Editor's Pick

Life Is Strange Review: The Bar For Narrative Driven Games Has Been Set

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I expected?Life Is Strange to be a gimmicky narrative game where time-bending powers was only introduced by the developers so players can change key decisions as they see fit. But as I poured hours into the game, I realized that I can?t live without the time-reversing mechanic and I got sucked-in the game?s interesting story and the thorough attention to detail in each area of the game. This episodic game by Dontnod Entertainment embodies what narrative driven games with branching storylines should be.

Life Is Strange Review

You play as a schoolgirl named Maxine Caulfield who has the power to bend time. As Max, you have the ability to change time at will including your key decisions and the way you talk with other characters. This mechanic shines with the game?s story where deciphering what?s right from wrong is difficult.

LIS is unlike other story driven games like Telltale Game?s The Walking Dead where your decisions consist of knowing what the best course of action is or what decision is the lesser evil. Except for Episode 2, the game never fully reveals the best key decision and not all choices immediately affects events in the present. Choices made as early as Episode 1 can have a bearing on Episode 4. Upon playing the game twice, I noticed a few added or altered scenes if certain decisions are made and this actually adds to the longevity of the game.

Your terrible decisions early in the game can affect you in latter episodes.

Your terrible decisions early in the game can affect you in latter episodes.

Strolling Around, Looking at Stuff, and Taking Pictures

Each area of the game is littered with papers, photos, and emails that help you know more about the characters in the game. The game also rewards players with looking at things as it gives players more conversation options and there are also some codes that can be used for latter episodes. There are also some things and messages that can actually aid players in making key decisions and being able to pull-off things like these feels rewarding.

There are countless hidden subjects you can photograph in each episode.

There are countless hidden subjects you can photograph in each episode.

The time-bending mechanic can be used for changing minor events such as a schoolmate getting hit by a football or saving a bird from dying. Rewinding time helps Max undo these events or warn people to avoid them from getting into accidents. This minor attention to detail makes LIS come together and feel like a holistic and immersive game.

Cartoonish And Doodle Designs

Doodle looking borders appear around items to signify that you can interact with them. This design matches with the school vibe that the story shows and it makes the art style feel unique. Take note that Episode 1 actually has terrible looking graphics and character blocky looking characters, thankfully, the graphics have been improved in the succeeding episodes.

Verdict

Life Is Strange sets the bar for narrative driven games. There is thorough attention to detail to make each area satisfying to explore and players will truly feel like a time-bending detective who is trying to piece all of the puzzles and trying their best to make the right decisions. A strong plot helps piece all of the game?s mechanics.

?There are a couple of dull moments in the game, however, the game truly picks up steam when it wants to. Players who invest in the game will surely be rewarded and players will surely feel excited to see how their decisions play out in the end. Thinking of Life is Strange?s episode 1 to 4 as a package, I give the?game a 9.2 out of 10.

*This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 4. The reviewer has yet to play Episode 5 Polarized.? This game is available on the PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.

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