Thursday, 26 November 2015

Life is Strange: PS4 Review

Life is Strange: PS4 Review

Platform: PS4
Released by Dontnod Entertainment

Dontnod Entertainment is responsible for one of the most over-looked games of the past few years - Remember Me.

A clever mesh of thriller and time-twisting, Remember Me was a stylish game that never garnered the wider success it deserved. But it's served the execution of Life Is Strange in ways that perhaps couldn't have been seen.

With the news the Life Is Strange five episodic series is getting a physical release, it seems a good time to go back over the release.

Set in the world of Arcadia Bay, it's the story of photography student Maxine Caulfield who discovers that she has the ability to wind back time and thwart moments of the Butterfly effect. But as ever, with those kind of choices, there are still natural consequences to the actions.

The game opens with an apocalyptic vision of a lighthouse being destroyed by a tornado and follows it up with the murder of a friend in a bathroom. Rewinding time obviously prevents the death, but Maxine then goes all Veronica Mars and tries to solve the murders while protecting her friend and inextricably heading towards her own destiny.

Using the interactive world we've come to expect from the likes of the Telltale Games series, Life Is Strange follows a similar path, but weaves in deeper darker threads that are a lot stronger than you'd perhaps expect. With decisions having deeper emotional consequences further down the line, it takes a while for the ramifications of the Butterfly effect to really play out. But when they do, they really hit.

Maxine is a realistic protagonist, from her vulnerability to her awkwardness, the universal feeling she evokes is one many will have experienced at school or in college.  While you're confined to the areas around Arcadia Bay, the fact you revisit them time and time again makes you feel more connected to the narrative and the world within.

Ultimately, there are moments within Life Is Strange that stand out and others that slightly fall short, it's good to see another developer take some chances within the genre. It's worth taking the risk, because much like Remember Me, one suspects that Life Is Strange will come to be regarded as a title that shaped a different way of episodic gaming.


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