Archives: I played

I played – Life is Strange: Before the Storm

Fotu_Before the Storm_1

The first episode of Life is Strange: Before the Storm came out in late August 2017. There are 3 episodes in total plus a bonus episode which is included only in the Deluxe Edition. Since I enjoyed Life is strange so much, I was looking forward to this prequel. I was a little skeptical about playing as Chloe though. I loved Max as a character and felt ambivalent about Chloe. Her character seemed rude and annoying at times. But I went into this with an open mind and I must say it paid off.

This time Dontnod Entertainment was not involved in creating the game. They are currently working on Life is Strange 2, which is supposed to have a completely new story. They have also signed a publishing contract with Bandai Namco for a brand new story-driven game that we don’t know a lot about yet. I bet it is going to be great. I want story-driven games! Then in early 2018, Vampyr will be released.

But enough of that. Life is Strange: Before the Storm was created by Deck Nine. This American indie developer was founded over 20 years ago. Back then under a different name. Only with the creation and development of Before the Storm, they renamed themselves and started a new direction for the company:

„Meaningful storytelling and rich gameplay“.

The 3 episodes of Before the Storm have just that. A compelling story with deep characters and an entertaining gameplay.

You play as Chloe in the time when Max is still in Seattle. We get to know how painful the separation for Chloe was and how much she tried to stay in contact with Max. You learn that through diary entries which are updated throughout your gaming journey. I recommend doing that because it gives so much more insight into the character of Chloe. The episodes also introduce us to the mysterious character of Rachel Amber. A character we have only heard of in the original Life is Strange. The whole game is about the beginning of their friendship, the many obstacles they encounter and the painful experiences they make. But worry not, I won’t go too deep into the story, in case you haven’t played the game yet.

There are some new elements to the game. One being the Back Talk. In this, you have several clever options to say to some person and you are trying to convince them that you are right. You have to listen carefully to what your opponent says and answer accordingly. I failed one time throughout the first 2 episodes and several times in the third episode. I don’t know if I was less attentively while playing the last one. And to my knowledge, nothing serious happens if you fail the Back Talk. The other new element is the Graffiti option. That is a replacement for the photo mode of the original Life is Strange. Also new and very helpful for all you collectors out there is the collector’s mode which is activated once you finish an episode. You can replay sections of the game to try and find missed Graffiti options. Every Graffiti will get you a nice popping achievement.

One of the Highlights of this game was again the music. Maybe it was even a little better than in the first one, which is astounding in itself because the music was perfectly picked there. Throughout the game, I was in tears 2-3 times and I blame that on the music. The British band Daughter created a whole album for this game and they also recorded music for the original Life is Strange. Watch here to see the process of creating this beautiful Soundtrack.

Fotu_Before the Storm_2

It feels like Life is Strange is almost like watching a series. And yeah, of course, it’s published in episodes, but also the general feel of it is like watching a good series. Some of the decisions you have to make during the game are damn hard. Especially one in the last episode is super tough and I was thinking about it for a while. And although I am not a teenager anymore I could still relate to the problems and emotions of the characters. The story is really well written and each episode is a good length. I would say 1-2 hours per episode. If you bought or buy the deluxe edition you will have access to the bonus episode ‚Farewell‘ which will see Chloe and Max reunited. You will be able to play as Max for a final time. The episode will release soon, probably around the end of January.

And that’s it. I give Life is Strange: Before the Storm, a big Thumbs Up. Go and experience it yourself.




I played – Valiant Hearts

In 2014 Ubisoft Montpellier released a 2D adventure puzzle that takes place during World War 1. It’s name is Valiant Hearts – The Great War. It is an anti war game and it is truly and I mean truly amazing. I have played this game 2 years ago I think, but just recently I was thinking about it again and how much it moved me. And I thought that if I can bring just one person to play this game I have done good.


Right from the beginning I knew that Valiant Hearts was that kind of game. The kind that moves you, makes you tear up and leaves you thinking. And that stays with you. After all the other games you have played, you still think about it and feel a sense of melancholy.

So, in this game you play 5 characters: the frenchman Emile, his son in law, the german Karl, the american soldier Freddy, a Belgian nurse named Anna and Walt, a dog. It comprises of four chapters that again are split into sections. The game is about love and the horrors of war. About the strength you receive from love and friendship. It is about a family that is separated by the cruelty of war and pitted against each other.

In the beginning of the game, Karl is deported by the french and put in the german army. His french wife Marie and his son Victor are left behind. Maries father Emile and Karl’s father in law has to join the french army. The two of them are in opposing armies now but the goal of the game is to reunite Karl with his wife and kid. The characters have different skills like using a bone as a makeshift lever or a wire-cutter to get through obstacles. To progress in the game you have to solve puzzles and find your way through a terrifying war landscape with bombs going off nearby and shooting and screaming. I thought that the difficulty of the puzzles was just on point. Not to tough and not to easy.

And then the music! Oh the music!

Listen to it:

I don’t remember how long it took me to finish the game but it’s said to take between 6 to 8 hours for the story. The price is around 15 $.

What I find so appealing in this game is the fact that you play in a historic event but that it doesn’t feel like the boring history class we all had to endure. History comes to life here and as I said it is terrifying, but also beautiful.

I played – 7 Days To Die

This is the first game I will be giving a review on that I played on Playstation 4. I am playing this game with two friends and we are having a blast every single time. It is like Minecraft for older people. And I would never have thought of myself as a Minecraft player.


7 Days to Die was developed by the Fun Pimps and came out in 2013 on PC. In 2016 it was published by Telltale Publishing on Playstation and Xbox One. It is called „The Survival Horde Crafting Game“.

In 7 Days to Die you build/craft and you fight zombies. During the day the zombies are slow and easy to fight but at night they are pretty fast and numerous. Your goal is to survive as many nights as possible. So you best search for shelter fast or build one yourself.

The three of us play very differently and that is what makes it so extremely funny. I am the gardener and builder. I love to plant potatoes and trees and I want our house to look great. Kathy is a mix of an explorer (most of the time she just runs out into the wilderness without bandages and food) and a builder. She creates explosives and weapons. She sweats a lot in the game. Her character is constantly close to a heat stroke and so she runs around half naked. As does Ben, the thorough and well organized explorer. He never leaves our house without proper gear. Most of the time without saying goodbye as well.

Our first move in the game was to occupy a random house and start to fortify it slowly. It really was so random. I think Kathy said „Oh, look guys, there are a few houses. We should pick one.“ Ben and myself: „Hell yeah.“ But as the game progresses we realized that we need a more advanced fortress. I have to admit that we are not very good at the game. So far we haven’t mastered the art of crafting weapons or more precisely ammunition. We are working on that at the moment. I think our final goal is to finish the new bunker, Ben’s baby. We dug a tunnel that connects our main house with the bunker. And we are very proud of said tunnel. Then we need to craft ammo and shoot the hell out of some zombies. We believe that after we accomplish that, we can call it quits and move on to Wildlands. Recon the shit out of those drug infested cartels.

The trailer below is pretty cool. I first saw it while writing this article. It makes the game look way better than it is though. I still love it. It really is best when playing with a group of friends.

I played – Virginia

I heard about Virginia on the Girl Tribe Gaming podcast (Great listen if you are looking for a game review podcast).


I had not been playing a lot of Indie games until recently. After games like Valiant Hearts or Child of Light I was certainly interested, but now I am hooked. Virginia helped a lot to fuel my enthusiasm.

It was released in 2016, developed by Variable State and published by 505 Games. It is available on all platforms.

It took maybe four hours of gameplay to finish the game. It is hard to tell though because I could not finish it in one sitting. If I remember correctly I played it on three different nights. So maybe around four to five hours.

Because I cannot, for the love of god, create a tight summary of a game, I went to Major Nelson to get a nice short tease for Virginia:

Virginia is a single-player first-person thriller set in a small town with a secret. Experience a missing person investigation through the eyes of graduate FBI agent Anne Tarver. Together with your partner, seasoned investigator Maria Halperin, you’ll take a trip to idyllic Burgess County and the secluded town of Kingdom, Virginia, where a young boy has vanished and nobody seems to know why.“

The game is really weird. It is not like any other game. You hardly act as a player in it, you rather lay back and experience it. For the most part you can not interact a lot. If you can interact with a person or an object you see a circle forming on the screen where you look. That way you know you can do something. The game is mysterious and confusing and to me it seemed like a trip. As the gamer I was hopping on a train and took a ride. I got off and was very confused and happy. Happy, because I love mysterious things. I love when you don’t quite know what the hell is going on. Like in a Kafka book.

Lyndon Holland’s  music helps create a mystifying atmosphere. It is really beautiful music! Especially „Sojourner’s Truth“ is hauntingly beautiful and reminds me of Twin Peaks. Lyndon Holland is also the co-writer of the screenplay.

I don’t want to tell you more about this game because I feel it probably plays best if you know as little as possible. I can only recommend that you play it with an open mind and a bit of time on your hand. I wish I could have played it in one sitting. Afterwards you will have many questions. But there is help for that. There are a lot of answers/interpretations in several game reviews I found. The only question is…do you want answers and interpretations? Or is it sometimes best to let your mind spin for a while?

Next up in „I played“: 7 Days To Die.



I played – Life is strange

What a game! I had only heard great things about Life is Strange and when I saw a good deal on Xbox I immediately bought it. I have to say I have never before played a game like this. Right from the start I was captured by the music. The atmosphere created by it is beautiful, dreamy and sad. I was intrigued.


You play 18 year old Max Caulfield, an aspiring photographer who attends Blackwell Academy in the fictional small town Arcadia Bay. Max spent her childhood there and then moved to Seattle for 5 years. After her return things have changed and friendships have suffered.

Life is strange is an interactive, story based adventure game. Throughout the game you are given choices that impact the game and often you have to look for clues and objects to trigger the next sequence. The game consists of 5 episodes. The first came out in January 2015, the last one in October 2015. The studio behind Life is strange is Dontnod Entertainment, a french studio established in 2008. Before Life is strange they did Remember me (2013). Their future project „Vampyr“ is coming out this year. Life is strange is available on all platforms.

So back to the game itself. Right at the beginning of the game Max discovers that she can rewind time, which becomes a well used feature as you can imagine. The gameplay overall is good, not super intuitive (at least for me), but ok. I think the most fascinating part of the game is the amount of emotion generated in the player. I had tears in my eyes not once but definitely up to 3-4 times. The choices you have to make are pretty huge at times. And with huge I mean in a philosophical/moral way. The game puts you in a spot you might not have been before, raises questions you may not have thought about before; in a way it’s a game about life ethics. And maybe the grand „What if“? Is there more than one life? Can I change lives (if given the chance of time travel) or is everything destined to happen one way or the other?

Life is strange is also pretty dark at times. Topics like suicide, bullying, murder, euthanasia and general teen angst are all in the game. At least the latter applies or applied at some point, for a lot of people. And I, although I am in my 30’s, can still remember what it felt like to be a teenager.

I really, really enjoyed the game and I can only recommend it. I am not sure about the upcoming Vampyr game though. It is hard to tell at the moment with only the trailer. Maybe it is the setting that bothers me. But anyway, go play Life is strange.

Next up in „I played“: Virginia.



Back to top