So what is actually Firewatch all about? It reminds me of the wildfires in California in 2018, which were particularly devastating to many local ecological systems and the broader environment as a whole. One thing that was unquestionable throughout the struggle against these blazing infernos was the heroism and dedication of the emergency response staff sent to deal with them in the first place.
But have you ever wondered how these fires get spotted in the first place?
Sure, some of them are revealed via helicopter or aerial footage, but occasionally they are discovered by what is called a “fire lookout.”
That’s the role you take on in Campo Santo’s 2016 title Firewatch.
You can download the game (and its soundtrack separately) by visiting Steam. To start your adventure, click on the Download button located below this review. And if you like adventure games in which you have to solve a mystery, you should also check out Life is Strange or The Council.
A single-player adventure game released by publisher Panic for all the major home consoles and PC formats, Firewatch is set in 1989 in the US state of Wyoming where, as Henry, you take a post in a firewatch tower and protect Shoshone National Forest from wildfires by being on the lookout for them.
The game involves a lot of exploration and emergent discovery elements. After Henry’s tower is searched while he is away, the fire lookout is then trailed by a shadowy presence watching him from the forest.
Though not necessarily scary, this mechanic is creepy. And, when you consider that Henry’s only means of communicating with the outside world is a walkie talkie, it helps to ratchet up the feeling of dread and claustrophobia that grows as the game passes.
Henry can phone in through his walkie talkie to his supervisor Delilah but, even here, player choice takes a central role in how the game unfolds. You can choose to share information with her or withhold it from her. Whatever option you choose directly impacts your relationship with her.
A day/night cycle helps regulate the game and keep everything on a schedule somewhat. Similar to the point-and-click adventures of the past, Firewatch lets you keep items you discover in your inventory for later use.
These items will be useful in puzzle solving and in overcoming environmental obstacles.
The narrative becomes more important as time goes on in the game and ends up becoming one of its defining features. Well crafted and told with a flair for storytelling that makes indie games stand out when compared to triple-A titles, Firewatch does a great job of maintaining its believability throughout.
Graphics and music are in sync with the artist’s vision for the game and rarely offer up a reason for complaint. One thing that could be said about the graphics is that the palette can be jarring with its melange of violent reds and oranges but, overall, the aesthetic is appropriate and fitting for the game.
Perfect for fans of classic PC point-and-click adventure games, Firewatch is a throwback in many ways and a great title to have in your library.
- Gripping story that is well told and expertly crafted
- Gameplay mechanics that make sense within the world’s logic
- Enough hints of dread, mystery, and excitement to make for an amazing title
- Graphics are unpleasantly jarring in their color palette at times
- Can seem slow-moving or opaque at times
- Choice isn’t always apparent