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    Jan 17th, 2018 at 00:46:53     -    Firewatch (PS4)

    I played for a little over 45 minutes today, and I'm starting to get the feeling that this is the exact type of game that I'm going to love. It has mystery, great dialogue, fantasy environmental storytelling, and beautiful art to boot. To top it all off, at one point I actually got lost in the game and wasn't sure what to do next. It's been an incredibly long time since I've had that experience in a game; nowadays, games lead you from one step to the next. That's not a bad thing, but it was nice to be able to just get lost for a while. For a game all about wandering the Wyoming wilderness, it felt natural and right to be lost.

    This game, from what I can tell so far, has two main points: establish a mystery that needs to be solved (who robbed my watchtower, and what mysterious something is going on with Delilah), and establish a relationship between myself and Delilah. The fact that the two intertwine is obviously no coincidence, and makes me invested in both of them even more because of that. The subtext that's happening that focuses on the main character's relationship with his ailing wife is also fascinating, and brings up a ton of moral quandaries: is it ethical for him to be separated from his wife at such a crucial moment, even if her new situation is a better living condition? Is confiding and trusting in another woman the wisest thing for him to do, as a married man? Does having the player play a character that's made morally questionable decisions off screen imply some type of acceptance and approval by that person as they play them?

    There are a few things that are frustrating me, however. The game has occasional obnoxiously long loading times, particularly for a game that's nowhere near as big or complex as similar titles. Also, the immersion of the map and compass is nice, but gets annoying quickly when you need to check them frequently to locate yourself and where you need to go. I'm not sure it would improve the game, but a minimap certainly would have made getting from place to place a lot easier.

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    Jan 16th, 2018 at 00:58:09     -    Firewatch (PS4)

    I just started this game today. I've heard a lot of contrasting opinions about Firewatch - some love it and call it a fantastic game; others will argue for hours about how it's not a game at all. The first 45 minutes that I played, however, I absolutely loved. It felt real and raw and immersive: a combination of great voice acting and phenomenal art direction gives the game an atmosphere unlike anything that I've played before. The warm, earthy colors and silhouetted shapes makes the entire game feel like a vintage National Parks postcard, which can't be a coincidence. The intro of the game as well as the first chunk of the actual game does a good job of bringing interesting choices into the gameplay itself. The introduction was heavily text-based, which I thought was a daring choice to make. By starting the game off with character introductions and dialogue options, though, it allowed the player (me) to feel like they owned the character. Simple choices, such as which dog I should adopt, let me feel in control and interact with the game itself. Harder and more complex choices, such as whether or not my wife should see a counselor, started to bring in interesting questions of ethics and morality into the narrative. What type of person should my character be? Should he be kind and caring for his wife, or try to ignore the bad and pretend that everything is fine? Should he insist on being her primary caregiver, or instead find a home for her that would perhaps give her better care? These choices not only provide a complex background for what could have been a one-dimensional character, they also force the player to examine their own choices. If the player chooses a less-than-ideal option, what does that say about the player themselves? What types of consequences will come in-game because of those choices, and what effect will that have on the player

    From the little gameplay I've experienced, no consequences have come from any of the choices that I've made (I only made it to the point where I discover that my watch tower has been raided). I hope that that changes, and that the choices that I make within the game actually have consequence in the world that they were made in.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Jan 16th, 2018 at 00:59:06.

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