'Firewatch' Xbox One Review: A GOTY Candidate Gets Even Better

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Firewatch on Xbox One is even better with the addition of audio commentary and a free roam mode Campo Santo

Firewatch has been out on PC and PS4 since February, and has now made its way over to the Xbox One. Along the way, a few special features like audio commentary and a free roam mode have been added, making this phenomenal game even better.

In my original review of Firewatch, I praised the game for its excellent storytelling, ability to create tension and intrigue, and top-notch voice acting performances. All that carries over to the Xbox One version as well. I seriously cannot praise this game enough, so please read the original review for more thoughts on Firewatch itself.

As for technical performance, Firewatch feels like the pop-ins are a bit more noticeable on Xbox One compared to PC. This is a minor issue, but something that can occasionally throw you out of the experience.

The biggest changes with the Xbox One version of Firewatch are the addition of the developer commentaries and a free roam mode. The audio commentaries are ingeniously mixed into the game by mimicking an audio tour you’d see in a National Park. Players have the option to walk up to booths with cassette tapes to listen to a short comment from the Campo Santo team about what is going on at that moment, as well as find concept art and other design documents posted like notices on bulletin boards.

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The start of the Firewatch audio tour Photo: Campo Santo/Bob Fekete

These comments are very interesting, with developers talking about the processes used for wherever you are at the time. Often, these recordings even provide little secrets you may not have noticed the first time through. It should be noted that players should wait until a second playthrough to listen to the commentary, because there are a few story spoilers mentioned by the developers.

Additionally, there is a free roam mode. This unlocks once a player has completed the game once, allowing the player to go wherever they want in the level. It’s a fun addition to see some extra sights you may have missed without the pressures from any moment during the story.

If you already own Firewatch on PS4 or PC, don’t worry. These features will be getting added for you in a future update.

If you haven’t done so yet, you seriously need to play Firewatch. It’s a five-star game, and an experience I will remember for a long, long time. Now that there’s been a release on Xbox One, nobody has an excuse to miss out.

So what do you think? Are you interested in playing Firewatch now that it is on Xbox One? Will you be playing through a second time to hear the developer commentary? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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