Firewatch is a game about a fire ranger – Henry – who is on a summer job in Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming. His job is to, well, look out for and report any fires in the forest. Throughout the game you communicate with just one person – Delilah – who is your supervisor, your friend, and perhaps a bit more.
The actual gameplay mostly involves you talking to Delilah over the radio. The game presents you options on screen to choose as a response to everything she says, and based on what you choose she reacts. She also gives you tasks to do and then you hike over to the point on the map and do them. The game is presented in first person perspective so never really see even your own character in the game.
The gameplay, though, is not really important here. It’s the writing and the dialogue that are the true stars of Firewatch. The dialogue between Henry and Delilah is extremely well written. It feels very real and it’s what really pulls you into the game.
As you play along, based on the choices you make, you will learn bit more about Henry and particularly Delilah and you slowly see their relationship grow. Henry can be as open or as reserved as you choose to be and based on that Delilah can also reciprocate accordingly. After a point something happens in the game, which I won’t spoil here, which shifts the dialogue from a light-hearted banter to a more serious (and mysterious) one but the writing remains exceptional.
I loved the voice acting too. Henry is voiced by Rich Sommer (Harry Crane from Mad Men) and Delilah by video game veteran Cissy Jones. Both lend amazing personalities to their characters, Delilah being the foul-mouthed, sarcastic, but generally chilled-out firewatch supervisor and Henry the more cautious and reserved newbie who’s trying to run away from his problems in life.
I wish I could talk more about the game but it’s difficult without spoiling. If you’re new to gaming, all you need to know is that Firewatch has delightful writing and characters that will hold your interest and the gameplay is very simple and straightforward and mostly consisting of exploration and walking. Oh, and it’s extremely beautiful, especially if you play it on high settings on the PC. At four hours long, it’s also quite short, so it won’t take up too much of your time. But it’s quite likely you would want to play it again after finishing, if nothing else then just to try out the other conversation options and see where it goes.
Firewatch is priced at ₹565 on Steam (PC/Mac/Linux) ₹1664 on the PS4.