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.
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