Gamer Goodies: Life is Strange
This might not be as old or off the wall title as Monkey Island 2 or Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime, but it is a very unique game that takes storytelling to a very different level. Life is Strange is a cross between The Walking Dead game by Telltale Games and Veronica Mars. The key thing about this game is that you have the ability make decisions that really affect the story and otherwise we are lead around through conversations, through searching for things, but it’s not an open world game that way, you are always led into the story.
Kristen and I played through this game in two days, which doesn’t seem like it would have a ton of content to it, but it would hard to play that game any longer. When I say it is like Veronica Mars, I mean it’s very like Veronica Mars, you are a high school student, Max, who finds out that things at her school aren’t quite as normal as had thought. When she witnesses a murder, she learns that she has the ability to turn back time and rewind and do things differently. That is where the decision making comes in, sometimes you can choose to rewind a decision or action that allows you to progress forward, and sometimes it is a decision that you have two different choices and you can play through both for their immediate aftermath and see what happens. This really allows you to tailor Max into the character you want her to be.
The story is very intense, so I would recommend playing it with someone, Kristen and I had plenty to talk about with it as it touches on a number of issues that don’t show up often in video games or at least that aren’t handled well. In this case they handle the sensitive issues with a great deal of respect and rarely misstep treating issues with the respect that they deserve. The couple of cases where they do are very jarring because of how well they handle everything else. The only other slight criticism of this game that I would have is that they take away some choices that they really should give you and it feels a bit like you are railroaded through a scene. In my case, my version of Max was a timid and compassionate and there is a scene where she gets handed a gun, and there was no way for me to decline that even though it didn’t make sense with how I played her. But for the most part you don’t even notice that in the story as they handled it so well. Like I said about them handling most things tactfully, when you don’t get a choice, ,it is jarring.
Overall this is an engrossing game and a very heavy game. Even though it is tough and difficult with the decisions that you have to make, and even though it’s fairly linear in terms of that the story will always have the same major plot points and twists and turns, it is a game that you can play more than once. I would say that it is a game that I won’t play again often, but there are different choices that you can always make, and for that reason I’ll want to play it again sometime. This is a game for gamers and non-gamers alike, and is on a variety of platforms. It’s also only the first season, though the second season won’t have the same characters, so the development company says, but it should still be interesting if they keep it the same style of story.
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