Life Is Strange: Episode 1 Chrysalis
*Superb Voice Acting
*Interesting, Real World Characters
*Occasionally Bland Graphics
Life Is Strange is a refreshing change of pace for anyone in need of a palate cleanser for the usual first person shooters and MMORPGs, that seem to be releasing at a lightning pace. Set in the backdrop of Blackwell Academy, you play as Max, a burgeoning 18 year old girl who’s obsessed with photography, music, literature and a missing girl by the name of Rachel Amber.
The amount of choices, objects to interact with, and the superb voice talent is apparent from the beginning. Right away you’re given the impression that every little interaction will have some kind of effect on the future of the game in an interesting way. And you’re not overwhelmed with a ton of dialogue choices, some of which may or may not affect the story at all, like many other titles in the genre. What you read, what you choose, will have an impact.
Life Is Strange draws you in with high quality storytelling, voice acting, attention to detail, compelling subject matter and a clever rewind mechanic. As your adventure moves forward, you’re given the ability to use the rewind mechanic to traverse obstacles, solve puzzles, and manipulate conversations in your favor. The ultimate goal, from what I can surmise so far, is to find out under what circumstances Rachel has gone missing, why your hometown is facing imminent danger, and why exactly it is you’ve been “chosen” to have this uncanny power to traverse time, in the first place.
The game is fairly straightforward, but it’s charm is in its diverse set of characters that you get to know intimately. As well as choose how you’re going to affect both their life, if at all, and yours. Your choices are baited by immediate rewards, or the possibility of reaping greater benefits down the line. It’s also very possible your choices will cause nothing but chaos as well. Even when you have the choice to rewind, and choose a particular path again, you’re often left wondering, “Was that the right move? Did I miss something that would have led to a more well informed decision? Is there even a ‘right’ decision, in this scenario?”
There’s also a ton of pop culture references throughout the game, that help to keep things entertaining, and lighten the often heavy, somewhat somber tone of the game. A reference to Stephen King’s “The Shining”, had me smiling from ear to ear at one point and other random surprises had me laughing aloud.
The only thing negative I have to say about Life Is Strange so far, is that the graphics at times can be quite bland. This is exemplified below with a screenshot of the grass in Blackwell’s schoolyard below. Given that this is a game that strives for realism, I felt like the art direction took me out of the experience at times.