If you haven’t played Life is Strange yet you really should. But don’t expect to see the story through to the end—at least not yet. The game isn’t presented to you all at once and instead is broken up into five episodes. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand I like the anticipation of the next episode coming out to continue the story but on the other it’s nice when you can just marathon a game to the credits. The price is definitely wallet friendly with the each episode priced at $4.99 and the season pass going for $19.99. I sprang for the season pass but you can always buy the first spisode and purchase the season pass at a later date.

Life is Strange is a homage to the old point-and-click adventure games of yore but with a modern take akin to Telltale’s The Walking Dead game series. You play as 18 year old Maxine Caulfield aka Max who is very passionate about photography. She was uprooted from her hometown and friends by her parents and moved to Seattle where she remained throughout high school. A few years later Max finds herself back in her hometown for college after being accepted at a prestigious art school with a well known and respected photographer as her teacher. The game starts with Max at a lighthouse in an intense dark storm with roaring winds and heavy rain. Out in the distance she sees a tornado about to destroy the town she lives in when suddenly a boat is picked up and hurled at the lighthouse causing it to almost tumble down on her. All of a sudden she jolts awake in her photography class. When class dismisses you make your way to the ladie’s room and photograph a blue butterfly, which is a clever way to kick off the butterfly effect theme game is based on. Before you can leave a boy enters and starts arguing with a girl about drugs and money ending in him shooting her. You cry out but it’s too late and then something extrodinary happens—you rewind time back to when you were sitting in class which freaks you the hell out. Everything is as it was before and once class dismisses again you hastily make your way to the bathroom hoping to save the girl. You do everything you did before except this time when the argument flares up you pull the fire alarm in the bathroom in order to prevent her from being shot. You’re an everyday hero.

It is at this point you’re introduced to the main gameplay mechanic in Life is Strange that you’ll use to solve puzzles throughout the game. Most of the puzzles you’ll encounter aren’t that difficult since you can rewind time and try again if you fail while others require you to fail in order to succeed….hint hint….You’ll encounter situations throughout the story where you have to make a choice that has ramifications along the freedom to rewind time and switch your decision to see what happens. This almost feels like cheating as you’re able to see both outcomes if you wish, however, you can only see the short term effects and not how your decision affects things down the road. Knowing this I found myself winding time back to see the different ways situations played out. I’m not sure how my choices will alter the story down the road, but it’s fun to experiment in each situation to see both outcomes. The campus is plastered with missing person’s posters for a girl named Rachal Amber who has mysteriously gone missing. Through a turn of events you end up discovering the girl you saved in the bathroom is your childhood friend Chloe and that her and Amber were close when you moved away. Chloe tells you that your abscense was very tough on her and you can see she’s been dealt a shit hand ever since. I like how relatable these characters are. I understand Max’s quirkiness and what it’s like to have a handful of friends while existing on the outskirts of the social scene. I also know how weird it can be moving from a small town to a big city and how much people you grew up with can change. Like Max and Chloe, I didn’t talk to one of my best friends for quite some time but once we reunited it was like time never passed. This story is about a strong reunited friendship.

I only have a few nitpicks with the game overall. My main issue is that the facial animation, specifically with spoken diolague, is poor and doesn’t sync well with the audio. My other gripe is that some of the personalites of the people you run in to can come off a little over exxagerated. Specifically Chloe with her overuse of the word “hella”. With that said these are my only two issues.

Those minor annoyances aside I love everything about this game. I love the little things like how at the beginning you can choose to read through Max’s journal while she is in class. Doing so rewards you with a deeper understanding of Max and her relationship with her friends and everyone you meet. I liked being able to see her views on life situations. It helped make her that much more relatable to me which brings me to my next point. These characters, while sometimes cliche, are grounded and believable. Life is Strange doesn’t raise the bar for graphics but has a beautiful style all it’s own. Overall Episode One has been a joy to play and I can’t wait to dive in to explore the environment and document it through the lens of Max’s camera.

I’m a geek who loves video games, wings, beer, dinosaurs, Star Wars, and technology. My wife and I have a tripod cat, but she’s an asshole. Because she’s a cat.

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