot’s driving force, and an incredible character with whom we progressively form a stronger link. The game revolves around Henry and Delilah’s romance. Although it may appear at first that the walkie-talkie will just be used to gain more chores, when we hear the first, ice-breaking question about the hero’s personal life, we know that it is the interchange of views and opinions with our neighbor that will encourage us to play the game. It’s not simply what the individuals talk about Henry can report on the radio about many of the items he sees but also how these conversations take place. Rich Sommer and Cissy Jones’s top-notch acting and well-written language make us want to report anything that comes into view only to hear or tell another joke, fling an insult, or taunt. Although the characters speak automatically at times, the player has a lot of control over the flow of the conversation, and the dynamics of our connection with Delilah are heavily influenced by what we say and when we say it. We come to know the characters quite well over the course of four hours of play, with the impression that they behave and speak like genuine, live beings.
In comparison to this flawlessly designed part, the story itself is significantly inferior. It begins pretty intriguingly – once we’ve settled inside the tower and become acquainted with the surroundings, the game presents various unexplained happenings that cause the atmosphere to thicken with each passing minute. Henry spends weeks in the wilderness, and while his discussions with Delilah never cease, the thought that if something horrible occurs, we’ll be on our own is nearly overpowering at moments. The masterfully constructed tension keeps us wondering for four hours what will happen next and what link all occurrences have with our hero’s prior life. Unfortunately, once we get answers, the game begins to unravel before our eyes. When we approach the finish of the tour, the well-designed ambience vanishes with a boom, making the adventure fairly unpleasant.
Despite the disappointing finale, Firewatch is undeniably a title worth considering, if not an exceptional game. Henry and Delilah’s smart, well-executed aesthetic, magnificent views, and engaging talks are all worth witnessing in person.