Life is Strange is a strange game, mainly because its nothing like a game I’ve ever played before. Apart from all the time traveling and sci-fi stuff, the game does a splendid job at portrayal of realistic characters and your typical college life. Developed by Dontnod Entertainment, who previously worked on Remember Me, another time twisting title, Life is Strange didn’t look special from the trailers and promo material but boy was I wrong.
Life is Strange is a point and click style adventure game, a genre dominated by Telltale Games. The game does an excellent job of blending control prompts and other details with a note scribbling style that really compliments the direction of the story.
Life is Strange stars Max Caulfield, an 18 year old freshmen in College who is huge on photography. As the game starts Max finds herself on a mountain overlooking the city of Arcadia where the game takes place. With a storm raging on Max makes her way to the Lighthouse on top in a sequence which looked like something out of Alan Wake. As she reaches the Lighthouse and witnesses a certain event, her “dream” ends as she wakes up in her Photography class. Max out of the blue discovers that she has the power to reverse time, allowing her to re-do decisions and see the alternate outcome. I really love this feature as it allows players to see both sides of the choices and choose the one result they want instead of having to replay the game over again. Also not only does her power allow her to see both sides of the coin, but after rewinding certain choices players get access to a third or fourth choice. For example when asked a question in class which she doesn’t know the answer to, Max can either choose the options given or after finding out the right answer choose after another rewind.
On the gameplay side of things there’s not much to talk about as most of what you’ll be doing in Life is Strange is walking around and pressing X or A to interact with people. Thankfully exploration is fun although a bit limited. Max can roam around areas and talk to her fellow students and check out things in the environment like writing on walls. Interacting with certain things will have Max take a picture that she stores in her Journal, this also gets player an Achievement or Trophy so completionists will have something to look out for in every episode.
The game’s Soundtrack is pretty impressive with tracks by bands such as Mogwai and Bright Eyes. They help create an atmosphere that nicely compliments the setting and situations.
Something that certain players might not enjoy is the “with the times” approach. The game extensively features pop references, internet jokes and selfies, lots and lots of selfies. I personally didn’t mind as they did fit with the game.
Life is Strange’s graphical style is pretty refreshing and fits in nicely with the game’s artistic focus. The developers could also have focused a bit on the lip syncing which fails to catch up sometimes, hopefully they fix it in future episodes.
Overall I’m pretty impressed with the first episode of Life is Strange titled Chrysalis. The story has me hooked and I can’t wait to find out what happens next. For the price checking out the first episode is a no brainer.
Life is Strange Episode 1: Chrysalis Review