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This Week in Video Game Blogging: Firewatch

This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Melissa King on last week's strikingly beautiful new indie title.

This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Melissa King on last week's strikingly beautiful new indie title.


The hot topic of the week tends to be the newest game that gets the good old neurons zapping, and this week is no different. Many critics examined Campo Santo’s Firewatch, which released on February 9th.

(Content warning: Since they deal with character development, these pieces reveal plot spoilers about Firewatch.)

So far, players are really digging Firewatch’s environments:

Katherine Cross explores the game’s ability to to make the same environment evoke different emotions, stating that “the same stand of trees can be sunny and inviting in one scene, and a milestone of terror in the next.”

ZAM’s review of Firewatch praises its naturalistic yet intuitive environmental design, and over at Eurogamer, Oli Welsh presents the game’s environment as a metaphor for nature itself.

Another aspect of the game that stands out to reviewers is its major characters, who make mistakes in spite of gaming's history of successful video game protagonists.

Emily Short contrasts Firewatch’s main character to that of interactive novella The Fire Tower. Olivia White at Polygon discusses the player’s restricted agency that develops the protagonist, Henry’s, flawed character.

Dante Douglas sums this facet of the game up like this:


“Firewatch is a game about people who fuck up. They don’t think. They make mistakes. They regret things, and for once in a game, I don’t find it hamfisted or awkwardly written. It’s very real. It hurts to watch. I recommend it wholeheartedly.”

Of course, there were many other indie games inspiring insightful critical conversations this week. Check out our full roundup at Critical Distance for articles on That Dragon Cancer, Undertale, Pony Island and more.

Critical Distance is community-supported. You can pitch in with PatreonRecurrency, or Paypal. Got suggestions about some pieces we should feature next week? Send them through Twitter or by email.

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