When I first delved into the episodic game series, Life is Strange it captivated me with it’s dorm-room/college-esque atmosphere and it’s intriguing story centered around the Butterfly Effect, and Chaos Theory. The plot follows 18 year-old Max(ine) Caulfield, who suddenly realizes she can somehow rewind time. (never really explained HOW, but I digress.) She finds out by watching her old childhood bestie, Chloe, get shot in the girls bathroom, turning back time to save her life, and by doing so, unknowingly (because of the butterfly effect) dooms the game’s setting of Arcadia Bay to get destroyed by a gigantic storm.
Throughout the story a bunch of stuff happens, there's a missing student, a conspiracy with Chloe’s step-father, a subtle romance, and even an M Night Shyamalan style twist added for good measure. I won't go too in depth so I don’t give away any spoilers to those who are intrigued. Life is Strange’s strong point is definitely the characters, though sometimes incredibly cringe worthy, they are very well developed. Especially Chloe’s character, as we get to learn how she changed from being a girl like any other, into a troubled and problematic teenager.
However, the game is not without its flaws. The writing, though hilarious at times (mostly for the wrong reasons) isn’t the best. Life is Strange has a very “hipster” feel to it, with words like “nosh” and sentences like “are you serial” causing some extra cringe worthy moments in scenes with dialogue. In some cases, it works well, like when Max and certain plot-relevant students of Blackwell are interacting with each other, but in scenes that are meant to be taken seriously, It sticks out like a sore thumb. Also, the story, while a very interesting concept, gets incredibly convoluted in later episodes, from going further back in time via polaroids, to literally making an alternate universe. The story loses its charm quickly, and while the characters are well written, some are obvious blatant stereotypes like the princess, Victoria, the overbearing father cop, the social outcast, Max, though the game adds a few twists here and there, it's not enough to make that big of a difference.
Overall, Life is Strange is wasted potential, it started out as a great narrative about the strange life of a teenager (get it? come on, I know you at least smirked) that could turn back time, and through those actions cause something much bigger than herself. But by making the story way too convoluted and having atrocious writing that could be paralleled to The Breakfast Club meets Sonic the Hedgehog it squanders the potential it once had. I’d say if you’re curious, check it out for what it's worth, it was interesting at times. However, if you’re looking for a deeply written, well-thought out narrative, you aren’t going to find it here.
Life is Strange gets a 6/10
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Dontnod Entertainment
Price: $21.99 (for all episodes 1-5)
Platforms: PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC
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