Not Quite Review: Life Is Strange


 

 

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I know, I know- this game is old. Well, I just recently finished it because it wasn’t working on my PC for the longest time. It was worth going back to, for sure. If you skipped this episodic gem when it first came out for any reason, I would recommend going back. This assumes it is your kind of game; it’s heavy on decisions and story-stuff and light on action-stuff.

Like I said, the story is quite important in Life Is Strange so I’m going to remain spoiler-free as much as possible, since the only people who will keep reading are those who haven’t played (I imagine). Since I ‘waited,’ I played through all 5 episodes at once, rather than waiting on releases.

It’s about who you are

This game tries very hard to really put you into the shoes of the protagonist, Max (Maxine). This is one of those games where your decisions really matter, so they share Max’s thoughts just enough to build a quality character, while leaving enough room for your decisions to fully shape her personality. I don’t picture myself having a ton in common with a teenage art student, but it was nice to play through a very different perspective. 

There’s no real difficulty, here

The game only really works if you stay within a reasonable story-line, so there aren’t any difficulty settings or games over. If you botch things to the point of breaking the story, you get the chance to fix it. However, the game gives you a lot of rope to hang yourself with, so it doesn’t feel like a linear experience. The game does reward you for being more attentive or thorough than required, as well. 

Mostly believable characters 

The character development is, of course, very important in this type of game. The non-player characters that you encounter are mostly well-done in terms of authenticity, and acting. A couple of the characters are just a little too ridiculous for the story, I think, in terms of how belligerent they act. It is supposed to be entertainment, though.

Play for the feels

A strong theme of the game is friendship, and the story is intended to be very emotional. You are only going to really enjoy this game if you become at least somewhat emotionally invested in the characters. This isn’t hard to do, because it’s well written (a movie is now coming) and there is plenty of drama. It only takes the first episode to know whether you will care about the protagonist enough to stay interested in her. The turbulent journey beyond that first episode is filled with opportunities to go from happy to sad and the reverse.

 

What’s next?

There is a second season on the way, which is great news for people who enjoy graphic adventure games. The news was confirmed a year ago, so hopefully that means we can expect something soon. The creators of this game (DONTNOD) also made an excellent cyberpunk action-adventure called Remember Me, which you should check out whether or not you enjoy Life Is Strange

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