Author Topic: Life is Strange review (featuring TL;DR!)  (Read 334 times)

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Offline Applefolf

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Life is Strange review (featuring TL;DR!)
« on: October 02, 2015, 07:42:42 am »
"Life Is Strange is an episodic interactive drama graphic adventure video game developed by Dontnod Entertainment, and published by Square Enix. The game's plot focuses on Maxine Caulfield, a photography student who discovers that she has the ability to rewind time at any moment, leading her every choice to enact the butterfly effect." ~ From Wikipedia ~
This game shines straight from the main menu, with it's gentle music and scenic menu view (not to mention the text looking like actual writing). In the actual game, the view is actually the forest that you will encounter several times throughout playing the game due to the importance it holds. The game plays with your emotions and ability to think with the choices presented to the player throughout at several stages. Not only this, but Max will question the choice you decide every time you make one, causing you to worry if you made the right choice and, possibly, rewinding in order to see the alternative short-term outcome.

Character development is wide, but somewhat clichéd. For example, Max's best friend Chloe suits the stereotype of a troubled, rebellious teenager, getting involved in drugs and the like. However, the characters change both in mood and appearance throughout the game depending on the choices you make (usually an episode or so beforehand). They remember your choices and bring them up if they were important (and even less important choices get mentioned a few times. You can tell if a choice has a large impact by whether or not the choice scene has a sort of "haze" to it (I'm not sure exactly how to describe it). This tells you to focus more than on other choices, to be careful about what you pick. The biggest advantage, as mentioned, is Max's ability to rewind time.

The ability to rewind time is a major feature of the game, and is the unique selling point of the game that separates it from other choice-based games. There is drawbacks to this though as you can only rewind time within a certain area (whilst you're there) and only by a short amount of time (usually to just before the choice is made). And so you cannot experience the long-term consequences and then rewind to revert them. This keeps the game interesting and forces you to take risks, but the game seems to make its own exceptions to this and bends the rules. The very first example is in the bathroom during episode 1, you rewind (without knowing it's your power) and you're back in your classroom. You cannot rewind AND move, you will always be in the same place after you rewind. To me, this is sort of disappointing, even if it is needed for the game to develop. Also, the fact that you can rewind time also makes the game a little bland, as if you do not like the immediate reaction you can just rewind and it would never have happened. It varies person to person though, and so it may be more fun for others. Another fun feature of this is the use of it in puzzles. Life is Strange incorporates a strong puzzle game element through the use of puzzles that require different levels of rewinding - from rewinding to move out the way of something to rewinding to steal/takes objects without anyone knowing.

Life is Strange is split into episodes, five of those in total. As far as I am aware, you have to pay for each episode which seems unfair to do. You're basically paying multiple times to get the whole game rather than just once (I use Steam family share, and so I play the game via that). The episodes intertwine together seamlessly, and each one picks up where the other dropped off without anything happening in-between. This is helped by the fact that each episode represents a day in the game, which to me is pretty cool and helps the game feel more real in the sense that the day-night cycle is slow/non-existent as it takes so long for the time to change. The episodes always leave a cliffhanger at the end, therefore leaving you anticipating the next episode and drawing you into buying the next episode when it is available. The latest, and last, episode is episode 5, which will be available October 20th.

Although linear in the sense that it is not an open world, Life is Strange allows you to open up your adventurous side by roaming and interacting with the game world. You can talk to anyone you want, and this can have consequences of their own depending on how the conversation goes. Throughout the game there are optional photo opportunities which are fun to look for as a sort of "collection". Max Caulfield is shown using analogue, instant film cameras throughout as opposed to digital which can incite nostalgia or memories as the photos taken are also tuned to reproduce the effects of them such as imperfections. I will honestly admit that it has gotten me into instant photography, and I'm in the middle of trying to convince my parents to buy me an instant camera. :lol-fox:

Graphics-wise, the game is nothing groundbreaking, but it gets the job done well with average graphics that can run on a wide range of PCs. This can be helped with some optimization, as for at least me it is impossible to turn on MSAA as it crashes the game. There is also a warm filter to the colours too, but this goes to a more cold palette at certain points in the game - which is nice as it influences your outlook to the current situation. Of course, I cannot say much for the console versions of this game, as I do not own any copies for any other system.

Overall, Life is Strange is a great player choice and puzzle game that explores the supernatural life of a student and how it affects life around them. Although clichéd, you grow attached to the characters and begin wanting them to be happy within the game and watch them develop alongside you. The game will test you and your feelings as it forces you to make somewhat brutal choices at times. This leads to emotional moments and stress at times, which is great for a game to do. I love this game, and cannot wait for episode 5 to see how it all concludes.

TL;DR: It's a good game that you should play if you like games affected by the player's choices.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2015, 07:46:46 am by Folfy »
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Offline AlaskaFolf

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Re: Life is Strange review (featuring TL;DR!)
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2015, 02:34:33 pm »
Dang. This is one of the longest and most well written posts I've seen on FT. Kudos to you sir!
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Offline BTS Mojave

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Re: Life is Strange review (featuring TL;DR!)
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2015, 11:49:57 am »
I have to be honest and say I didn't read your whole review but have you had a chance to play Episode 5? I played it last night and it was pretty great!
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Offline Applefolf

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Re: Life is Strange review (featuring TL;DR!)
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2015, 11:55:07 am »
I have to be honest and say I didn't read your whole review but have you had a chance to play Episode 5? I played it last night and it was pretty great!
I'm currently downloading it now! My connection speed is REALLY slow so I've got another painful 4 hours or so to wait.

Dang. This is one of the longest and most well written posts I've seen on FT. Kudos to you sir!
You have no idea how mushy I got (in a good, happy way) after reading this. ^^ Thanks!
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Offline BTS Mojave

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Re: Life is Strange review (featuring TL;DR!)
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2015, 12:00:44 pm »
Ouch, no fun. I hope you enjoy it when you do get to play!
It's kind of funny how two episodic games, Life is Strange and Tales from the Borderlands, final episode both came out on the same day. Hopefully Tale's ending can be just as good!
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