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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Game Review: Life is Strange (Episode One)

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Life is Strange (2015)

Developed by: Dontnod Entertainment
Released On: Jan 30, 2015
Format: PC w/ Controller
Source: Steam
Rating: 4/5

Summary: Life is Strange is an 5-part episodic adventure game. You play as a high schooler named Max who wakes up in class after a terrible nightmare to find out that she can reverse time. Will you be a complete douche to get what you want or be an "everyday hero"? The choice is yours.

My Thoughts: Although very reminiscent of the ever popular Walking Dead series, Life is Strange has its differences and stands alone. Its like a very serious version of Scott Pilgrim as the characters are a bunch of wayward hipsters, but the physical choices/consequences feature of the game are what remind me of The Walking Dead, but the time rewinding aspect is what The Walking Dead lacks. Another aspect that lets it stand apart from a typical Telltale game is that you can capture notes/object as well. There is so much around that it feels real. That you're in this world where everything is just lying around and you can interact with it. Of course most of it is irrelevant, but it's nice to see and it adds to the world. There are notes around you can take and the photo collection feature is different as well. As a player, I always wonder what would happen if I picked another choice and instead of having to play the game ALL over again, I can just rewind the time to see and that is very helpful.

 The characters are realistic to actual high school teenagers as we do say stupid stuff 100% of the time, but the stereotypes they present in the game do not exist. However, for the pretense of the game, they fit. We're in high school. It's a video game, we have to have the nerds, the jocks, the skaters, and the ever-ruling bitchy mean girls. However, many of the characters have this depth and realism that makes the writing so strong. The only different stereotype is the photo nerds. You don't see any of those now-a-days, but again, it fits to the story because Max's story revolves around her taking photos. Even the loading screen has a camera and when you click through the main menu there's a camera shutter noise. So it's safe to say that photography is a main factor of the game.

Speaking of photos and photography, this game is beautiful. The atmosphere reminds me of an indie movie with the different camera angles that you're presented with throughout the game.(Especially if you get to fly the drone. It's great!) It's real enough for a video game. There aren't amazing graphics, but the feeling you get from it makes you feel at home. However beautiful the backgrounds may be, the character animation is very 2000's with the very bad lip syncing and the overused character motions, but the dialogue between the characters makes it bearable. 

It's useful that the save mechanics are intertwined with time reversal, so when you're given a choice, the game saves and you can load it from that checkpoint. That's different because it's built into the game itself. 

So, I highly recommend this game to everyone and anyone that just likes an adventure game in general because Life is Strange is different, its not just a game. It's an experience. 

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