Life is Strange

Life is Strange is – well, very strange. Developed by Square Enix, this game is a lot different right from the start. Classified as an adventure game, players will make their way through 5 different episodes of Life is Strange, but there’s a catch: one episode is released every 5 weeks.

Don’t worry, the episodes are cheap to buy, so you won’t be spending $60 for each episode.

Set in the Northwest, you’ll be playing as a teen named Maxine Caulfield. Charming, weird and a little bit like the classic 90s television show Saved by the Bell, the game starts with as much drama as we have seen in a game. You’re first introduced to your characters through an epic intro that throws you right into the action.

The first scene is Max in a bathroom as she witness a murder while hiding for her life. Now, here is where things get very interesting. Max immediately gains time-traveling power. If you’ve ever seen the movie Butterfly Effect, this is exactly how this game is. You’ll be time traveling trying to do the impossible and having a load of fun in between.

life is strange

Jumping Into the Action

Controls are simple. You will interact with others using pop-ups, and you’ll walk with the regular WSAD setup. Players can change their settings to whatever setup they like. Now, time travel is equally as easy:

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[list_item]Right-click on the clock[/list_item]

You can also hold shift to make the clock turn back faster. This is more of a game of wits than skill. What you get to do is be cunning and sly throughout the game while trying your best to master the controls.

Go back in time and listen to the conversation of others, change the world around you and work through puzzles.

Remember, Life is Strange takes place in Blackwell Academy, so you’ll be dealing with slang and wise-cracking peers that you may – or may not – like very much. Max is somewhat of a photography nerd, so you’ll be taking pictures along the way.

Everything you do leads up to one thing: the murder. In fact, the murder is covered up and the teen is simply missing through the first episode of the game. What is a little eerie is that everyone knows the girl is missing, but people surely don’t care about her at all. It’s almost like being stuck in the twilight zone.

Life is Strange feels like you’re the main character of a movie, and that is the goal of the first episode. Players want to be able to rush through the game, but the genius behind the time between episode releases keeps players on the edge of their seat.

The first episode is roughly 3 hours long.

The Mental Gameplay

The first episode is a blast, but there is one thing that I didn’t touch on much: time travel. When you travel back in time, you interact with the environment and can move objects. All of this is fun, but what it ultimately does is change the direction of the game.

All of the actions Max must take will change the direction of the game in some way.

Players that don’t like the direction of the game can go back in time and re-do key parts. It’s a lot of fun and puts an added level of pressure on the player to make all of the right decisions.

life is strange

What I liked

There’s a lot to like about this game, but the final story is not yet complete due to the episode wait times. A few points that stood out to me are:

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[list_item]Realism: The game captures the very essence of being a teen. You will experience the nostalgic feeling of being a teen. From the other characters to the feeling of helplessness to being a person that can conquer the world, everything is so real.[/list_item]
[list_item]Voice Acting: You can lose track of characters in a game very easily. Why? Most don’t have that unique, memorable voice that players need to feel that the NPCs are truly alive. Using natural voice acting, Life is Strange has memorable voices and clear meaning behind the dialogue.[/list_item]
[list_item]Environment: Maybe this falls under realism, but it deserves another mention. The music is lively, the environment seems natural and truly comes to life. Players will feel very close to their characters, which is something rarely seen in newer games.[/list_item]

What I Disliked

There is not much to dislike so far. The one thing that makes this game unique is the one thing I think most players would change – at least partly – because it is too powerful: time travel. With time travel, you’re able to go back and redo your choices over and over again.

Ultimately, your choices have a direct consequence with the world around you.

However, your character can keep going back in time to change your choices over and over again. It almost feels like you have too much control and far too little consequences for your action.

What I would have liked is there to be some kind of limit for going back in time. For example, an exhaustion bar that made it so you had to keep playing to a certain point after going back 10 times.

Now, I will say that in Episode 2, you’ll start to see the limitation in your character’s power, which I really appreciated. I won’t go into too many details, but Episode 2 kept me on the edge of my seat in anticipation for Episode 3. If you’ve played Episode 1, you’ll want to know that Episode 2 is a lot darker and throws you right back into the action.

My Verdict on Life is Strange

Honestly, the first episode is so good that it will keep you waiting for more. At this time, there are only 2 episodes released. The one thing I disliked about time travel sort of comes to life in Episode 2, so the game is turning out to be far better than I anticipated.

This won’t be a game for everyone, but it’s definitely worth a try.

Life is Strange provides a nostalgic look into teen life that is so surreal you’ll be able to relate to Max like you can’t with most video game characters. This is an emotional game that hits all new heights when you get into Episode 2.