In the ever expanding catalog of games I’ve had the chance to play, few ever come across as art without feeling artsy. It takes a special kind of blend to present game mechanics wrapped up in such a fashion that it plays more like a movie. Shadow of the Colossus has been at the top of that list for a long time. What Remains of Edith Finch is pretty darn close to that level.
Presented as an anthology of short gaming segments relating to the Finch family, and the possible curse that has caused all family members to pass away, you play the teen Edith looking for the root cause to all the story. The actual Finch house is something to behold, as it’s not presented as a set piece but feels like it’s an actual house. All the various bits and bobs look like they belong to someone, and were placed for a specific reason.
As you progress through each short story, you get to understand that individual person and a very stylized telling of their passing. There are some simple enough game mechanics to be had, but the point here is more about the interpretation of the story and how the game mechanics reflect the state of mind of the person in question.
Personally, when I finished most segments, I needed to take a breather in order to collect my thoughts. I needed to digest the person, the message, the medium, and how it all fit into the larger picture. I’d scour their room for some additional personal tidbits. I’d imagine how the rest of the family felt at the loss, and how it motivated them in their stories. The point here isn’t so much how they died (everyone dies eventually) but how their lives were beforehand, and the trickle effect unto others.
The game is only a couple hours to go through, and you will only get out of it what you want to. My wife took a stride through the game after I did, and you could see the wheels turning when it was all over. Highly recommended.