Before I start this review, I must acknowledge that I am a little late to the party. Fire Watch was originally released on the 9th February 2016 and here I am on the 18th January 2018. The (almost) two-year gap between this review and the game’s release probably means that many potential customers have already bought it.
Either way, Fire Watch is a great game. The secret to Fire Watch’s success is easily it’s fabulous writing and the conversations between the two leads, Henry and Delilah, are truly fascinating and hilarious to listen to. However you never actually meet Delilah in person, all of Henry’s conversations with her are all via a radio that is with you at all times. You control Henry who is assigned to the job of lookout in Two Forks lookout tower of Shoshone National Park. The setting is beautiful and wandering around the Park is a delight, the varied colour palette is stunning and makes the forest stand out. I can imagine that many will link Fire Watch with the likes of Gone Home or What Remains of Edith Finch, whilst FireWatch has similarities it is an entirely different beast. Gone Home shows what has happened whilst Fire Watch displays what is happening now.
Video killed the Radio Star
So what is happening in Fire Watch? Well, at the start of the game everything seems normal. Henry and Delilah chat about various things but most of the conversations end up on the topic of sex and the two characters past love-life. The plot takes a turn however as Henry discovers that someone is listening in on his conversations with Delilah For me, it was a perfect twist but sadly doesn’t get the ending it deserves and some major plot point questions are left unanswered before the final credits. It’s a real shame as with just more thought the ending could have been worth the build-up and even added to the games complete length which I found to be too short.
It’s a great however each and every conversation is beautifully written and perfectly voice-acted. A lot of money was spent on the writing and voice-acting in Fire Watch’s development time and that gives it a massive advantage over its competitors. Apparently, the voice-actors of Henry and Delilah did not meet and their lines were recorded in separate rooms, only being able to hear each other through headphones. This is a genius idea because when Henry and Delilah first meet, so do the two voice-actors. This makes it feel more realistic and it makes the game stand-out.
During my play-through of Fire Watch, I noticed some technical issues. For example, sometimes the game’s framerate would drop quite and I experienced one issue of Pop-in around Cottonwood Creek, fortunately, this was all quite infrequent.
To conclude, Fire Watch is a must-buy for fans of great writing and interesting characters but is let down by its anticlimactic ending and unanswered plot points. Listening to Henry and Delilah is a treat and is easily the feature that made some pick it as one of the best games of 2016.
Great game with fantastic characters, brilliant script and colourful setting but held back by its anti-climatic ending.
- Great characters and script
- immersive, colourful world
- disappointing ending
- Some technical problems