Life Is Strange
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Review: Life Is Strange
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Life Is Strange is a unique game that explores various teen trials by letting you time travel as the protagonist and change situations, often with unpredictable outcomes.
The graphics aren’t super, but they are good enough to accommodate an emotional delivery, with great character development, beautiful locations, and good music. Some visual effects such as the impending tornado looming over Arcadia Bay seem realistic enough, and for a brief moment, you might get lost in the fictional world of the girl Max. The wispy rewind effects also give the graphics a certain aura of mystery.
The game is typical of a teenage, high school drama. You are the main character, Maxine Caulfield, also known as Max. You are attending a private photography academy in the fictional North Western Pacific town of Arcadia Bay, Oregon. On a typical high school day when everything seems to be falling apart for your teenage persona, you have your first encounter with the supernatural.
During a bathroom visit, you run into an old friend who is having a heated argument with a psychopath. The fight ends up with a bullet lodged in the abdomen of that friend (Chloe), and at that instant, you discover that you can rewind time and consequently reverse the course of actions including someone else’s, thereby altering the future.
The game is centered on the rewind mechanic, and from this point onwards, you can choose when to rewind time or actions and see their effects later in the game. However, short-term choices that seem great morally may have more significant consequences down the line.
The simple movement controls and the A button for the Xbox controller are quite handy for this laid-back adventure game which involves you controlling your character in the third person. Various options are laid out in front of you on the screen, and you can select them with LT/RT buttons. The controls are fluid enough, and on-screen prompts also go a long way in helping you choose the next step.
Replay Value: 4.0
The premise takes away from the excitement of a choice-based game because you can always go back and undo unfavorable outcomes. The emotional character interactions are a sure way to keep you locked in, but it feels more like a nice teenage drama than an actual game. Ultimately, the biggest draw for me is when you realize that your actions affected the final outcome of the game and you must replay to see if you get to that alternate ending.
Life Is Strange works because the story is quite relatable, set in a town that could otherwise be real, and drawing its inspiration from real characters. While the time reversal is often misused and takes the mystery and fun out of the game to some extent, you’ll still totally enjoy the game. A lot of the characters in the game harbor their own dark secrets, and this game takes you on a quest to find out what they are.
If you want to play a different kind of game, Life Is Strange is just the thing.
Replay Value 4
Generally has fluid graphics.
Time reversal takes the mystery out of playing.
Some dialogue and character movements are out of sync.