Life is Strange (16 Hours Played)

So with all five games played and reviewed its time to look at the bigger picture and not only that but rank it in our game list.

The first episode came out in what feels like a life time ago. I can’t remember what it was that drew me to it, I had just started really collecting games on Steam and trying to get back into proper Gamer mode and I think one of my friends on Tumblr became obsessed with it in the weeks leading up to its arrival. It looked different and interesting so I brought it with no real idea what it was about.

Life is Strange made a impact right from the bat. The music, the style of animation, the voice acting and the story all had you hooked by the time you realised that the main character Max was actually a super powered time traveller. Something she learnt with us. It didn’t matter who Max was before hand, though in a few tiny scenes we got to realise that she was a awkward and shy girl with big dreams, what mattered was what she’d become with our help.

I said it constantly in the fifth game review but at times its hard looking back at Episode 1 which was full of mysteries but mainly light and innocence and then see what happened later and put them together. Strange shit was happening but you thought that your powers was going to change that. You had your best friend back, who you saved from death, and the whole world was looking better.

The final episode tore that away. It tore it away shred by shred, it tore it away in the most cruel way imaginable. It told you that all this that you prophesied, all this that was killing everyone and a whole town was falling down. All this was your fault.

And it started when you saved your best friends life.

Then it asked you, personally, to choose how you ended the game.

Do you let the relationship you as a player developed with Chloe overrule the obvious choice of saving everyone but Chloe or do you do the right thing and learn possibly the most important lesson that you could in the whole game which is basically that everyone is important to someone so no one life is more important than another.

The game never shied away from sticking you in some of the most emotional situations it could think up, and even though to a point I feel like Max never really understood anything from just what she was doing to the world around her on a general level for the player and for a character like Chloe it was a eye opener.

I don’t think there was a single episode I didn’t like. I pretty much loved them all. I don’t really have a favourite either, on first play through they all left me with a feeling of breathlessness and wonder. There is very obvious reasons why there is replay value. I didn’t get all the achievements, never being one to really look out for photo ops, so I’ll need to go back and make sure I get all those done. I personally didn’t save Kate in the second episode so there is a reason to go back and see the alternate game with her surviving. There are characters I never interacted with and didn’t even know about until it was too late. I can’t remember who I blamed for all this shit but it would be interesting to see what would happen if you stuck to Jefferson as being the suspect.

Then again there is also a big draw back to playing again.

I always tried to be nicer to David since episode 2 when I realised that he was probably suffering from PTSD from his time in the army but now I REALLY can’t do anything mean to him. Also I realise now that Chloe might have been a nice person but she was also a dick to everyone so I might not be so willing to try any option to be “nice” to Chloe because I know we’ll be friends regardless the whole way through.

Again though that is balanced off by the fact that I love these characters so much, and there just won’t be another story with them because how can there be? that I’ll want to return as often as possibly because I’ll miss them.

The soundtrack to Life is Strange was perfect. It was always so mellow and calm. It felt like watching the sea. It heighten all the drama, tension and emotions because you couldn’t imagine such horrible things happening when you are listening to such lovely music. It also highlighted the beauty of everything. The town they were in, the people they were meeting, the bonds they were creating…

Lets face it yes there was a murderer and yes it got dark quite often but the underlying story wasn’t the storm, it wasn’t the deaths, drugs or terrible things happening. The real story was of friendship and growing up. Max had to grow up. The fifth episode highlighted that constantly. Mr Jefferson and his talk about losing innocences, the Principal on the plane to San Francisco going on about Max being a Artist now and not a kid taking photos… It was all about moving over that threshold of teenage years where everything is pretty safe and you live in this self centred world not really understanding anything outside of your own bubble into a world where you have no real control over anything. You lose your innocence not because of what you do but because of what happens to you. You see the world for the dark place it is, you can become jaded and lost.

You don’t have to lose hope though.

Saying goodbye to your past also opens the door to the future. Everyone might want a time machine to go back and change their lives but that isn’t the world you should live in. You should live without regrets and if something bad happens you need to move forward and see the beauty in the world because its still there.

Or at least that is what I got out of it, though I’m probably looking too much into it.

It used the soundtrack well, it timed everything perfectly, at times you forgot you were playing a game and it was more like watching something like the OC or whatever other things like that there is/where on TV.

The characters all had a life of their own. Not one of them, even the background characters, could be said to be one dimensional. From Max herself, even though she was a little slow on the up take and not the greatest of people, to her rowdy best friend Chloe, to her love interest (just not for me!) the nerdy Warren to people like Victoria, Allysa and Brooke. Even people who never were seen like Rachel Amber felt like a real person to me.

I hope with how popular it is more games are made like this.I feel like if I had had this game when I was younger it would have made me feel better about who I was and what I was doing. For all intents and purposes Max was just a normal teenager and half the time you were doing normal teenager things. Hell even without the time travel stuff I would have probably loved a game following Max around for a week.

So on our table (which sucks anyway) where does it rank?

It wasn’t a perfect game, Max didn’t ever seem to really think about anything which got on my nerves and I don’t think there was enough seen of what happened next in the “Sacrifice Arcadia Bay” ending. As pretty as it was too it also had many weird looking things going on with hair and stuff, I don’t think a single character could close their mouths either.

So the story is above average, the soundtrack is perfect and the design is average. Its got great re-playability and you’d have to be real cold not to fall in love with the characters. So for me it’ll get a 8.5/10 .

I really loved it.

It also means its knocked the mighty Final Fantasy VII and Sam & Max Season 1 off the top spot. Of course before anyone gets sad about this they are all very different games rated for many different reasons. At 16 hours though you can’t go wrong with it and its much easier to figure out then Sam and Max

1. Life is Strange – 8.5
2. Final Fantasy VII – 8
= Sam & Max Season 1 – 8
3. Kingdom Hearts 1.5 – 7.5
4. Sam & Max Season 2 – 7
5. Sam & Max Season 3 – 6
6. Kingdom Hearts 2.5 – 5
= Secret of Monkey Island – 5
7. Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep – 4

PS I will have some other blogs out before Christmas about the game. Mainly about plot points and characters. I’ve been in the middle of writing them since Episode 4 but never had a chance to finish them so will still publish when I finish.

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