This was a year rich in adventure games; however, I wasn’t able to enjoy some of the most anticipated titles of the genre due to various reasons. I did get to play two of the most highly acclaimed adventure games of this year and I was definitely impressed by their unique execution.
Hellblade’s narrative was a bold attempt to approach the difficult topic of mental illness and I think it managed to offer quite a troubling insight in this matter. However, while the gameplay did try to fit into the narrative’s theme, it ended up being quite repetitive and restricting the player’s action even when it wasn’t necessary.
The adventure that blew me away was a short, sweet and melodramatic narrative journey into the past of a very weird family. What remains of Edith Finch recounts the misfortunes of the Finch family throughout the last century up to the present time. The exposition is intriguing with fragments of voiced monologues tied together to slowly guide the players through a bizarre house leading the protagonist into a visual narrative presenting the last moments of each family member. Each story is different taking advantage of unique gameplay mechanics that serve as narrative tools to present fantastical yet compelling events. The narrative is wild, one moment you are shapeshifting into animals the next one you are on a vertigo inducing swing ride just to be part of a horror comic book a few minutes later. The stories are well written providing a fitting end based on each character’s personality traits. But out of all of them the one that connected with me the most was an interesting take on the boredom of an unfulfilling day to day job, something that I’ve experienced in the past.
In the two hours I needed to finish What Remains of Edith Finch I couldn’t detach myself from my chair. I was entranced; a captive of a nonsensical house holding the memories of characters whose fate I already knew but whose stories didn’t cease to amaze. Edith Finch’s storytelling is one for the ages, an example of immersive exposition through a perfect blend of gameplay and narrative elements. And no matter how much I think about it, I can’t find a better adventure game in 2017.