Life Is Strange is an episodic drama/mystery that sets a platform for interactive and consequential games. If you take away the dynamics of Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain or Beyond out of your mind and play Life Is Strange with a clean slate, you’ll enjoy it a little more. Let it grow on you for a while and enjoy the creation Square Enix have developed.
First thing’s first let’s talk about time travel. Life Is Strange is fully loaded with choices that can be affected by your action of whether you manipulate time to reverse a decision or simply let the story continue as you’ve played. The ability to manipulate time comes to light very early in the game, where the player is forced to rewind time to save a girl from being shot. This scene is a very pivotal point in the game.
With time travel you can learn information from a person, rewind time and use the info to better your outcome of a conversation; if you play your cards right. You can also theoretically teleport and “jump” time, but once you’ve made a concrete decision and left an area, such as whether you tell the principal that Nathan shot Chloe or not, you can’t rewind.
The game gets off to a very slow start and at first seems like a shitty teen drama (cue major indie music no one has ever heard of) with thematic elements of bullying, drugs, suicide and emotional/physical abuse. But shit gets real; fast. The premise of Life Is Strange is your investigation into the disappearance of Rachel Amber. The main character, which is teenage time traveller Max Caulfield, pairs up with former best friend Chloe to find out what’s going down at Blackwell.
There’s also the notion that a supermassive electrical and mysterious tornado is about to hit the town of Arcadia on the Friday (the game starts on a Monday). Max sometimes “dreams” that she’s by the lighthouse and watches the tornado from afar. Throughout the story, the writers don’t really drop too many hints as to why and what is causing the tornado and other strange things that occur within the week.
Throughout the four episodes there are many important choices that are going to affect your storyline that you play. Depending on what you choose you’ll find some characters more willing to talk and some who probably wish you were dead. Hint, just go easy on the RV guy.
While this may sound like just your average “I’ve played this before” point-and-click game, I can assure you Square Enix and their developers went out of their way to make this hella cool, and the bonus is, it is so incredibly cheap on the Steam Store. From the amount of effort I am sure this game would have taken to get the storylines to make sense, the visuals, the voice acting and of course the development of the game, it should be sold for much, much more.
While there are a few cons about the game, like the abysmal lip-sync and sometimes cringeworthy forced sentences from the characters, the game pulls you in and leaves you wanting more at the end of every episode. In all honesty, I was completely and utterly shocked at the ending of episode four; it was real, emotional and a “what just happened?” moment I rarely get to experience in games.
The game is available on most platforms and is relatively cheap compared to recent releases, with episode five coming out soon.