Life is Strange

I really wanted to like this game. While it’s not a game in the traditional sense, the industry has evolved to the point where we have games like Life is Strange. I hopped on the train late and was looking forward to it because of the fan response, but it was a pretty huge let down the more I played through this. At its core, it’s just a choose your own adventure with very little interaction from the player. The story follows Maxine Caulfield who just moved back to her childhood town of Arcadia Bay to enroll at Blackwell Academy, a high school that specializes in the arts. She discovers that she has the ability to rewind time after she witnesses the murder of her friend Chloe by local douche Nathan Prescott. Between all this she has visions of her town getting destroyed by a hurricane.Throughout all 5 episodes, she goes on a quest with Chloe to learn about her powers and figure out what happened to local student Rachel Amber. The story itself as it’s presented by the end of the series is just okay. It plays out like a high school drama with the aspect of time travel thrown in. Insert self entitled rich kids, outsiders not accepted into said rich kid club, adults that are one dimensional, and a family that owns the local town; throw in other archetypes that can be found in any of the teen dramas on ABC Family. I’ll admit that those stories aren’t normally my cup of tea butt I can buy in if the overall premise is carried out well, but Life is Strange fails to make the choices feel weighted by the end of the series. The twist was fairly predictable and the ending was what I was hoping they wouldn’t do since it practically gave it away during the first episode. Then there’s the matter that I felt like I really wasn’t that involved all the way through. The voice acting and dialogue itself didn’t help ease the pain along the way. The lines weren’t exactly the best quality and were pretty one dimensional and the voice acting didn’t make it memorable. Max, for example, sounded like she was whispering the whole damn time; even when they had a party scene she was just whispering louder. One good thing I can say about Square Enix and the team at Dontnod is that given some of the thematic elements, they gave a great effort of trying to provide resources if players responded in certain ways to what was presented. If they did attempt making a sequel I would recommend that they include choices that have more weight to them by the end of the road, QTE’s along the way so a player can feel more involved, and flesh out the story more so it isn’t predictable from the start. Maybe I missed something that everyone else seems to click with, but this was a highly disappointing title given the hype it received.

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