Amy Moore provides a review based on real time thoughts during gameplay.
Warning, content may contain spoilers.
Singer-songwriter Hannah Telle voices lead character Maxine “Max” Caulfield in Life Is Strange. Above is her track ‘Hollow Glow’ which perfectly reflects the acoustic undertones of the game.
Life Is Strange has achieved many accolades since its release throughout 2015, including the BAFTA Games Award for Story (2016). Life Is Strange almost plays out like a short movie, with a digital series based on Dontnod Entertainment’s second game release reportedly in the works.
The consequences of your actions really come to light in Episode Two – entitled Out of Time – where Max is forced to become a detective, of sorts. Although the plot didn’t really take off until the end of Episode Three, I did begin to find myself immersed in the fictitious world of Blackwell Academy and Arcadia Bay.
Episode Three – Chaos Theory – is where the game begins to show some originality. Google’s definition of Chaos Theory states; ‘the branch of mathematics that deals with complex systems whose behaviour is highly sensitive to slight changes in conditions, so that small alterations can give rise to strikingly great consequences.’ The plot thickens and you end up altering your best friends future in a BIG way.
There appears to be a lot more character progression for both Max and Chloe in Episode Three, in addition to more personalised gameplay. You gain more control over the lead characters, with more opportunities to explore each area.
Episodes Two and Three make you think, but don’t make your brain hurt. The graphics aren’t the highest quality, but the visual effects are bound to impress, with some textures said to be hand painted. My only qualm is that sometimes the game glitches and rewinds time without warning, meaning you have to (patiently) replay some segments.
Episode Three concludes with a shocking ending. I’ve got a feeling it’s building up to one “hella” twist in the final episode. I’m already itching to play Episode Four.
LIFE IS STRANGE: EPISODES FOUR & FIVE
This is it. This is what the last three episodes have been building up to.
The opening sequence of Episode Four is a real tug at the old heartstrings, with the once-chaotic Chloe confined to a wheelchair after Max altered her timeline at the end of Episode Three. Order is soon restored though, with Chloe’s late father William represented in the form of a doe, which makes you sick with sentimentality. I struggled to relate to the characters of Max and Chloe, but I’m sure other players will find themselves really living through the lead characters in Life Is Strange.
Each episode follows a slightly different format to the last, with Episode Four inviting the opportunity to collect evidence, search through clues and connect them together to unveil some shocking revelations.
Episode Four is all about the order in which you do things. This is demonstrated in the Barn scene, where Max springs into action with her new-found ability to rewind time. The answer is not always immediately obvious, but it certainly makes you think. Dig deeper and discover what happened to missing Rachel Amber. Transport to the Dark Room, where things become more sinister than originally anticipated, and unmask the true identity of Mr Mark Jefferson; Maxine’s auspicious Photography Teacher.
It’ll be interesting to see how the story is summed up in Episode Five.
Well, the first hour of Episode Five feels like a complete waste of time as you jump from reality to reality. Players eventually arrive in some obscure alternative narrative that attempts to tie all the episodes together. It almost felt like Episode Five – entitled Polarized – had just been hashed together. It was flawed, with a noticeable drop in graphics seeing an unsubtle lack of mouth movement from characters during the Diner storm scene.
Once completed, I was left with mixed feelings about Life Is Strange. I felt like it had a lot of potential, but it didn’t quite scratch the surface for me. Until next time.*
GAME COMPLETED 04/10/16
35/60 ACHIEVEMENTS (58%)
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*A digital series based on Dontnod Entertainment’s second game release is reportedly in the works.
*All screenshots from personal gameplay.