Out in the wilderness with only a walkie-talkie in your hand and a rucksack on your back, Firewatch follows the journey of Henry as he becomes a park ranger over the summer. Firewatch is a beautifully crafted game by developers Campo Santo and it follows the story of Henry, who after a hectic life decides to work as a fire lookout in the Wyoming wilderness. Under the guidance of your only companion, Delilah, you must now deal with the new challenges and adventures that lie ahead. With your only point of contact miles away in the next nearest lookout post, will the choices you make over your walkie-talkie destroy or allow your relationship flourish?
The game plays out across several months during the Wyoming summer. Henry, alongside Delilah, is tasked with watching the horizon for signs of fire. These summer months are split – you don’t play from day one to day x. The game jumps to various dates, crafting a powerful story for those days skipped. The first and second day are filled with moments for Henry and Delilah to get to know one another, days in between are used to chase down some drunken teens causing havoc, a mysterious stalker and the story of a previous park ranger, with the story culminating on the final evacuation day. Despite never encountering another human face-to-face, Campo Santo has done a fantastic job of crafting a story filled to the brim with tension and unease, with a little light-heartedness thrown in for good measure.
The first thing you will notice are the intense and radiant colours which are present throughout Firewatch. The art style is both delightful and charming – with scenes ranging from morning to dusk capturing what it would be like out in the wilderness. The overall premise of the game is unique and nothing like you’ve experienced before. An adventure with a dash of decision making with a dollop of human emotion from across the scale. The voice acting here is captivating, the story wouldn’t have been half as powerful if not for the talents of Rich Sommer and Cissy Jones. The connection between the pair is what makes Firewatch so interesting – any less and the game would have turned out much like many other ‘walking simulators’ before them.
Firewatch is certainly a game which you should experience sooner rather than later. A tale of human interaction, emotion and peril all wrapped into a small indie bundle of pure gaming delight.