02-24-2016, 10:14 PM
Post currently under construction.


Life is Strange

Game Genre: Cinematic Movie
Developing Studio: Dontnod Entertainment
Published by: Square Enix


I try not to really spoiler but even what I say can partly spoiler so you might be careful while reading.

So, as a great fan of cinematic movie games and being attracted by Square's Life is Strange trailers a while ago I finally decided to buy the full Limited Edition that has recently come out and now have it for about 3 weeks.

And in 2 weeks I ran 3 times through Life is Strange.

Now what exactly is Life is Strange and what is a Cinematic Movie Game?

There are various popular CMGs, such as Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls by Quantic Dream or The Walking Dead by Telltale Games. They rely heavily on the narrative aspect of the game and narrow down the player's options to just moving and some interaction which leads to some events that could often have turned out different in case you chose something else.
That is often very much liked by many players and more disliked when they realize a game does not care that much about what you have chosen.

But I see that different. I love my canonical stories. It is true, in some games you have some more options and that results in some slight changes but normally you always have your core aspects of the story, otherwise this lack of focus would mean you would have either story changes too major or maybe even some loss of quality as you can never be sure that lack of focus turns out to still make fleshed out details possible - but some even like them nevertheless, so that's much a preference thing.

Life is Strange's Story is sweet. And it makes absolutely no sense. But no matter how much you think it makes no sense and it bugs someone like me, for every moment you just sit back and enjoy it because you can look over those things (or at least try to do it) you will be rewarded. Sometimes you just have to be aware that an author always is allowed to ignore logic as much as he wants to tell the story he wants and maybe even creates his own logic then (even though it technically is no logic then for us but it is still his universe).

Life is Strange is a story about the young photography student Maxine Caulfield.
Maxine finds her consciousness sent through time to witness the popular example of the butterly effect: Her vision shows her a devastating hurricane. She then wakes suddenly up in class on Blackwell Academy like nothing has happened. But she knows this felt real.
Only a few minutes later she is truly confronted with not just her consciousness being connected to the power of time, but her entire body. During her timeout in the girl's room she has to watch some surspicious scenario. Then, like a reflex and not accepting what she has just seen she just raises her hand.

And she is back in class.

She discovered her powers of manipulating space and time.

Those powers are what she wants to test so she can hinder the scenario she jas just seen in the girl's room from happening. And who knows? Maybe even more?
But not just that. She is also not affected by her own powers, or even if, only partly. Really the only thing that totally limits her is her exhaustion that eventually comes with it or from other causes. She can also not actually travel as much back as one might think but if that is really just because of exhaustion or simply because she cannot is not really said. One thing is for sure though: Her powers grow. And this way even her limits can be broken.

Now, as Max is back in her hometown Arcadia Bay she soon finds out about the current live of her best and childhood friend Chloe Price. Even though her best friend has had to cope with some serious events in the past, their bond is shown to be as strong as someone could wish about people who really mean something for each other. They argue, Chloe is talking about her issues, her anger, her fear, they find a way to catch up on the last 5 years they did not have together and it becomes clear that the bond between those girls is supposed to last forever, a bond that could never be teared apart.
Through nothing. No trouble, not even time and space itself.

There is something else though. Months have passed already since Blackwell student Rachel Amber, well known and popular by most people, has suddenly vanished without a trace.

And not just that. Chloe was best friends with Rachel after Max has left Arcadia Bay.

It is time to find out about their friendship, Chloe's feelings for Max and Rachel and what has truly happened to her. Why are there so many people suspicious? What about this ominous drug dealer Frank that sometimes sells something to Chloe and seems to know Rachel? What about Nathan, the snobby little Blackwell student and child of the family who owns the Academy? He has some serious mental issues and has shot Chloe, only for Max to reverse time and save her with that causality paradox so what else could you expect from him? Why is Chloe's stepfather and security of Blackwell so paranoid that he spies on poor, currently by so many students bullied Kate Marsh who really has enoug problems and cannot even keep his house camera free? All Max wanted at Blackwell was to learn from her idol in photography, Mark Jefferson, a famous photographer, but with trouble waiting around all corners and challenging Max's nerves and newly won powers, this is far from just easy to do.

And ... what consequences does all this have? What does it mean? Why was Max blessed with such a gift and why is she doing all this?


Now what do I have to say about Life is Strange?

Life is Strange has some major aspects: Max's powers and her relationship with Chloe. Chloe is pretty much the second main character and the story is a pretty normal one (except the supernatural part). The entire detective aspect to find out about Rachel and help Kate as well as Max constantly using her power to help and save Chloe or others shows how much she would do to help others, do what in her eyes is the right thing to do and the most important: How important Chloe is to her.

The entire game is about Max and Chloe. Which by the way both are bi-curious but that is not a big part of the game itself (in a more latent way and later for certain moments it is something that someone should be aware of though, some cute little things about those characters, I'd say that also flesh them out - and my imagination LOL), the strong bond of friendship is the main focus and I just love those emotional stories with some certain character relationships, especially when it comes to what you would do for them or simply so much shows how much they mean to you (the character).


Now of course I am getting so annoyed often by the game. Once episode 4 comes into play, the game no longer is sure about what it wants with the time travelling thing. At first it was fine with the causality paradox of just erasing things. But then the terminology and some events play a role which seem to show it is also about multiversal branches. You never find out though if by using terms like "timeline" and "alternate reality" they really mean parallel existing ones or just synonymously used those words for a changed time (that would be better though as it would add more meaning to the events and would not just leave those timelines behind but really, the terminology is twisted here and much makes no sense in the first place). In the end you just should not think too much about it.

Now one other thing that play a major role is the ending of Life is Strange. It gets very pseudo-philosophical as you can actually choose betwen two options (though if another game comes out and they decide to bring back the characters - which was not said though, it was said that others would be used but we never know) they obviously would have to reveal a true ending.
The thing is that you have two inhuman options. This is not about right or what in general and the only person that claims there is something right or wrong about it, no matter if morally or whatever is the real inhuman thinking person. It is a choice you have to make for the context that is the right for you.
And I have looked at this game through Max's eyes. To see what the focus of the game is and make my decision the way I am sure Max would do. Many would choose different and that is okay. Just keep in mind only your personal feeling, a feeling, and nothing else counts here. In certain relations you can make the right choice. But you will never have one thing being more right than the other here.

This is very cryptic I know but I cannot tell too much without spoilering.

Now what I like so much about the game is its narrative aspect and a good part of the soundtrack that touches my heart. The bond between Chloe, the most important thing in the game is what is also the most important thing for me (as said, keep in mind that does not need to be reason enough for you at the end, it is just for me as I feel Max would choose because of that).

Life is Strange is a game that really shows you how much and on how many levels something can influence you. And that is just great.

I do not know what else to say. This is a masterpiece. It manages with a very minor gameplay aspect to still not let you just watch (which is good as just choosing and doing nothing else would suck for me in CMG) and at the same time keeps telling the story at a fantastic pace.


Oh yes, and:



Rating: 9001/10

02-25-2016, 12:05 AM
Man I really have to get around to playing this sometime, don't I...

02-25-2016, 12:08 AM
Man I really have to get around to playing this sometime, don't I...