You know you have witnessed something special when you keep pondering the choices you made long after the game is over. When the credits rolled on the screen, I felt empty. Exhausted even. There were so many story defining decisions to be made, so many lives to influence. To change destiny over and over again. That is what Life is Strange is all about.
You play as Max Caulfield, an eighteen-year-old photography student. Right from the get-go Max learns that she can rewind time to change the events that just occurred. Maybe change the answer to a question, prevent something from happening or influence in some other way. Confusing as it might be, Max is faced with a situation that rewinding time is necessary to save a person’s life. That will start a change of events of which Max is trying to maneuver to the best of her ability. It is certain that everyone cannot be saved and something bad will always happen. It is left to the player to make those decisions.
The story is written wonderfully. It’s full of surprises and have so many meaningful choices, that I feel like I have to play the game again just to see what else could happen. The option to rewind time helps you to make the right choices, if there even is ”a right choice”. In many cases you can let the events unfold and then rewind and do something differently. There is often more than two possible outcomes. The game will continue even if everything didn’t go according to plan. The only times you are forced to rewind time is when Max would end up dead, or if the game is requiring a certain solution. Fortunately, there isn’t too many of these situations.
The story goes from teenage drama to time travel exploration about fixing your mistakes.
Everything revolves around Max and her best friend Chloe. Max tells her about her newly acquired ability and the two best friends went on to investigate a missing girl case. At the same time Max is navigating through the social life of a college student. The story goes from teenage drama to time travel exploration about fixing your mistakes. It takes the chaos theory so literally, that even one of the episodes is named after the namesake mathematical field.
The problems in Max’s life is more than just one of her classmates missing. She is also having visions of devastating storm closing in on town. After weird weather anomalies, it is certain that there is a storm lurking in the near future. The looming storm and search of a missing girl keeps Max and Chloe busy. There are lots of characters to interact with. From local drug dealer to ex-military step-dad, the characters are well written. Awkward moments of when the lines don’t fit the situation or the person saying them are far in between. Even with the sci-fi elements like time travel and unnatural weather, Life is Strange is surprisingly down to earth. Characters are easily relatable, which makes you care about them – a lot.
Gameplay consists of talking to people, manipulating the time and surveying different areas. There are no big fight scenes or car chases. It´s all about telling the story and that is where Life is Strange shines. It takes the episodic approach and after each episode keeps you wanting for more. First season is five episodes long, and it took about 12 hours to complete. The length of the game was something you would expect, any longer and there would have been unnecessary idle moments. It was a captivating journey. Something that stays with you for weeks to come. Who knows why I have kept postponing on playing this game for so long? After playing it, I sure don’t know.
Verdict: 10 out of 10
Developer: DONTNOD Entertainment
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action Adventure
Release date: 30.1.2015
Life is Strange is available on Windows, OS X, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One
Official page: Life is Strange