My brother said he’d die before he ate another mushroom. And he did.
– Sam Finch
It’s the second episode for my first playthrough of What Remains of Edith Finch! We barrel through the section just before the game bugged out, reach some really tear-jerking memories of young Finches, and finish up with a (likely fabricated, but creepy) story about how Barbara Finch died.
In an effort to keep this post absolutely SPOILER-FREE, comments have been disabled. Thank you for your understanding.
UPDATE (May 1st, 2020): Today, news broke that the game footage and plot leaks were not committed by any Naughty Dog or Sony Entertainment Interactive employees. As a result, please disregard the original post’s commentary on that fictional employee’s potential motives. Regardless of the most recent development, I believe certain aspects of the post remain relevant. Leaks such as this are harmful to everyone involved in the production of a game. No one should claim that this was deserved or in some way a statement against Naughty Dog’s development practices. For people who have worked years to bring this experience to life, having it prematurely and unceremoniously spoiled is nothing short of tragic.
What Remains of Edith Finch is a narrative-based game (colloquially, a walking simulator) where you play as the titular Edith Finch, revisiting her family home years after a mysterious and dramatic final evening with her mother and brother. The house now sits abandoned, but it previously belonged to a long line of Finches before them. Now the owner of the Finch house, Edith has resolved to explore its every corner and discover secrets that have been hidden away her entire life.
Watch my first playthrough of What Remains of Edith Finch, where I begin exploring a pretty neat house, learn a bit about the family who lived there, and ultimately run into some technical difficulty trying to eat a drunken sailor.
While we’re all grappling with life amidst a pandemic, many gamers are going on lengthy adventures, finding how island life treats them, or just revisiting a favorite. But while we’re all currently sinking our teeth into meatier titles (Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin is my personal drug at the moment – I really can’t fathom why), there’s something to be said about making time for more bite-sized experiences. Enter: Ben Esposito’s Donut County.
SPOILER WARNING: There are spoilers for Magia Record anime series through Episode 5, as well as the Madoka Magica series. However, plot points explored by the Magia Record mobile game that have not yet been reached by the anime will not be spoiled here.
If you’re a fan of the original Madoka Magica, then you’ve likely been waiting for Magia Record to take a darker turn at least since Episode 3, if not sooner. While it certainly can’t (and was never going to) live up to the shocking turning point of the original series, Magia Record Episode 5 made some startling twists and depicted them in some unsettling scenes. Along with the coalescence of the show’s plotlines and a significant amount of action, it turned out to be one of the better episodes for character development so far this season.
But listen carefully to the sound of your loneliness, like a heartbeat,
Drives you mad in the stillness of remembering what you had
And what you lost…
– Stevie Nicks, Rumours
SPOILER WARNING: There are spoilers for Magia Record anime series through Episode 4, as well as the Madoka Magica series. However, plot points explored by the Magia Record mobile game that have not yet been reached by the anime will not be spoiled here.
Episodes 2 and 3 of Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story heavily featured new characters and their plight. Those earlier episodes were intent on introducing Rumors: Witches that only appear when certain circumstances are met. This has meant that Iroha’s quest to find Ui, as established by the first episode, has largely been sidelined. However, now that we have a burgeoning cast and a stronger understanding of how Kamihama differs from Madoka Magica‘s Mitakihara, we can start piecing together how Ui’s disappearance and these Rumors might be related.
Micolash, Host of the Single Installment Nightmare
Much to the chagrin of many PC gamers, Bloodborne, FromSoftware’s 2015 dive into madness and eldritch horror, has been exclusively hunting the bloody streets of the PlayStation 4 for five years. But with the recent news that PS4 exclusive Horizon: Zero Dawn may soon be releasing on Steam and Epic Games Store, the promise of dawn may not be far off for PC kin. If that’s the case, then it may be one more sign that Sony has grander plans for the future of this franchise.
“If you remain weak and don’t change, you’ll continue to sacrifice someone for your own goals.”
The original anime established that a lot hinges on the third episode of a Madoka Magica series. The common recommendation from evangelizing fans is that anyone giving the series a try ought to hang in there until Episode 3 to get a true feel for the show’s tone. Magia Record has opted to buck that precedent. While some maybe expected heads to roll in Episode 3 of Magia Record, it continues to offer promise for those who are still skeptical about it carrying the Madoka Magica torch. But as a result, newcomers may be confused as to why the property has such a dark reputation.
An episode with highs and lows, but very little Yachiyo.
The first episode of Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story was a solid reintroduction to this magical girl universe and a deep dive into protagonist Iroha Tamaki’s subconscious, exploring her profound loneliness and longing for a person not there. Where Episode 1’s clever and subtle storytelling informed us of our main character in ways she may not have been able to express herself, the second episode opted to be less personal and more focused on side-tracking the main conflict with new characters and their accompanying drama, but not without dropping a few breadcrumbs for careful viewers.
Currently in competition with the Kingdom Hearts series for longest, most convoluted installment title.
You may be familiar with the 2011 anime series, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, in which teenage girls are convinced to essentially sell their lives into magical girl servitude in exchange for a single wish granted by an extraplanetary cat-like creature named Kyubey. In case you haven’t (please, please go watch it) and this brief synopsis wasn’t sufficient, the first episode of Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story makes sure to jam that entire setup into its first three minutes. And so begins another spiral into despair.