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Arts & Entertainment

Firewatch is an Innovative Adventure

fiewatch illustration

By Cassandra Maisonet, co-editor-in-chief

 

When finals ended last semester, I was feeling pretty burnt out. 

To relax, I went on Steam to look for indie games to play. 

I turned to several gaming websites to narrow down a couple of games, since there’s an overwhelming amount of indie games on Steam. 

“Firewatch” ended up being one of the games I chose to play. 

I vaguely remembered hearing about “Firewatch.” 

When it came to talking about the best indie games, “Firewatch” was usually mentioned. 

Many gaming websites and YouTubers highly acclaimed it. 

I went into the game blind, but I knew how highly respected this game was. 

The character you play is Henry. You can determine a bit of Henry’s personality when you are given dialogue options. 

Henry spends his summer at a one-person retreat in a forest with little communication with other people. 

Henry is only accompanied over the radio with his tower supervisor, Delilah. 

With the route I took, Henry and Delilah got along easily and opened up to each other about their past within the first few days. 

I thoroughly enjoyed their sarcastic interactions and longed continuously for them to meet at the game’s end. 

Admittedly, I found the game captivating within the first 20 minutes.  

 

As you continue playing the game, you notice how creepy and bizarre the atmosphere is during Henry’s retreat. 

You encounter uncivilized campers, misplaced items and eerie locations. 

What sets off this strange journey is the disappearance of two teens who were hostile towards Henry at the lake. It felt like the game was taking a mysterious direction. 

The game starts to feel like a supernatural aspect rooted in the mystery that Henry and Delilah hesitantly embark on. 

I enjoy playing supernatural games, so this was a plus. 

As you delve further into the game, Henry and Delilah become paranoid about the forest’s history. 

I was on the edge of my seat with how this story gets tenser with each clue that Henry finds. 

My mind started to wonder what could be out there for Henry to find. Mad scientists? Aliens? Vengeful spirits? I couldn’t wait to find out how this game would end. 

 

Furthering investigating the clues of the missing teens, Henry uncovers an unexpected answer to a minor mystery in a cave. 

I wasn’t aware of this being the climax and assumed it would continue with the truth that ties in all the secrets of the forest. It does, just not the way I wanted it to turn out. What Henry found at the cave is supposed to be for what it was. No supernatural element. Just an unfortunate incident which can happen to anyone one day. 

The game wraps up after Henry discovers more about what he found at the cave. 

You’d expect something more from Henry and Delilah, but the two are forced to be apart. 

The ending left me deprived of achieving all the desires that the game itself built for me. 

I thought to myself, “Did I really spend four hours of this game for this?” 

I was angry at all the positive reviews that this game was given. A game with such an empty ending? Who would enjoy a game that would betray you with its misleading intentions? I hated “Firewatch” after that. 

 

Then, it hit me one night that the empty ending was precisely the point. 

The ending was realistic. The ending wasn’t intended to be an outlandish conspiracy of brainwashing or the supernatural. 

You were led to believe in something beyond our familiar world when, in reality, the answer is quite simple. 

Just how sometimes you’d go down a rabbit hole of mysterious events and you end up with a realistic explanation as a result. 

Typically, I fall down this rabbit hole whenever I hear any incident that involves wild theories. I expected the same for “Firewatch.” 

I gave more thought to the game. I started to realize I shouldn’t have been so harsh on the ending. 

The “Firewatch” ending is unique because other games deliver grandeur conclusions to a game that builds up the way that “Firewatch” did. 

“Firewatch” was ultimately a firecracker that sparked, but burned out in the last second, which can be hit or miss for the players. 

Sometimes, we build our expectations and blame the faults on whatever didn’t work in our favor. I am guilty of this within the game and in my own life as well.  

I’m grateful that “Firewatch” gave me something new with its simplistic finale. 

It also made me question how I set expectations. 

“Firewatch” doesn’t have the best video game ending out there, but it’s undoubtedly an ending that makes you reflect on the experience the game puts you through. 

 

 

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