Review: Life is Strange, Part 1

Life is Strange is an episodic adventure game developed by Dontnod Entertainment and published by Square Enix. The star of Life is Strange is Max Caulfield, a lonely and awkward college student. It just so happens she can also rewind time. Though Life is Strange doesn’t hit you over the head with the sci-fi aspect of its story, it definitely allows for a unique gameplay experience.

Like all current episodic games, you make choices that will affect your story in later episodes. The choices here could range from large, in your face choices, to small and entirely passable choices. You might not even know that they’re there. When the game finished you’re shown a list of all the choices that could be made and the path you took. Within there were plenty of tiny choices I had missed entirely. So the game definitely rewards complete exploration, but I’m interested to see how the story turns out considering I didn’t discover some of them.

Because you can rewind time, if you aren’t happy with the way your choice panned out immediately, you can rewind back before you made it and try again. That said, the consequences of your actions might not be readily apparent. During the game Max will provide her thoughts through voice over about the choices and interactions. But no matter what you do, Max’s thoughts on the choice you make will be of regret and guilt. The game does its best to make sure you know there’s no such thing as the “right choice”. It’s an interesting way to take things, one I’m curious to see continue throughout the remaining four episodes.

The writing in Life is Strange varies from sincerely authentic to god awful indie film and everything in between. You’ll never know the quality of the line you’ll receive, but thankfully the voice acting does its best to carry the writing. It doesn’t always work, but it doesn’t hamper things all that much. You may notice that the lip syncing is literally nonexistent, but it isn’t super distracting.

The look of Life is Strange perfectly suits the tone it’s going for. The game is very much an indie production in both spirit and practice. The game’s story follows your traditional indie plot line, but comes at it from various angles that are usually unexplored in that genre. There’s also the sci-fi concept on the side that injects some originality into the setting.

The game last about three hours in total, but Life is Strange is more than worth playing. It conveys an earnestness that’s rare to see in games nowadays. The story might seem cliche at times and the dialogue cringe worthy, but it’s exploring areas that games just don’t want to cover. If you want to see something unique in the realm of gaming, Life is Strange is definitely for you.

Available on: Steam, PS4, Xbox One

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