At some point during the development of the Final Fantasy VII Remake, one of the devs mentioned that the game might end up being episodic due to the scope of the project. That was a while back, can’t even find a source for you on that one so my source is “dude trust me”. But later on, we found out that the release we were getting was going to be just the Midgar section of the original title.
Some people took issue with this, because that’s approximately the first quarter or third of the game. According to people on forums, the Midgar section of the original game took roughly 5 hours to complete, give or take a couple hours depending on if you’re rushing or taking your time. That in turn would give some people the idea that they are not getting a full experience with the first release. That’s not the case at all.
Calling it episodic or incomplete was a great mis-characterization. That might have been said at some point, but that’s not what the end result actually is. Unlike the new Resident Evil 3 Nemesis Remake, the FF7 Remake is actually long. Very long.
What you are looking at is a 30-40 hour complete experience.
That’s right, according to HLTB, that sure as hell looks like the length of a complete game, doesn’t it? It’s not stuffed with garbage either.
What they did was build upon everything that happened in OG Midgar. Bits that were one-off comments became full conversations. Characters that were one dimensional now have far more depth added on. The script is new and fresh. The structure of the game takes on a more modern experience than the linear path of the original. No, it’s not open world, thank god, we don’t need any more of those. But it has hub locations where you can go around collecting side quests and other fun tidbits.
I’ve mentioned before that I haven’t picked this game up yet, because I already have several games that are occupying me for the time being. I’ve also never played the original. So, maybe I’m full of sh*t. But from what I’ve seen in demo content and reviews, FF7 Remake is a complete experience with a guaranteed sequel. Probably a trilogy.
Final Fantasy 13 became a trilogy, and it was a COMPLETE GAME before the sequels were added (albeit the FF13 trilogy was so unnecessary, it’s baffling). I fully expect FF7 Remake to do the same. Getting the “whole story” you appear to be chasing is going to last for something close to a decade. Either way, this game isn’t the first episode or chapter. It’s the first whole game in a new series. Come @ me in the comments if you disagree.
This overview of Life is Strange 2 Episode 1 took place during a podcast. But it went on for so long we had to remove it from the podcast. We put it here instead. I mean, you could listen to use talk about the game. Or you can just sit there and be mesmerized in this latest rendition of DANKVISION.
September 6th, 2017 by Stefan Adrian "AdminMas7er" Robu
Life is Strange: Before the Storm is an episodic interactive story game made by Deck Nine Games and published by Square Enix. It tells the story of a younger Chloe Price, the blue haired punk rebel and main companion from the original game. In this, she tries to cope up with her personal problems after the death of her father, and her newfound relationship with the popular Rachel Amber.
One of the bigger changes of Before the Storm is in the graphics, it may not seem different at first but I did notice the disappearance of an odd pink-ish hue and more God Rays. It still has the artsy and cartoonish aesthetic of the first game. Another change is the transition from Unreal Engine to Unity, which may or may have not cause the reported performance issues, which also vary by machine and graphics settings. That said, the scrapyard scene really showcased the power of the new engine, with improved lighting and textures at their best.
STORY: 1/2 [SPOILER ALERT]
Episode 1 starts off in a weird way, showing off the rougher side of Chloe by going to a somewhat unknown concert of one of her favorite bands. Things do not go as smooth as planned but she does meet with a new friend, Rachel. My gripe with the intro is how bad it manages the pace, the first 5 minutes of the intro are slow and meticulous as Chloe tries to get into the show. But in the last part of this intro, things gets faster. Chloe gets into some conflict and Rachel saves her, taking her to the concert floor to have fun. After that, the game goes back into a slow pace, only to pick up a bit later. She ends up ditching school to hang out with Rachel and things close off dramatically.
The second gripe I have with this episode is how fast the relationship between Chloe and Rachel develops, it goes from a simple “let’s know each other” to “let me tell you about my inner family drama”. I do not know if the writers made these moments just to add drama, or if the characters really have a lot of trust in each other. Speaking about writing, the dialogue is a lot more improved compared to the previous game. It does not have as many “hip” elements or slang, thus being somewhat more realistic, which is a plus in my book, hell, it even makes a joke at one of the more annoying words in the first game, the famous “hella”.
Sure, the music may be still of the indie genre, but it is a little bit rougher. It reflects on Chloe’s attitude and perspective regarding life in general at the time. There are not that many artists so far, compared to the first game. Deck Nine resorts mostly to a single composer, Daughter, to make the score, meanwhile sneaking in some licensed music every now and then. The voice acting was well-done, lip-syncing wasn’t really an issue but the change of voice actor for Chloe was obvious in some cases.
Just like the original Life is Strange (and story-based games in particular), the mechanics are easy and somewhat intuitive. The rather interesting, yet unexplained, mechanic of time-travel from the first game, is replaced with a new mechanic called “backtalk”. It makes the player pay closer attention to what the person is saying, and then has Chloe use key words against them. The removal of the rewind mechanic also puts more emphasis on the “your choices matter” part of the game, something that I had a small issue with in the first game. Otherwise, nothing is really changed, apart from the fact that there are more “break choices” as I like to call them. They are more apparent, putting even more emphasis on “your choices matter”, and even some non “break choices” do matter. A bad side is that the rewind made Life is Strange interesting, so it’s somewhat good, and also bad, that it’s gone.
While this return to Arcadia Bay and its people was welcome, Life is Strange: Before the Storm has some adjusting regarding story and a bit on the character side. But it is good for a second replay to see what I missed in the first place, offering two distinct attitudes to Chloe in her choices, either be understanding to the people around her, or just giving everyone the middle finger, but I won’t call this “emotional”, or “fun”, or even “moving”. I would just call it “interesting”.
In conclusion, Episode 1: Awake, offers some improvement over the first game, refining what was already good and fixing some quirks, leaving me wanting for more in upcoming episodes.
WRITER NOTE: Because this is an episodic game, I will review each episode separately and then do a general review of the game once all episodes are out, scores may vary per episode. This review is solely based on episode 1, some comparisons with the first Life is Strange may be used.
January 20th, 2016 by Stefan Adrian "AdminMas7er" Robu
Life is Strange is an episodic graphic adventure video game developed by Dontnod Entertainment and published by Square Enix. It is focused on the adventures of photography student Max Caulfield, after discovering she has the ability to rewind time, going into the darker parts of Arcadia Bay alongside her close friend, Chloe, searching for a missing student.
The graphics of Life is Strange are absolutely stunning, being developed in Unreal Engine 3, it hits some level of realism while combining a slightly cartoonish art style. While this art style doesn’t provide as much detail close-up, the bigger picture is where it shines. It impressed me how much Detail Dontnod have put into creating this considerably aesthetic town of Arcadia Bay, with the Blackwell Academy as the main point of attraction. Each episode brings us into a new area, keeping the game worlds fresh and rich in environments.
While the story might not have been the best, even poor in some parts, it was okay, containing some major twists around the end. A major problem with it is that the plot starts slow on episode one (which is free), putting a lot of people off buying the other episodes. Character-wise, we have a very diverse cast, each one being unique in looks and personality. Some characters are a bit more insufferable than others, meanwhile there are some that you simply can’t hate them. Some characters I really love include the main protagonist Max, and one of her good friends, Kate. The dialogue feels a little bit forced and awkward, it sounds as if the developers tried (and failed) to replicate the “hip” talk of teens today (seriously, “hella”) and it’s one of the bad parts of the game.
I literally have nothing bad to say about the audio, seriously, it has a 10/10 soundtrack, one of the better ones I’ve heard, it also fits the game atmosphere and the personality of Max. Genre-wise, it is composed of indie songs so it is also very soothing and calm. This mellow soundtrack has quite the effect on how emotional some scenes become.
Being a story-based game, it isn’t focused on gameplay so don’t expect to find interesting mechanics. The most important of them is the rewind, allowing you to go back in time, allowing you to make a different choice. This is both a good thing and a bad thing, a good thing because you can also see the other choice available and its outcome, a bad thing because it kind of nullifies the whole “your choices matter” part of the game, since you can fix most of the bad decisions you did previously. At least, the minor ones are like so, since the major choices get locked in. This game draws a lot of inspiration from Telltale Games so it is point and click with a shiny mechanic, so to speak.
Now I would not describe this game as “fun”. I would describe it as “emotional”, “a trip”, “cringefest” whatever you want to call it. It invokes a lot of emotions if you care about characters, especially when you make the wrong choices; those that lead to characters getting wounded, both physically and emotionally. For me, I haven’t felt anything from the “good” ending, but you might have a different experience.
While it may be “eh” in some areas, LiS hits hard in others, and it is an experience you should really try. It may not be perfect, it has a lot of good parts, just like a human. With rewind mechanics.