It has been just over 24 hours since Firewatch, one of the most anticipated launches of 2016 so far, was released as a digital download on PS4. This first release from Campo Santo promised a beautiful setting combined with a fascinating story – does it deliver? Well, it’s a little early to answer that fully, but here are my first impressions…
As you may have seen by now, the game is absolutely stunning. Not in a hyper realistic way, but in a refined artistic way that makes it feel like you are walking through a painting (which verges on pop art styling in places). The colours and backgrounds are so vivid, and it really adds to the feel of the game, and is one of the main reasons that people have looked forward to playing this game.
The story is set in the Wyoming wilderness in 1989. You are Henry, an everyday type of guy with a backstory which leads you to taking one of the loneliest jobs available – being the lookout, and a glorified park ranger, at a national park.
Although you are alone in the game, you do have the delightful Delilah at the end of your two-way radio. Delilah is situated in another watchtower, and is buddied up with you as your supervisor. She becomes your go-to person for any questions, observations and chats, and in the short time that I have been playing this game, I can see how important she is becoming to the story, and how the dialogue builds really well between the two characters.
The first hour or so of the game is very task driven, go to x spot on your map to pick something up, go to y spot to check something else, which sounds a little dull but the scenery more than makes up for it. I have a slight gripe that the map is a little difficult to navigate, and you will be using a compass quite often (understatement), but I guess that is the nature of the environment. My other gripe is that good old Henry isn’t the fittest of chaps, so cannot climb over anything very high or reach anything – going from Uncharted to this was quite a shock, there were a number of ledges that I thought I would need to shimmy against but that just isn’t possible in Firewatch. In that sense the game is quite safe, and there is no danger (at least so far) of Henry falling down a ravine.
Framerate I’m afraid, it jitters and freezes for a few milliseconds on fairly regular occasions. It’s a shame but I’m sure that it can be patched, it’s not something that takes away too much from the game so please don’t let this put you off.
I also think that it’s a bit of a shame there is not more stuff to find in this vast environment. It would be great to find more items on your travels (as well as the bra that you find in the first few minutes). Maybe this will improve as the game progresses.
I am loving this game! The story is developing into a nice little mystery, I may have a crush on Delilah, and I feel that the game has some very JJ Abrams/Lost-esque features (this is a good thing as I was obsessed by that show).
For less than £15 you need to try this game out, download it, go on do it now, and enjoy. Don’t worry about the frame rate issues, they’ll be patched and they aren’t that much of an issue.
So far so good, I’m really enjoying the mysteries that are starting to unravel and I love the dialogue between the characters. A full review will follow soon once I have completed the game!