Life Is Strange is an episodic graphic adventure video game developed by Dontnod Entertainment and published by Square Enix. Available for PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360, it consists of five episodes released periodically throughout 2015 culminating in the release of the combined series in January 2016 .
Life Is Strange begins with you waking up in the middle of the woods during a horrendous storm with little direction or clue as to what to do. Eventually you realise you need to navigate your way to the top of a nearby cliff where a lighthouse is situated. Once at the top you realise you are staring out at a tornado, which is heading towards what I assumed was your hometown. Then BANG you wake up in a classroom in what appears to be the middle of a lesson.
Your character’s name is Max and she is a Photography student currently attending college, she begins this story as a shy reclusive nerd who is bullied throughout the game by certain characters for being ‘different’. Throughout the game you will grow fond of how she changes and develops as a character, which I guess is why the first episode is called Chrysalis.
Life Is Strange gives you the minimal amount of direction on what you need to do next but in some ways I quite like that; you have to discover what your character is capable of and how you are able to interact with the world around you. However, I did learn if you leave your character just hanging around for a while she will talk to you and give you the odd hint or clue should you get stuck.
Continuing on from your rude awakening in the classroom your lecturer asks you a question, as with everything throughout this game you are given a series of responses. I just went with my best guess to start with but as the game evolves you realise you have the ability to go back and change these responses.
You then finish class and head down the hallway; you are able to interact with other students and classmates if you want to or just take in the environment. Throughout Life Is Strange you realise you can do as little or as much as you want with the people and places around you, but what you also need to consider is that everything you do and do not do has an impact on the outcome of the story.
Throughout Life Is Strange you will have to work through some quite difficult topics such as bullying, suicide, drugs and death
So as I alluded to earlier one of the most poignant moments in the game is where Max realises she has ‘special powers’, she has the ability to reverse time and change the outcome of certain situations. This is started with a chance meeting with an old school friend in episode 1 that will change her life forever and hopefully capture your attention as the possibilities are endless.
Not wanting to spoil anything, what I will say is that every action has a reaction, the plus side is for the majority of situations you will be able to play out what would happen and then run with the scenario you want to see play out. However, the decisions you make quite early on often do not come to fruition until much later on.
Once you have made your choice this is where the game really starts to come into its own. You will meet a variety of characters and experience situations that but based on how you feel and the decisions you make will all reflect the story outcome as I mentioned previously.
At the end of each episode which pretty much leaves you on a cliff hanger you will be shown how other people handled the different situations. I felt indifferent about this but I found it interesting to see that other people would do in those situation.
Throughout Life Is Strange you will have to work through some quite difficult topics such as bullying, suicide, drugs and death which make it sound quite macabre and surreal but I personally feel the creators of this game wanted to make this quite thought provoking and have managed to achieve this quite well.
There will be times where you want to hurry the game along as it goes into almost a film scene and you are just left waiting, grumbling for it to finish whilst you endure hipster style but again this all adds to the character of the game.
The graphics in Life is Strange have an artsy almost comic feel to them, with their definition of the characters and the use of colour to create the mood of the game. A considerable amount of effort has been put into the dramatic scenery shots which combined with the music really makes it all come alive!
I bought this on a whim as something different to try and I wasn’t disappointed. Be aware I was playing this on a PC and was using keyboard and mouse, the game does suggest using a controller but didn’t feel I lost anything from this.
I did find it quite slow at the beginning and probably not helped with being unsure what I was supposed to do, which only meant I played for an hour or so to start with but the key to this is perseverance as you start to shape the storyline your character begins to evolve and my enjoyment factor increased.
I would suggest getting all 5 episodes as there is nothing worse than getting to the end of one and realising you have to begin downloading the others….