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    kkotter's Firewatch (PS4)

    [January 18, 2018 12:22:45 AM]
    I played a little over an hour tonight. There's still a lot I love about this game, but I'm starting to get frustrated as well. There is definitely a sense of a mystery being at play, and yet it doesn't seem to be headed anywhere. I think I'm at day 63 in the game, but nothing has really developed all that much regarding my ransacked watchtower (besides finding the teenager's wrecked campsite and discovering later that they are missing). I guess I just feel that the game isn't delivering on promises that it made -- or at least, it's not delivering on them as quickly as I would like. I kept expecting the quests that I went on to have some greater meaning or influence on the plot, but instead I just went on another quest to pick up supplies that had little to no meaning.

    My relationship with Delilah, though, is fascinating. I like Delilah -- who she is, how she talks, the way she treats my player character. I enjoy talking with her, and I always choose the nice, friendly dialogue option when talking to her. However, the last 15 minutes or so of gameplay I played turned from being nice and friendly to being flirtatious. I was fine with it for the first few seconds (I like Delilah, after all), until I suddenly remembered that I'm married. Then it all felt wrong, and it felt like I, as the player, had made wrong choices in making what I thought were the right choices. I felt like a bad person for cheating on my ill and disabled wife, if only in thought. Then I realized that none of this was real, but I still had those negative feelings, and the true ethical dilemma of the game started to become clearer to me.

    I also distinctly noticed the audio this time playing the game, which I hadn't noticed or paid attention to in earlier playthroughs. The use of music is very sparse, and only comes up during particularly big reveals or discoveries, such as when you're about to walk on to the teenagers' campsite. The music then stops, and the sudden lack of music becomes just as big of a statement as the music itself. It made everything seem eerie and intense, even though very little about the scene itself was that way.
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    [January 17, 2018 12:46:53 AM]
    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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    [January 16, 2018 12:58:09 AM]
    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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    Status

    kkotter's Firewatch (PS4)

    Current Status: Playing

    GameLog started on: Monday 15 January, 2018

    Opinion
    kkotter's opinion and rating for this game

    No comment, yet.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

    Related Links

    See kkotter's page

    See info on Firewatch

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