Life is Strange- Dontnod Entertainment
Nickname: “How I learned to stop worrying and love the cyclone”
The event that ties the whole game together is a massive cyclone, threatening to destroy Arcadia Bay.
Life is Strange is one of those games that was always on my radar because of its concept, but something I never ended up getting because of better options being available to me. So when it became free on PSN I finally had a good enough reason to pick it up. What followed was an interested and thought provoking experience that I will remember.
The game starts with you being introduced to Max, your typical art student filled with social anxiety and a desire to make it big, but the lack of self-confidence to actually go through with it. From that point on we see him re-united with a childhood friend Chloe, and his discovery that she has the ability to manipulate time. This will spiral our characters into the events of a murder mystery that causes Max to create ripples across multiple timelines, but will the consequences be?
Max Caufield: A high school senior at who has been accepted to attend school at Blackwell Academy, a high brow private school which allows those who are academically inclined and the forgotten children of wealthy families attend. She was accepted into the school because of her talent with photography, but is too shy to utilize her talent to gain favor of her photography teacher. She later finds out that she has the ability to rewind time after saving a childhood friend from death. From there on out it is an adventure that she fully does not understand what the outcome will be.
Chloe Price: Chloe and Max are childhood friends, but had drifted away after Max had moved to Seattle a few years prior to the game starting. During this time Chloe has a flame with a girl named Rachel Amber, and weeks before they are to escape from their small town lives and make it big in the city, Rachel Amber goes missing. These events take place days before the game begins. But through those tragic events, Max and Chloe are reunited in an unorthodox way, but none the less, reunited.
If you have ever played a Telltale game before, you know what you are in for. If not then; you go through the game in a 3rd person perspective on Max, making choices that will sometimes have an effect on the story later on. Sometimes you will have to make a choice that can immediately effect the story, these kind of decisions are rare but will impact your whole experience.
Storytelling– Life is Strange had me guessing at what could’ve happened to Rachel Amber the whole time. Throughout its 5 episodes it drip feeds you info about what could’ve happened to her, but not enough to outright tell you.
Emotion– By the end of the game you will have gone on an emotional journey, which does not pull its punches.
Ending (No Spoilers)– This is also one of the few games that I thought had a good ending, no cliffhangers, just a concrete ending that wraps the whole story up with a nice and neat bow on top.
Graphics– The game itself ran fine for me on the PS4, it is not a graphically impressive game, with most of its style coming from its use of its art style, which would sometimes land you into uncanny valley, but for the most part the game looked fine.
Time Reversal– The time reversal mechanic of this game always came off to me as a redo button which would rarely cause any fail states in the game, which I felt as a bit disappointing because no matter what you always knew that you would succeed.
Chloe– I think my biggest issue with the game came from Chloe. Her character to me always rubbed me the wrong way, similar to the idea in the game that there are no hard consequences; she is the personification of that idea by always playing loose and cool with the rules. I honestly began to think that if she just acted differently that she would have had a better life. But who knows maybe she’s acting like this because of the disappearance of Rachel Amber, or maybe because of her poor home life, I never put too much thought into it to be honest.
Overall this game and its 5 episodes are a worthwhile story to sink your teeth into if you have some free time and would like to play a Telltale style game providing an interesting story with its fair share of twists, social narratives, and for me at least a thought provoking lite sci fi story. Though be warned, this game is not for younger audiences, this game does cover some very dark topics, such as suicide because of online and in person bullying, kidnapping, drug use and recovery, and murder. But if that is not an issue for you, then I would say Life is Strange is something worth your time. Now here’s hoping they don’t try and milk this game that was clearly a one off.
Availability: (Click image to buy game)