Developer: Campo Santo
What I Think: Firewatch is a game in the same vein as indie darlings Gone Home, Dear Esther, and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, where the game tries to balance the plates of gameplay, graphics, etc. on the unicycle of a strong story. In some cases, the wheel has fallen off and the whole thing has come crashing down in a messy heap, but Firewatch manages to keep its balance with a very strong story wheel indeed. You are a 30-something-year-old man who has gone out into the Oregon wilderness for the summer to get away from his problems, acting as a lookout for forest fires. You form a friendship with the head lookout, Delilah, and the story soon unravels into a thread of paranoia, lies, and whiskey. The story is incredible, but the ending is slightly anticlimactic. Symbolism flies about like a swarm of midges, but it’s not so blatant or pretentious that it becomes a problem.
Would I Recommend It?: Yes…but with a massive caveat. The game is currently £15 (about $20), an exorbitant fee that most indie developers would go white at. In comparison to similar games on Steam, Dear Esther retails at £7 ($12-ish), The Park at £10 ($15-ish) and Homesick at £11. In fact,the game is only 3 hours long. 3 hours! Papers Please gave me more time and cost half the price of Firewatch! So buy Firewatch if you want to burn £15, or if it’s on sale at less than £10. It’s a great story, but it’s a classic case of game prices flying too close to the sun.
Words by Gabriel Rutherford