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What Remains of Edith Finch review for Switch


Platform: Switch
Also On: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
Developer: Giant Sparrow
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: T

My question going into What Remains of Edith Finch on the Switch wasn’t whether I would like it, but whether I would still like it. After all, when I played it back in 2017 when it first came out on PS4, it was my personal game of the year. Given how deeply it resonated with me back then, I was curious to see whether it still lived up to what I remembered, or whether I’d built it up in my mind into something more than it was.

It did…but, at the same time, I think I experienced it much differently than I did when I first played it.

Don’t get me wrong, I still loved it. The stories of how each individual Finch family member die are heart-wrenching and terrible, but they’re told in such inventive, visually interesting ways that it’s hard not to get swept up in them, to the point you almost forget the horrors unfolding before you. Whether it’s a baby drowning in a bathtub, or a man losing his grip on reality as he retreats further and further into a world of his own making, or a young girl being brutally murdered, nothing here is sanitized, and no punches are pulled — yet, somehow, the lasting memories of those deaths are a hypnotic underwater ballet set to Tchaikovsky’s “Waltz of the Flowers”, a lush fantasy world, and a creepy Tales from the Crypt-style comic, respectively.

I think what was different for me this time was that I went into What Remains of Edith Finch knowing that it ends on the gut punch to end all gut punches. I won’t spoil exactly what the ending is here — though two years after the game first got released, it should be easy enough to find if you’re so inclined — but knowing it ends in more tragedy makes it difficult to accept any notes of optimism towards which the game occasionally nods.

And yet, even knowing it all ends so badly here, I couldn’t help but remain riveted throughout, entirely because everything that made this game so worthwhile for me in the first place remains virtually perfect here. The story, of course, is as fascinating as it was the first time I read it — which says a lot, since I seldom have the patience to go back and replay games I’ve already finished.

What Remains of Edith Finch looks as incredible as ever, too. There’s a slight issue with draw distances and pop-in, but the game shows big spaces so rarely, you won’t notice it too much. Rather, the game excels at creating places that seem lovingly crafted. Whether it’s that aforementioned fantasy world, which slowly balloons from a basic 2D maze into a fully-realized kingdom, or an underground bunker where nothing changes but the calendar, or a story told via flipbook animation, everything here feels alive.

The same, too, could be said of the characters. Everyone gets fleshed out, even if you know how their tales will ultimately end. This is a testament not just to the absorbing story, but the fantastic voice-acting, which makes everyone feel real.

It’s probably this realness that makes What Remains of Edith Finch so depressing — you really feel like you’re watching a movie or reading a book about a family tree whose branches get pared away, one by one, in heartbreakingly sad ways. It won’t leave you feeling remotely happy by the end, but, nonetheless, it’s a story that’s told perfectly. That was true of the game’s original release, and it’s just as true now that it’s out on the Switch. Buy it now, but be ready for a couple of tears.

Annapurna Interactive provided us with a What Remains of Edith Finch Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A+