Life Is Strange is an episodic game that was developed by DONTNOD Entertainment and published by Square Enix. It is available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3 and Xbox 360. Chrysalis is the first episode of a five part game series that players can purchase. The story follows Max who arrives at Blackwell Academy to study photography where she has a horrible vision of a future yet to occur, but was what she saw real or just some crazy dream?
Life Is Strange Trailer
Life Is Strange Review
Earlier in the year I came across the trailer for Life Is Strange and I was immediately drawn to it, I do love games like Life Is Strange and am a very large fan of games like Beyond: Two Souls and Heavy Rain which tell their story in the same way with the plot choices and the interactive environments. I love to play games for their stories and am always interested in these types of games.
The art style in Life Is Strange is distinctively different to what I’m used to seeing from this genre from what I have experienced so far. While games from Quantic Dreams tend to go for the maximum amount of realism with their characters appearance, this game looks more cartoon like. I felt like I was interacting in a cartoon world. It was like I was exploring the school of a Disney TV show and I really love the way this game looked. Now it’s not all perfect in appearance as I don’t care much for the way the lip syncing was done, which is something I really don’t like at the moment. But visually the environment is full of colour and the world is vivid and bright. The use of lighting and effects in different rooms is also nice, when pausing for a moment it’s as if you could see the image appearing in someones art book.
Along with the art style the music in game really helps to bring special moments to life. Carefully considered character decisions, moving moments or times when Max is reminiscing on a memory she once had of something are all aided through the use of music. The music in the game so far is at times upbeat and calm, but other times adds to create an atmosphere of sadness. I’m not so sure why, but often times when I was exploring the world, encountering characters and listening to the music I felt sad when experiencing the episode. But the music is beautiful at times and is quite well composed.
Each character seems to be going through some type of trouble or struggling to deal with being a teenager ,everyone is so unhappy in Life Is Strange. It makes me wonder why so many of the characters seem depressed, where were the happy characters? This is why character development is important, I want to know what characters are the way they are and why some of them are sad and the game explores this aspect perfectly.
Character development in Life Is Strange is incredibly strong. As I continued on with Max I learnt so many things about her character and how she perceived the world around her, but Max isn’t the only character that has depth. Side characters such as the classmates you encounter also have depth added into them. You can chat to most people a fair bit through short conversations and uncover some issues, but through exploring the school and the dorms you can see other characters items/possessions or even Max’s items laid around their bedrooms that reveal a lot about the type of person they are. You can get a sense that each character has their own likes, dislikes and struggles that they deal with and that impacts on how they present themselves in the game. Hopefully in future episodes it is something that continues as the story of Max progresses.
Life Is Strange utilizes a time travel mechanic that allows you to rewind and playback conversations and decisions before you leave an area. You can often find out more about a person listening to how they react to one of your choices and the time travel is good for changing your mind if you didn’t like the outcome. Some of your conversations will have implications for Max later in the game, especially if you make someone mad or decide to keep something secret. The game also places and emphasis on saving other characters, such as the girl at the start of the game from being shot in the ladies bathroom or even simple things like helping a young girl to not get hit by an incoming football. Some of them will have consequences but the game always tells you when they do, which always makes me wonder what will happen. But I guess some things are for future episodes or repeat playthroughs.
Life Is Strange is a game I think that is looking to appeal to teens the most as they are actually in high school and have to deal with a lot of these issues in school every day. I’m in my early 20’s and loved the game anyway for what it was and I didn’t mind going back to a high school environment for a bit. I even learnt a few facts about the history of selfies and how they have always been around for long time thanks to the photography picture, although what was that answer to his question? I guess I need to revise a bit still…. But in going back to people who are teens, I think they will enjoy this. It might be that young women might relate slightly more because of the female main character but when I was a teenager there were no games like this to my knowledge. Just TV shows like Degrassi that focused on the teen years and issues so I’m happy to see that games are extending out to this topic as an entertainment medium.
In terms of the value offered for people thinking to buy this game. I would recommend it as something to purchase as it is fairly well made and has very interesting characters and concepts which are not common in many games made today. I got about 3 hours or just over that of gameplay until I finished episode 1 earlier this week and I felt satisfied with the experience. Its low price point makes it worth suggesting and for those on the fence about the series but just want to try it out can and won’t lose so much if they don’t happen to like it. It’s not like you have to buy later episodes, although I certainly will! I honestly can’t wait to see wait happens to Max and her friends in episode 2.
Overall Life Is Strange was a great game experience with a very low entry price. Its strong character development, use of music and art design help to set it out as something special. However its attention to detail with things such as lip syncing really drag down its quality and appearance. But the journey Max is on and the world we are introduced to in Chrysalis has me very interested in future episodes. Life Is Strange was a great experience and I highly recommend checking it out.