Exploring both the literal and figurative left behind when we die, ‘What Remains of Edith Finch’ is a self-guided tour of the history of the Finch family; one full of selectively hidden secrets and terrifically tall tales. Everyone has a family they might feel is a bit “out there,” but this game takes the concept into increasingly odd, eccentric, and even wondrous places. If we are anything like our protagonist, there might be a whole lot more to the life and death of our dearly departed than we’d be comfortable imagining.
Much like ‘Gone Home,’ ‘Finch’ is designed around interactive household objects and other setting-based elements that will allow you to uncover the stories contained therein. As you traverse the family’s old home, you’ll find your way into sealed bedrooms once inhabited by each member of the household. Some of the stories are easy to uncover while others will reward those that love to dig into every corner of their surroundings and solve a few puzzles. I appreciated that the narrative was delivered in a mostly linear fashion but did contain additional notes for me to see the less public sides of each family member.
Many reviewers have been quick to label ‘Finch’ as a successful “walking simulator,” but I’ve always hated the term for this genre as I feel it doesn’t really do the game justice. Particularly in this case, you will experience stories through the eyes of many different characters and I feel as though the narrative deserves a better monicker. You’ll get a lot more than a surface-level view into what shaped, inspired, and motivated each character.
The distant backgrounds are moody and full of vibrant atmosphere that impart strong, moment-to-moment feelings throughout each set-piece. Even more compelling are the levels of quality and inspiration clearly invested in these far-off vistas when you will generally be focused on the objects in your immediate vicinity. Unnecessary maybe, but they do serve as markers of a team that truly cared to support an engaging world.
At the end of the day, ‘Finch’ is a must-play for so-called “walking simulator” and “visual novel” enthusiasts alike, but I’d also recommend the game for anyone interested in a story that will stick with you for some time. It makes several choices that will leave you deeply invested and wanting more. It may not answer all of the questions it asks, but it imparts a sense of the fleeting nature of life that reminds us to take notice of what we are lucky enough to experience while we’re around. I give ‘What Remains of Edith Finch’ 5 eccentric epitaphs out of 5. Pick it up on PC or console.