Frog Song

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  1. Firewatch Spoiler Thread | Henry Two Hats

    I loved the first and last thirds of this game, but they are missing a middle piece and the middle piece of this game is Not It. Mostly I have problems with Ned viz. the fact that he doesn't need to exist and that everything his does is contrived to make the game be a game. He distracts from the core of the story (the relationship between Henry and Delilah) with his incredibly convoluted plans to drive a wedge between H and D (why?) by faking a government conspiracy that's following the conversations of two random emotional wrecks (like, what?) so as to keep people away from the body of his son (which is 100% safe behind a locked door to which he has the only keys). His activities build tension but the payoff for it is nonexistent, and it sucks air and momentum from the emotional beats you're actually here for. I understand that the game needs a source of conflict between H and D, and it's through that that their relationship develops and ultimately fails as both of their statuses as actual human trainwrecks is revealed, but misleading the player into thinking the game is a different game than it is feels cheap. That said I love the relationship between H and D, and especially (as a citizen of the internet since a very young and hormonal age) the parallels with online crushes/relationships, which follow many of the same beats. Growing up in the MSN era of the internet and not being the most social teenager, I had my share of online crushes, and the pattern - intense attachment formed from mutual loneliness and the kind of chemistry you can only muster by being able to project your Best Self from a position of complete emotional safety - is 100% spot on here, even down to the slowly-emerging cracks in the facade. Delilah begins the game as this charismatic, endlessly entertaining presence - like Ned says, she's a record you don't gotta flip - and she's always at your disposal, which is a key part of the lonely mutual crush. Like an internet crush, though, the flaws dawn eventually, and it becomes clear that a) you're two human beings with problems that neither of you is equipped to deal with and the relationship you had is as ephemeral as the method of communication you're using. It was mostly well done, but the Ned fuckery puts it on the backburner for about an hour with no real payoff. It stops being the focus for roughly 1/3 of the game, which is baffling to me. The game does a really great job at representing that through gameplay, and (as someone who hikes) I really enjoyed the act of actually playing the game. Yeah, sure, you're just walking. But that's what hiking is - walking, and beauty, and solitude, and I think CS absolutely nailed it. The game is beautiful in the way that nature can be, and that's pretty high praise. Virtual hiking and the excitement of a beginning relationship fading into bittersweetness was absolutely the experience I'm taking away from this. It's just such a shame that a 3-hour game wastes so much time on a cheap bit of far-fetched misdirection.