New Direction, and Firewatch

New Direction

It’s been a while since I last posted on here; I’ve been trying to reorganise my life, get a job, start driving lessons…etc. Although I’m not entirely sure where I am right now in terms of my emotional state; where I want to be in, say, 2 years; where I stand with love and loneliness, or what I want to do with the limited talent I have in things I love (e.g. music and drawing)…I feel like there are many exciting possibilities and I just need to find time to figure them out one-by-one.

I’m not sure how this is going to turn out, but I’ve been toying with an idea in my head for a while now: I want to turn this into a review blog. I will review music, films and games. Although I am not a regular gamer, I think I should still be able to comment on it purely from the audience’s point of view, be this through actually playing a game or watching a gameplay. Similarly, just because I don’t study journalism, film, theatre/drama or literature, it doesn’t make me any less worthy of a critic than those who study these subjects, or review these things for a living. I will comment mainly on the visual aspects, how immersive or interactive I think the game is, what I thought about the plot and character dynamics, perhaps…and maybe more. What I’m trying to say is, not being an actual film critic or even a student reviewer, or not being a gamer, means that obviously I’m less exposed and less well-informed in how ‘clever’ the creations may have been, or why the creators made the story or game that way. A lot of game companies, song writers and directors do things a certain way because it is their ‘thing’, their niche. That’s completely fine, but how I write and critique things is also how I receive it, and I think as someone who is on the consumers’ end (in a way), or the audience’s end, my opinion on the aforementioned aspects (e.g. visual effects, plot and characters) is as valid as anyone else’s. I listen to music in a very similar way. Whilst I can and will happily call myself a musician, when I listen to music what concerns me the most is honestly how it sounds. If something sounds cool I’ll like it. Of course, there are genres I like more than others, but whilst I have the ear to pick up on and appreciate complex melodies and harmonies, sometimes ‘less is more’; it honestly depends on how everything comes together within a song. Anyway, I’ll get to the point – Firewatch.

Firewatch

So I watched Pewdiepie (which I’m sure many know already, but in case you don’t, is a YouTuber; his channel is one of the, if not the most subscribed channel on YouTube) play Firewatch today, and I had some thoughts about the game. First thing I have to say is that the game is gorgeous.The game is set in Shoshone National Forest in North America, and follows your protagonist Henry. It begins by giving you a brief backstory (quite a sad one, might I add) and leaves you to play as Henry. You kinda feel sorry for the guy but hey, you gotta play the game and solve the mysteries and stuff.You meet Delilah, your boss and colleague who’s stationed in another tower quite far up North from where your station is. She gives you different tasks and things to check out. Pretty soon weird things start happening. Now, I don’t want to spoil this game for anyone who hasn’t and is planning to play it so I’ll keep this brief. As you progress through the game you are walking around the woods looking for things and people, but because the map is pretty big, it’s easy to go down the wrong route sometimes. This is not so bad because the scenery is simply gorgeous,the game is pleasing both visually and aurally. As events unfold you realise that Delilah and Henry are pretty bad at firewatching, and that their actions resemble and reflect on both events related to the site and those related to their own stories. I think the only other thing I want to say is that I was a bit disappointed by the ending. It is true that often imperfect, or even sad, endings can add to the game, or sometimes it’s simply ‘what makes sense’. However, I just felt that it was anticlimatic. In the middle of the game when you (Henry) were given the choices to flirt with Delilah I thought it was pretty cringy, but in the end it just felt like they dealt with quite abruptly. Anyway, I hope I didn’t give too much away…The link to the Pewdie’s gameplay is below, as are two of the reviews I found and have read online before writing this. I do agree with some of the things being said and obviously these people are more experienced and well-informed than me, so you may find it a better review, but hey, this is just my opinion.

Oh one last thing, some of the previous posts will shortly be taken down and removed for personal reasons. Thanks for the support if you enjoyed and liked those previous posts; comments are always welcome too if you disagree with me on something or are interested in discussing some of the issues I have raised in the past.

http://www.polygon.com/2016/2/12/10966494/firewatch-agency-campo-santo

http://gamasutra.com/blogs/EmilyShort/20160218/265846/Reading_the_end_of_Firewatch.php

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