Life Is Strange feels like an interactive visual novel/adventure, but it’s also its own genre in a way because there are so few games like it. (Let me know in the comment section if you can think of any. I’d appreciate it very much.) I really enjoyed the narration style which switches between cinematic clips and letting you explore the world in almost open-world style. This game is very atmospheric, thanks to the artistic visual (completely hand-drawn according to the game makers) combined with the storyline and excellent choice of soundtracks. I’m still loving a lot of tracks from each and every episode. And Jose Gonzalez is quickly becoming my new favorite artist.
I’m still questioning whether the choices you make in game actually change much anything, considering how episode 5 ends. But still, it’s neat to see how your choices end up changing the dialogue and actions with other characters. This game is still very enjoyable despite their being only 2 endings. It really is a case of “it’s the journey that matters, not the destination” type of thing. The rewind mechanic adds a unique element to the gameplay. You can’t save the game, you can only rewind. The only complaint I have about this is that this game sometimes bugs out if I try to skip seen dialogue, which means I have to restart the game and listen to the same dialogue over again.
As far as characters go, all of them are too one-dimensional for me at first. (Max, the shy “weird” hipster girl; Victoria, the snobbish “Mean GIrl-esque” bully; Nathan, the spoiled rich kid; Warren, the “friendzoned by my female friend” science nerd… I could just go on and on.) But as more episodes come out, there appears to be more depth to their characters. It’s not G. R. R. M.’s quality of character development, but then again, we are only dealing with high schoolers, I suppose.
The pacing is nice in my opinion. It’s pretty fast-paced, considering that the game pans over a span of merely 5 days, but it’s packed nicely in each episode and not rushed. Though I find certain parts to be awfully tedious, like the part where you have to find bottles in episode 2 and the hide-and-seek in episode 5.
A game wouldn’t be worth featuring here if it didn’t have a sense of humor. If you are the type of player who likes to see every little text and detail like I am, then you probably notice little interesting things going on in the game, like that guy who put up a poster at Max’s school offering to give reward to anyone who can return his laptop full of cat pictures to him. If you look around, you will notice that there’s also a flyer of someone trying to sell a laptop full of cat pictures. (Jerk.) Also, be sure to read Max’s journal and text messages in episode 5 while she is stuck in her nightmares. And while it may seem tedious, “Look” at objects. I died when I saw this paper ball:
You should play this game if…
- …You like indie games.
- …You enjoy game with good graphics and great soundtracks.
- …You love story-rich, atmospheric games that make you feel like you can be absorbed in their world.
- …You find it fun to go around interacting with every little thing just to hear the narration on it.
You should not play this game if…
- …You hate teenage, high school tropes.
- …You find it annoying when a game requires you to interact with insignificant objects in order to progress the story.
- …Your computer can’t handle the graphics. (Seriously, it’s going to be hell.)
- …You find the mismatched lip syncing to be too distracting. (The voice acting is great, though.)
My rating: 9.5/10. I would have given it a full score, had they fix the bug and eliminate certain parts of gameplay. But overall, Life Is Strange is a gem and it takes gaming to a new genre of which I would VERY happy to see more of.