Life is Strange Ep. 1: Game Review

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There aren’t many games that I hear about before their release and know I want to play. I’m typically the one who eventually picks up a game later – like years later, after the reviews and friends have played it so I know it’s a good buy. Life is Strange is one of the few, if only games, I’ve heard about back before it was officially released. I knew by the early review I wanted to play this game. But my cheapness kept me from buying the episodes when they first came out.

Now, I’ve finally bought all five episodes and finished playing Episode One.

The story revolves around Max Caulfield. An eighteen year old student who transferred to Arcadia, Oregon – her past hometown as a child. There is a wonderful photography program there that would help her out on her goal to be a professional photography. We start with Max in the woods, during a storm and her attempt to reach the lighthouse that reveals a huge storm, a tornado of massive promotions heading to Arcadia. She is then suddenly thrusted back into the past, appear she had just woken from a nightmare in class. From there she heads to the bathroom and witness a girl with blue hair getting shot by Nathan Prescott – the rich boy who’s family owns the town. At that moment, time rewinds for the first time and she is back in her last class just as before.

From there the story surrounds a ‘point and click’ style. You move through the world, talking to people, interacting with posters and other objects and choosing reactions and what to say to those around you. You do have the option to not speak with them too. I like that it is all through the main character Max and that you hear her thoughts as you uncover new situations. There are a few puzzles to solve, like how to remove Victoria from the front steps so Max can enter the dormitories. You get to used your rewind time abilities get past her and the ‘Vortex Club’.

This game also deals with consequences of your actions. There are several characters you can interact and talk with, depending on your reply will change the future of the game. I can only imagine how many different endings there are. But, not all the choices you get are helpful… there aren’t any right or wrong choice, and at times both choices seem to have a negative effect on your character.  For example… early on in the game you are faced with a principle where you have the choice of telling him you saw a Nathan in the girl’s bathroom with a gun, or try to hide it. Either response seems to end up with the principle not believing you and your scholarship being in jeopardy. It sucks, but it also makes it more real – in that in real life not all your choices are going to work out for you either.

Later in the game, you meet up with Chloe. The blue haired girl from the bathroom you just saved – and surprise, surprise – Max’s childhood friend she left behind when she and her family moved to Seattle. You also discover the dick security guard you’ve seen a few times around the school is Chloe’s step-dad. There’s a bunch of stuff you get to explore in Chloe’s house and I would recommend checking out all corners of the house. After an altercation with Chloe’s stepdad, the two escape to the Lighthouse, the same spot where Max’s nightmare took place. There she has another flashback, or forwards? She sees the storm again, but this time she finds a newspaper with a date of October 11, four days into the future.

max-storm

For a first chapter of five, this game does a great job in setting up the scenario as well as give you a goal. It’s obvious to me at this point that Max is going to try to save Arcadia from the storm. How… I have no idea, but there is now a time limit. There’s another side story on the go that we are introduced and that is the disappearance of another high school student named Rachel – Chloe’s best friend after Max moved away. I’m far more interested in that storyline than the storm. There are missing posters for Rachel set up all around the school, and there’s a glimpse of something ‘sinister’ at the end of Chapter 1.

I really like the idea of replaying this game and taking different actions/choices. There is a pretty good option of being a complete dick throughout the game and I’m tempted to try that out and see how the games plays out. What is also kinda neat, is a stats page after you finish the game. There is a Friends and World stats, that breaks down all the choices you had the option of making. There is a check mark next to the ones you made and then a percentage next to it from other’s who’ve played the game and their choices. It’s cool to see how others have played the game, what actions they’ve done and what are the most popular choices.

I’m right in the popular choices after the first couple of run through of the game. The only thing I seem to keep missing is the dead bird somewhere… errr… So far from the look, the popular choices are the ‘nice’ choices. The helping out of others, and not snooping too much in other people’s belongings. Again, to go back and take all the nasty choices could be interesting…

I’m excited about this game, and enjoyed the first chapter. I’m so glad I finally picked this up and are able to play through all five episodes in a row. How others could wait before the next one came out is beyond me. For those who may not be familiar with the game, I highly recommend it. It’s a more laid back but great story-driven game. There’s some great geek references too that makes me smile.

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