GSY REVIEW | PC, PS4 Thursday, April 27, 2017 | 2:45 PM

We reviewed What Remains of

We reviewed What Remains of

What Remains of Edith Finch may be a new walking simulator, but it actually lives in a world of its own, making it quite unique in many respects. It's without a doubt a real piece of art, which is probably why it won't appeal to everone. As for us, we just loved every second of it, in its moving moments obviously, but also in its crazy ones, so we strongly recommend you stay away from any of the videos we have put up if you have the slight interest in the game.




Verdict


What mastery! While What Remains of Edith Finch could be pigeon-holed as a simple walking simulator, it showcases a mastery of framing and design that elevates the genre to an unusual new artistic level. Progression through the world crafted by Giant Sparrow is unique and isn't limited to walking a straight line while listening to a narrative, but to say anything more would be criminal. That's not to say the gameplay here offers a never-before-seen depth because, ultimately, the possibilities are limited compared to a more traditional game, but the sequences presented here are so unexpected and unique their mere evocation would spoil a great part of the experience. What Remains of Edith Finch therefore offers a rather nice journey through the one family's mysterious past. It's a short but constantly rewarding experience which ends just when it should. It's a game for those that appreciate a different, more touching side of games and a title that highlights the richness and diversity possible in today's video game industry.


On the plus side


+ Excellent atmosphere and storytelling
+ Artistic and crazy
+ Impressive framing of scenes
+ Ideas, ideas, ideas
+ Natural and intuitive controls
+ There is always something new to do
+ Great soundtrack and voice acting
+ Pretty and touching


On the downside


- Could use a bit more contrast
- Short
- Some are bound to say it's "just" another walking simulator

Gameplay #1 (PC)
Gameplay #2 (PC)
Gameplay #3 (PC)
Gameplay #4 (PC)
Gameplay #5 (PC)
Gameplay #6 (PC)

All comments

Commented on 2017-04-27 15:39:56
When you list short as a downside, do you mean its short as for the price or its short as it needed more content to flesh out the story? Because there is a big difference there
Commented on 2017-04-27 15:42:03 In reply to AndreasZ94
I mean it can be a problem to some. It wasn't for me and it wouldn't have even if I had paid for it. The +/- section is always as objective as possible. We try to at least.
Commented on 2017-04-27 17:04:37
Have you played it on ps4? If so, how's the performance?
Commented on 2017-04-27 17:10:31 In reply to Cryptkeeper
Posted by Cryptkeeper
Have you played it on ps4? If so, how's the performance?
On my PS4 pro, it drops below 30 fps at times with artifacts/glitches. Which is surprising as the graphics are just average at most.

It's not a walking simulator, but more an interactive storybook.
Commented on 2017-04-27 17:14:24 In reply to Cryptkeeper
Posted by Cryptkeeper
Have you played it on ps4? If so, how's the performance?
On base PS4 it's not very good, but I haven't seen it myself. That being said, guts_o still recommends the game on base PS4. PS4 Pro offers a better experience but it has frame pacing issues. I know that DF will put up a detailed article very soon.
Commented on 2017-04-27 17:58:56 In reply to Driftwood
Yep, i m playing on ps4 pro and framepacing is pretty bad unfortunately. Also no motion blur either i think which makes the game look juddery. Its still totally playable though,
Commented on 2017-04-27 18:19:45 In reply to AndreasZ94
Oh, is it only framepacing? I thought it dropped below 30 fps.
I think a patch could solve this. It should be able to run at 60fps on ps4 pro with those graphics.
Commented on 2017-04-27 18:24:43 In reply to droezelke
PREY doesn't run at 60 and it looks worse. :p
Commented on 2017-04-27 20:37:19 In reply to Driftwood
I guess they use flawed engines, or they don't know how to use them :-)
Commented on 2017-04-27 21:15:11 In reply to droezelke
Posted by droezelke
On my PS4 pro, it drops below 30 fps at times with artifacts/glitches. Which is surprising as the graphics are just average at most.

It's not a walking simulator, but more an interactive storybook.
Less than 30fps on PS4 Pro? Jeez what a disaster.
Commented on 2017-04-28 01:58:02
Just finished What Remains of Edith Finch a few minutes ago in one sitting - around 3-4 hours.

What a truly beautiful, masterful and touching piece of art!

I played it on PC with all settings on Ultra at 1080p@60fps and the game looks beautiful and some scenes are just gorgeous. No framepacing issues either, worked flawlessly.

Loved The Unfinished Swan's references as well.

Driftwood, for the first time ever, I completely disagree with every and all points in the "downside" section. It has the length that it needs to, no more and no less. It never outstays its welcome like so many games do by just adding padding content to make the game's length longer.

As for "contrast", it has the perfect palette color that matches te exact tone and mood of the story, and if you noticed, the rooms as well. Each room in the house is as much a character as the characters themselves. They feel alive and are full of identity.

And lastly, about the "walking simulator" part. All of - every single one - the people who say this are fucking idiots! Period.

I believe Giant Sparrow put it best at the End Credits:

"A Story by Giant Sparrow".

If it's a game, a pseudo game, a movie, an interactive movie, a hybrid or whatever else anyone want to call it, it doesn't matter in the slightest. It's an awesome and briliant work of art full of pure genius, creativity and sensibility about these characters and all their lives.

I frankly felt honored to be able to know these characters, their stories and their house. It's an "Essential", 10/10, 5 Stars story worth experiencing it. Everybody should play What Remains of Edith Finch.

PS. And the score is very beautiful and touching as well.
Commented on 2017-04-28 07:39:40 In reply to Sdarts
Posted by Driftwood
I mean it can be a problem to some. It wasn't for me and it wouldn't have even if I had paid for it. The +/- section is always as objective as possible. We try to at least.
It's not because you disagree others will too. Like I said, it's not about what I think, it's about what people might think. Also, my first playthrough without rushing took me 2 hours, which is objectively short and will bother some for the price. It's not a problem for me, I don't believe it should be longer, but some will, which should be taken into account. A lot of people just can't stand walking simulators, like Davton for example. As for the lack of contrast issue, well, on my OLED TV, blacks look a bit grey and I think it's a bit of a shame at times.
Commented on 2017-04-28 16:05:10
20€ 2 hours NO THANKS.
Commented on 2017-04-28 16:42:03
Thanks for the info guys!
Commented on 2017-04-28 19:39:19 In reply to Driftwood
Thanks for the reply.

The black levels were right for me, like in the tunnel or at night. I'm sure that in other games they're right, so assuming it isn't your TV, then it must be the PS4 version's fault. Because on the PC version everything was normal and the dark tone of the game blended perfectly with the darkness.

Now that I think about it, that dinner scene where it's almost all black other than the candles, the dark parts were really dark, pitch-black dark. So it's definitely a problem with the console version, your TV or the console or TV's settings - to be clear, I doubt it's your TV, so it most likely is the PS4 version.

As for what other people might think, this is "your" review. It needs to reflect "your" opinion on the game. Nothing more, nothing less. It shouldn't take into account what other people think. Leave that to the "user comments" section.

I know this might sound like I'm being a douche, but that's not my intention. Recently the Easy Allies' (formerly GameTrailers') staff had a very lengthy and well-thougout discussion about this very same subject: Reviewer's opinion vs. Users' opinions. To surmise it, the takeaway - which I wholly agree with - was that a review needs to represent the experience and thoughts of the person or team, if handled by multiple people, who reviewed the game and no one and/or nothing else.

If you stop to think about it, if you start to go down that road, "What people might think", it's a very slippery road since in order to maintain "consistency" you will need to apply it to every review you make from now on. So for example, imagine that when the next open world game gets released, like say Middle-earth: Shadow of War, you will have to take into account what other people think about not only the game, but about the genre as well. Ah, it's "another open-world" game, it's "another collect-a-ton" game, etc. The same with when Call of Duty: WW2 gets released, "another WW2" game, "another CoD game", etc.

I hope you see the meaning behind my words, it's not to criticize the review by itself, but to criticize issues I've had with the "downside" points. It's not a perfect game in the sense that it doesn't have any flaws, just to be clear. But 2 of those points in specific, look wrong to me.

Even so, like I've said, a review needs to reflect the experience and thoughts of the reviewer. If "you" thought the game "could use a bit more contrast" because the dark places looked grey, then I respect that because that's exactly what you experienced - which even if the PC version doesn't have this problem, it's not the version you played. This point is very clear now, I get it and I absolutely respect it.

But if "you" didn't feel and doesn't believe it was either "short" or "it's just another walking simulator", then it shouldn't be there just because of what other people might think.

I'm really sorry if this feels aggressive or hostile in any way, not my intention in the slightest, it's hard to criticize a review, basically the opinion of someone with a game or any other type of art form. But in this case I felt it was necessary. Still, a lot of times we human beings intend to say something, but it comes out the wrong way. So if that is the case here, I apologize in advance.

The game is truly great and like many people on NeoGAF or the game's Reddit have said, "it's unlike other games in the Adventure genre" and that they loved it while they didn't like other similar games they've played. To me, it elevates games' narrating, storytelling and how you blend these elements with gameplay to a whole other level.

It's like what Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons did, but much more modern, refined and elegantly executed. It's something that I hope more developers, not just indie ones, start being mindful of, how to make all of these elements feel natural and perfectly blended together, like you can't have one without the other.

I hope you replay it on PC if possible since the graphics, framerate and framepacing are much better. This is definitely one of the very rare cases in which playing on PC does give a much better experience.
Commented on 2017-04-28 21:36:25 In reply to Sdarts
I played the PC version, the videos wouldn't be at 60 fps if I hadn't. :)

As for the idea that my opinion should prevail in one of my reviews, that's not the way I see it. Whe I take into account the objective potential flaws of a game, I need to broaden that to a wider audience, because not everyone will feel the same and I certainly don't intend to fool them. People need to know what a game can be blamed for, and then decide if it's a game for them or not.
Commented on 2017-04-28 22:02:07 In reply to Driftwood
I didn't watch the videos because I didn't want to be spoiled before playing the game, and after playing it, there's no point to doing so. I assumed so because of your comments about PS4 and PS4 Pro. In this case, the problem is with your OS' colour settings, your GPU's drivers' settings, your TV settings, your in-game settings or something else on your end.

I would never say so, since I believe other games must be looking normaly since you probably would have fixed it if it was on your end, but I don't know what else could be. I've searched the Steam discusions' forums, Reddit threads and Google searched for specific or similar issues and nothing came up.

Not saying you didn't experience it, but as far as I can tell, you're the only person who had his issue. So unless your review code was different than the final game somehow, I'm all out of options as to why the game would look like that.

One thing you can try is to try watching some videos of the game on Youtube at 4K or High Bitrate quality settings of that dinner scene with candles or of the tunnel sequence to see if it looks like how it looked when you played it, then watch it on another device (PC monitor, smarthphone, another TV) and see if it looks the same as on your OLED TV.

Other than this, we need to see if other people have the same issue you had. I would take a screenshot of dark areas in the game, but have already uninstalled it.
Commented on 2017-04-29 23:32:46
Just finished it (on PC). A truly magnificent experience.

About the game


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