(Life is Strange created by DontNod, the creators of Remember Me)
Life is Strange drops you in the shoes of Maxine Caulfield, an 18 yr/o college student who has just been accepted at Blackwell Academy, a prestigious photography college. Max displays all the typical traits of your average teenage girl and none of a typical female protagonist. You almost feel as though you’ve been placed in an American TV series. With all the problems of college life around you as you simply try and get through school life. There’s just one exception, you discover that you have the ability to manipulate and reverse time. Even at the end of episode 1 it left me screaming for more as the storyline proceeded so well! It clicked with the players emotions of school-life and made itself very personal, unfortunately it was let down with some bad scripting and character lip-syncing was misplaced throughout the episode, I can only hope that it improves in the later episodes but its not enough to ruin this great story.
I hadn’t heard of the game originally and had it sprung on me by a friend, and due to my love of Telltale games series’ I was naturally intrigued. When beginning as Max you find you’ve only recently moved back to your home-town Arcadia Bay, and immediately get that feeling of being the odd one out when beginning at a new school, you have the queens of the school, the jocks, the nerds, and you feel like you’re in a sitcom. The characters do capture your emotions very quickly, making you warm to some and distrust others. For an episodic game it immediately set the tone of who you should trust / distrust which will ultimately affect later choices.
You quickly realise early into the story that you have the ability to manipulate time and rewind about a minute of Max’s life, however while everything around you reverts to how it was, Max stays in exactly the same place, allowing you to dodge certain objects. This is also VERY useful when it comes to very important decisions. When it comes to most episode adventures you will have 2 game-changing choices to make at particular points in-game. With Life is Strange you can actually test both choices to see a reaction to the outcome and rewind if you change your mind before moving on. I really enjoyed this feature and loved how well it was implemented and took advantage of your powers, especially with the addition of rewinding time once you’d learnt something to take advantage of a conversation.
The art style of the game feels like a mixture of Heavy Rain / Beyond two Souls mixed with some fantastic painting, with the textures of the game being hand painted. You can feel the amount of time and effort placed in the game and just marvel at all of the surroundings that you find yourself immersed in. The music was also a treat to listen to, again it felt like a school sitcom, but it was also amazingly relaxing, and it was always there in the background even if you didn’t pay attention to it. Something that threw me off a lot though was the lip-syncing, a lot of the time the mouths were independent from the audio which made me a little unhappy as it’s incredibly distracting, hopefully this may be sorted by the next episode.
One of the best features of the game mainly focuses on the inventory / menu pages. This consists of Maxines journal, inside of which she will make personal notes of the characters around you, your progression through the day (episode), and even check her phone to talk to people and see if they’ve been impacted by any events. A great part wasn’t just the fantastic level of detail and writing in the book (which there is a lot of, allowing you to lose so much time reading it), but it’s also the little drawings which can be respective to the characters, story or events themselves. Be sure to look out for photo opportunities as well and fill in the journal with pictures.
An issue with the game which i’ve seen personally, on forums and from other players is that the dialogue of the game just seems… off. Characters would never say certain lines within the game which you’d expect in real life and sometimes it almost seems laughable. I desperately hope that changes are made as I feel this could be something that could actually cripple the game if it’s not sorted, and if the pleasure for the game is taken away it’s going to lose viewers over the next few episodes.
From what i’ve seen so far I am really looking forward to further progress in this game and can’t wait for the next episode, hopefully we will get to see even more supernatural powers. The art style is sublime and unique with great music backing it up. The dialogue needs a lot of work and adjusting, as well as the lip-syncing to the dialogue. The story itself is gripping and the use of powers in the many MANY choices is a fantastic addition, with a great menu page to keep track of everything that happens.
7.5 / 10
Episode 1: available for £3.99 / $4.99
(ALL FUTURE EPISODES SAME PRICE INDIVIDUALLY)
All 5 Episodes: available for £15.99 / $19.99
Episodes 2 – 5 bundle: available for £13.99 / $16.99