Archives: life is strange

I played – Life is Strange: Before the Storm

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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.

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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 – 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.

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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.

 

 

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