Game: Life is Strange
Playtime: 9.5 hours
Completed: March 2016
Developer(s): DONTNOD Entertainment
Publisher(s): Square Enix
System(s): PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4
Release Date: January 30, 2015
DLC: No DLC
When a game includes phone numbers for counselling services if you need to talk to someone based on what you see in the game, you know you’re in for a ride. This game will take your emotions and not only toy with them, but will play with them like a cat with a barely alive mouse. In Totem’s case, his decisions weighed so heavily that he had to take a step back from his playthrough for an extended period of time before revisiting the game.
You take on the role of Max Caufield as she starts at her new private school with one of the best photography programs in the nation. Max is an unassuming teenager, quiet and reserved. As you sit through class, you see some of your classmates: the popular kids, Nathan and Veronica, the even more quiet and shy Kate, and then your teacher, Mark Jefferson, a renowned photographer.
All goes nice and boring through the lecture until Max has a dream of a tornado destroying the little town of Arcadia Bay. When she comes to, she’s back at the beginning of class. She finds she has the power to reverse time.
She uses her newfound power for good by preventing a murder and the story moves on from there.
Life is Strange is an episodic tale where you use your time powers to unravel numerous mysteries around Arcadia Bay. The choices you make can drastically alter how characters treat you, what information you can obtain, and how later events play out. Play is mainly done by choosing dialogue choices and looking for clues in the scene. There are often puzzles in the area that you solve by using your powers to reverse time.
Some choices are key moments, allowing you to view the consequence of your choice, then rewind time to see how choosing the other choices will change the outcome, but when you make the final choice, it will alter the game permanently.
The themes brought up in the game can get very dark, dealing with drugs, violence, sex, and more. This is a game that truly earns it’s M for Mature rating.
The story in this game is what keeps you thirsting to go on to the next chapter. The storytelling is done wonderfully, with much of the storytelling done cinematically as you follow Max and the other characters through Arcadia Bay. The voice acting is great, music fits the scenes, and character development really makes you understand the characters’ motivations and situations. All characters have multiple dimensions to their characters that Max can suss out if she puts the time into it.
After completing one of the five episodes in the game, you’ll be shown the breakdown of your choices and how the community at large reacted to those decisions as well. While most of the game will play out similarly no matter the decisions you make, the side interactions and some major events will differ.
This game hits you right in the feels multiple times. Some of the puzzles can be annoying to figure out, but overall does not detract from the experience. This is a great story and the time-control aspect of the gameplay is fun and feels great to use. This is a game you should pull off of your pile and play right away.
5 out of 5 Polaroids
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