Back when What Remains of Edith Finch launched in 2017, we awarded it an elusive perfect score, lauding it as one of the greatest walking simulators ever conceived. But that was five years ago. How does it feel to step foot within Giant Sparrow’s lovingly crafted world now? With delight, we can say that the return to the Finch home is a triumph. The story is every bit as uniquely and masterfully crafted as it was at launch.
As Edith Finch, you play as the last surviving member of your family, returning to your former home. Once inside, you collect a number of diaries, recounting the bizarre and fantastical ways in which each member of the family was slain. Is the family cursed? Is it just a string of rotten luck? The game doesn’t provide all the answers, nor does it need to. Everything is presented flawlessly: the voice work is fantastic, the soundtrack is great, and the writing remains unique, providing a delicate ballet of cosiness and charm on the precipice of tragedy. Even if you know that each story will eventually lead to tragedy, everything is relayed with such sincerity and warmth, you’ll not soon forget any of the moments you spend experiencing them.
It’s easy to recommend playing the game solely on the merits of its writing, but it excels in other areas, too. While at its core a walking simulator, the vignettes call for greater degrees of engagement than would traditionally expect from the genre, creating more lasting memories of the minute-to-minute gameplay. This is best demonstrated by the infamous cannery vignette, where you assume the role of Lewis in one of the most creative sequences of gameplay ingenuity ever put to the screen. And this sequence hasn’t lost an ounce of its lustre.
In fact, the game looks better than it ever has. One of the only flaws in the original title lay with its frame rate. While generally stable at 30 frames-per-second, the motion blur and movement system could make things more disorienting than was ideal. This is no longer the case, as the game now runs at 60 frames-per-second in native 4K resolution. The textures are pristine and the performance is silky smooth, making the house as ominously welcoming as it’s ever been, with one notable exception: there are a series of peepholes that you can interact with to peek into rooms, and the rendering on these looks notably worse than the rest of the title. It’s not exactly a large issue, but something to note at least.
The upgrade also makes use of the DualSense’s haptic feedback, allowing for some item interaction to feel much better than with the PS4 iteration. We were especially impressed by the implementation of trigger tension when using a viewfinder, as well as a flip-book you can find.
All in all, What Remains of Edith Finch is an incredible game, made just that much better thanks to the improvements afforded by the PS5. It is every bit the classic now that it was in 2017, and remains an absolute must-play.