Life is Strange review

Posted by Robert Brightling on Mon 11 September 2017

Life is Strange is a story based game where you play as Max, an aspiring photographer. Who has recently returned to her home town after 5 years to take a place at a prestigious boarding school, which is renown for its photography. After becoming embroiled in a shooting in the school toilets where a girl is shot, Max discovers she had the power to rewind time and save the girl. Throughout the adventure Max utilises her time warping ability to change the events around her, while discovering the truth about the mysterious disappearance of a girl called Rachael Reed with her old friend Chloe.

The heart of Life of Strange's interactive experience is choice. I really liked the ambiguity of the choices in the game; never sure which is the best path talk take, even when the rewind ability lets you gauge the immediate reactions and hints at the consequences. I was never sure which option would give the _better_ outcome. The choices in Life is Strange aren't good and evil choices; but rather, events and your reaction to them. Unlike many games where a choice has a direct and often immediate consequence, in Life is Strange choices can have a deep, sustained and sometimes obscure impact.

The characters are the real draw of Life is Strange; each character feels like a real person and how you interact with them makes a changes to how you experience the story. Love them, hate them, pity them, each one shapes the story in their own way. The characters will treat you differently depending on your choices; but you can't win over everyone at the same time. This leads to my choices being drive by how I wanted to interact with each character, rather than a definitive _goal_.

The rewinding ability is a great addition to the choice based gameplay. Sometimes making a choice which is then acted differently than expected by the game can result in feeling like "that wasn't the choice I made", rewinding allows for you to take back the choice and make another. It also allows you to really deliberate on which choice you feel is best, which works really well with the often ambiguous choices you have to make.

Life is strange uses a nice arts filter on all the posters and pictures you take; otherwise however, it is quite a plain looking game. Characters are unique and well designed but it lacks much in the way of artistic direction or graphical fidelity. It'd have really loved if the art direction of the game had had as much love as the story and characters obviously had; although, as an indie games and in choice of budget focus I am glad the story did get the attention and details shown.

I really enjoyed playing Life is Strange, the character drive gameplay makes for a compelling game . I want to go back, change events, make things better knowing what I know. Maybe that would ruin the illusion of choice these games represent, although I think Life is Strange maybe be an exception; but, I also feel that I should accept the choices I made. Which is certainly a lesson from the game, although maybe this time I'll get it right.