Video Game Review – Life is Strange

Life is Strange was originally released in 2015, so I’m a bit behind the curve on this one. It’s a story-based game in which choices you make affect what happens later, so you could play it again and have different things happen. In some cases it’s something minor such as killing a plant from watering it too much to something major like an entire town being destroyed.

You play photography student Max Caulfield who discovers she has the ability to rewind time. The story mainly takes place in a high school, although since it’s a private school, it has more of a college feel to it with students living on campus in dorms. It’s a very cinematic game that focuses more on story than pressing buttons quickly. A lot of the game is about picking the right things to say in conversations, and since Max can rewind time, you can experiment in saying different things to people and seeing how they’ll react. I liked one scene in which you had the option of throwing a drink on someone, then rewinding so it never happened.

In many cases, you’re forced to make choices between two bad options. Some choices seem like the right thing to do at the time, but end up working out poorly later on. Other choices didn’t seem to have much impact on the story other than slightly changing the dialogue later on.

There are a lot of references to television shows like Twin Peaks and The Twilight Zone. It reminded me of Shadow of Destiny, another game featuring time travel and your choices changing the story as well as other choice-based story games like Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain. It also reminded me of the Prince of Persia Trilogy on Playstation 2 in which you could rewind time, but that was more of an action game while this is more of an interactive movie. Another game it reminded me of was Dontnod Entertainment’s previous title Remember Me. That game focused more on changing people’s memories, but it also contained the ability to rewind.

This game is good, but I can’t say it’s fun to play, since it’s actually quite harrowing. Max not only has to deal with typical teenage problems like mean girls, bullying, and a creepy security guard at school. One of her friends ends up in a viral video after being drugged at a party. Another of her friends owes a lot of money to a drug dealer. There’s suicide and murder and kidnapping. You care about what happens to the characters, so you really get wrung through the emotional ringer watching what happens to them. It’s highly recommended, but be prepared for an ordeal.

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