Uhhh so I don’t really game. I have recently moved into a house with someone who does. They’ve asked me to review this game as they are under the impression that my lack of experience in the genre might offer a ‘fresh’ perspective. In the interests of friendly house relations, here are my thoughts on the hour I spent playing Firewatch. 

In this POV game I am Henry, and after some shit goes down that I won’t get into, I become the park ranger of the Shoshone National Forest; it’s a lonely job. I live in a studio flat suspended above the ground with windows on all sides; the effect of this is that I constantly feel exposed and very much a part of the landscape. My possessions are few and the wilderness vast, imposing and beautiful. I mostly interact with my boss Delilah, whom I communicate with via walkie-talkie. I get to choose from a selection of dialogue options, which means I either get to keep things profesh, maintain a friendly banter, or be the disagreeable bastard that deep down I know I am. She gives me a job to do and I go do it, navigating the forest and it’s mysteries. My adventures are punctuated by her reassuring, if harshly put, guidance. The world that has been built is stunning; things really have moved on since I was playing sims on a boxxy computer in the early 2000’s. Every leaf, tree and river is accounted for. I climb over rocks and abseil down cliffs, getting a kick out of the simulated physical exertion. Using the controller is pretty straightforward and doesn’t take too long to get the hang of. Will I play the game again? It was pretty fun, but honestly, gaming just isn’t my thing and that’s ok. I’m always down to crank up the mario kart bichh, but games like this that demand a level of long term engagement and commitment are perhaps more suited to some of the more contemplative beginner gamers out there. If you’re not someone who likes the idea of simulated guns shooting at you, then this might be your cup of soup. 

Each week we ask someone new to gaming to record their thoughts whilst playing. If you’d like to be involved contact us at concrete.gamingtech@uea.ac.uk. Happy Gaming!

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