4. What Remains of Edith Finch
Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC
“What Remains of Edith Finch is, quite simply, a stunning experience. It takes Gone Home and turns it up to eleven. While it’ll undoubtedly end up being labelled as a ‘walking simulator’, it takes that genre and throws it on its head, giving us an experience so rich, so deep with emotion and meaning, that you’ll probably not quite know what to do with yourself when the credits roll. It’s a story like no other; both very grounded in reality, yet at times other-worldly beyond imagination. It’s touching and thought-provoking; daring to explore dark subject matters rarely delved into by video games. It may only take a few short hours to complete, but every moment is so packed with significance that it hardly matters. It’s rare such a game makes me want to play again, but the moment I put down What Remains of Edith Finch, I wanted to start it back up again, just in case there was any part of the narrative I’d overlooked; any remaining mystery I’d somehow missed along the way. Do yourself a favour and add it to your collection. You won’t regret it.”
Why is it on the list?
In retrospect, referring to What Remains of Edith Finch as a ‘walking simulator’ is a massive disservice to everything that the game is. It is a fairly passive experience, granted, with most of the game merely playing out to you as you wander from one room to the next. But the journey it takes you on far surpasses anything of a walking simulator. This is leagues away from the likes of Dear Esther, and even Gone Home, in terms of depth and storytelling.
It’s been eight months since I played the game for the first time, but I still often find myself thinking about wandering around that empty Finch household, mulling over what I found, and remembering the characters as if they were my own friends and family. It’s extremely rare for any game to have such a profound and lasting effect on me, and that reason alone is enough to warrant it as one of the best games of the year. — Kim