Firewatch

 

Firewatch is a first-person adventure/story game in which you play as Henry, a forest fire lookout, and his day-to-day experiences of dealing with his personal life while talking with Delilah over a radio.

Please Note: As Firewatch is a rated M – for Mature game, we based our review on our older gaming family members and their experiences with the game.  Our Family Friendly Section of our review will go over why this is a great game for your older gamers.

General Gameplay

As Firewatch is a first-person game, you will be in first-person perspective of the main character throughout the game.  The game consists of mostly point and click style of gameplay as you use the tools that you find to help you get objectives done and to progress through the story.  Firewatch’s Game Visuals are outstanding, this is one great-looking game!  Everything from the background to in-game details to even objects in the game are very detailed and colorful.  Everything in the game is visually crystal clear, and there is no trouble distinguishing in-game objects.  As the game is very colorful there is no colorblind mode, however in our play testing we found no need for one.   During our play test, we did not encounter anything that would be offensive to any gamers; keep in mind that the game is rated M for mature so our testing was more curved for an older audience.  The in-game Audio is done well, well enough that we will talk about this both in this section as well as in our Family Friendly section as well.  The game’s background sounds are very clear and you’ll feel that you are actually in a national forest.  The in-game music is just beautiful and so very well done.  This is one of the many ways where the game really shines.  Firewatch is a game where the audio dialogue tells the story, and this also is done very well.  The spoken dialogue between the characters is very strong and you literally feel that you are an interactive character in a well-scripted movie.  Now as the game is M rated, the game does have a lot of strong language (we will go more into detail on our Family Friendly section) however we felt that the language was needed to better tell the story.  In our playthrough we did not hear anything (outside of the “swear words”) that would be offensive.  The game is in 5.1 surround sound and it sounds fantastic.  For those who want to hear more of the dialogue, we recommend playing the game with a headset (if playing alone), however please use caution for extended use of a gaming headset.  Controls are very easy to pick up and play Firewatch.  As you would expect in a story driven game, you use the left thumb stick to move, right thumb stick to look around, and other buttons are for inventory and actions for the game.  You have a compass and a map so that you don’t get lost in the forest, and you use your radio to communicate in the game with your other forest fire lookout.  As the game is an action/adventure, the game controller settings are perfect for Firewatch.  During our play testing we did not run into any issues with the controller setup and all of our family gaming members found the controller settings fine.  In our special needs game testing, feedback for the controller settings were also positive, and no one had any issues with picking up a controller and playing – even for those who aren’t avid gamers.  Firewatch doesn’t need any special type of controller, so using a standard controller is fine.  We were not able to test out the game on the PC, however, if how it played on the console is any indication, PC gamers should be fine with either a controller setup or keyboard and mouse.

 “Take great writing, voice acting and a mature storyline that is done well and you have this beautiful story that is Firewatch”

Family Friendly

As with any M rated titles that we review, it is all about what your perspective is on what you consider mature content for your family, and how you allow them to engage in such content is up to you – but I will say that from our review of Firewatch, this is a great game for mature gamers in your family and should not be missed!  Yes, lets address the elephant in the room and start off by saying that there is strong language in the game.  There are some “F bombs” dropped in the spoken dialogue but it’s not gratuitous; the profanity is simply what you’d hear in any conversation between grown-ups. Other than some basic profanity in the game’s conversation, there is nothing offensive about it.  If anything, we feel that it is a very heavily story-driven game that does a great job of taking the gamer on the journey, and that the language is needed to be more of an authentic story.  To give you an idea, the profanity is nothing worse than what you’d see on network TV after 10pm. If you can look past the strong language in the game, beneath it is a fantastic story/adventure that is neither too long nor too short, but just right for a game like this.   Controls are very user-friendly and easy to pick up and play; with our family gaming testing, no one from our teens to older gamers had any issues playing the game.  If anything, we noticed our older gamers had a blast as the game’s story had them hooked.  One thing that Firewatch showed us here was that this is also a great couples game to play.  The game has dialogue choices that you have to select to say throughout the game, which determines how your story unfolds! Firewatch is interactive in the truest sense.  It was fun seeing our gamers trying to think of the best choices to say and how it will affect the outcome of the game.  This made the game a very fun, enjoyable experience.  Again, for parents/guardians who may be concerned about the M rating of Firewatch, we will say this… other than the swear words in the game’s dialogue, there is nothing that would be offensive in the game to any older gamers in your family.  There is no violence, sexual situations or even extreme graphic content that would make the game unplayable or “inappropriate”.  However, I encourage you to either watch a video online of Firewatch or even download it to try it for yourself.

Closing

With a fantastic story, great voice acting, fun gameplay and easy controls, Firewatch is a game that must be experienced by all adventure and story-driven game fans!  Looking for something fun to do on date night or just a cozy evening at home?  You just found it!

Be sure to listen to our podcast about our real thoughts on Firewatch!

Also here our heavy spoiler thoughts on the game, BEWARE SPOILER ALERT, Listen to our podcast and play the game first before listening.

Good

  • Fantastic story mode that will suck you right in
  • Wonderful background music that complements the game
  • Great voice acting by the cast
  • Easy pick-up-and-play controls
  • The characters are well written and easily likable
  • A great game for date night or any family members who are not bothered by the curse words that occur very naturally in grown-up conversation

Bad

  • Some backtracking in the game (especially if you’re new to reading a map)
  • Other than the free exploration mode, there’s not much to do after you’ve completed a couple playthroughs to explore how different choices affect the possible storylines
9.5

Amazing

Primary game reviewer of Family Gamer Review. A loving father to two children, loving husband and avid gamer. As the primary game reviewer, my responsibilities are to make sure that the game titles that I review that I can provide the most unbiased reviews for parents and guardians out there for the game, subject matter and other items within the game. I provide the honest review for the game, not based on what the game is, but for how this would fit in for the library for the whole family to play.