Renée (rogueslayer452) wrote,

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Life Is Strange

Life Is Strange is a character-driven episodic interactive game where every decision or action you make has an effect and consequence as the story unfolds.

Our main protagonist, Max Caulfield, is an eighteen-year-old photography student who recently discovers that she now has the ability to rewind time. How or why, that remains a mystery. After reuniting with an old childhood best friend, Chloe Price, together they set forth to investigate the disappearance of a local missing girl, Rachel Amber, who was someone Chloe was very close with. As the story goes on, they not only uncover some of the secrets hidden within their town, but also discover something about themselves as well.

One of the things I like about this game is how unexpected it is. You think you know what you're getting into, but as the game progresses it takes you for quite a ride. What starts off a simple gameplay of a shy hipster-esque girl and her punk best friend going on a Nancy Drew-like adventure with time travel, turns into something much deeper that you become emotionally immersed in. As pretty and lighthearted as the game looks, it does delve into some pretty dark territories and subject matter such as suicide, mental illness, bullying, harassment, sexual assault and rape. Though these things are done in a respectful manner, nothing that is majorly triggering or exploitative. There are also situations where the player must make difficult choices that challenges their morality, the beginning of the fourth chapter does that incredibly well. There is also a price to pay when it comes to Max's ability, as she learns quite quickly that she cannot overuse her power (since she ends up getting headaches and nose bleeds from time to time), and she has no idea how long she'll have them for. Obviously, the concept of the butterfly effect plays heavily into this game, it is the main influence of everything that is happening and Max has been chosen for this particular reason. As the series goes on it's very apparent that Max has had this special ability bestowed upon her for a reason, and she must use it wisely in order to uncover the truth about what is going down around their town, and seeing her character growth from this major responsibility is fantastic to see (even though I swear she'll need some serious therapy considering all that she's had to witness by constantly rewinding certain events).

Another thing about this game is how atmospheric it is. This isn't a fast-paced action game. While things do escalate with each chapter, the game requires you to search and roam around, look through things and talk to people in order to acquire information and clues that will most likely become important later, especially with the decisions you make that will influence what happens with certain outcomes. The game is also good with foreshadowing, and with enough mystery the fandom has been quite active with coming up with theories with what is happening and how it all connects together. The world itself is very rich with detail, and all the characters are interesting and fleshed out, and the more you learn about them the more invested you get.

There's only been four episodes released so far, the fifth and final one will be released within the next month or two, but the entire game itself so far has been quite a wild emotional rollarcoaster. With all the strange occurrences, conspiracies and mysteries, the story is essentially, at its core, about understanding the transitioning of adolescence to young adulthood, nostalgia, and the importance of friendship, particularly with female relationships.

(There are also some lesbian/bisexual vibes, as well, not just between Max and Chloe but also Chloe and Rachel, the latter mostly based around Chloe's feelings towards her. It's also worth noting that Square Enix took a chance on the game because other publishers wanted Max to become a male character instead of a teenage girl. I shouldn't be surprised, but it irritates me that this attitude still exists, so bless Square Enix for not interfering in that way.)

Altogether, Life Is Strange is a fantastic game that I highly recommend to everyone.

This is mostly a spoiler-free overview of Life Is Strange in order to give my first impressions of it along with intriguing more people to check it out, if they haven't already. I'll be making a spoilerific post soon discussing my thoughts and theories about what happened in the previous chapter and what might happen in the final one.
Tags: video games
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