REVIEW: Life Is Strange – Episode 1

Logo owned by Square Enix for Life is Strange.

There will be no review grade/score for single episodes.

On the 30th of January Square Enix released the very first episode of Dontnod Entertainment‘s Life is Strange. Very much like the classic Telltale-style of game, this is an interactive, episodic, story-heavy game. The game is about Max Caulfield a female student at Blackwell Academy – whereat she studies photography. Max is a very shy girl, and as the game progresses you are thrown into very clear-cut choices – be heroic, friendly – or be a bully, be nosy. In that respect, the choices seem like those in the inFAMOUS games by Sucker Punch, and thus I don’t think it has that punch that Telltale has – at least not yet.

Again, unlike Telltale-games, the dialogue isn’t very strong – and at times it didn’t feel very natural. Also, I would’ve liked a more experienced Voice Actor as the main character – but then again, everyone starts somewhere. The first episode introduces you to the rewind-mechanic – meaning that you can reverse time. When handled well, this can be fun to do – and I thought it was in the opening episode.

The story is cute – with many inside references – and there are a lot of plotpoints to work out in the episodes to come. The game has a lot of stock characters – the shy girl, the mean girls, the spoiled brat, the jocks, the (to us) not-so-secret admirer, and hipster characters.

The story is really entertaining when you interact with Chloe, an old friend that’s changed a lot since you last saw her. Her family is troubled, and she’s gotten herself into a lot of trouble. An interesting subplot in this game is the disapperance of Rachel Amber – I have some ideas – but we’ll have to see about that. One thing’s for certain, Chloe is in need of help.

As I mentioned, the dialogue isn’t very good – and I’d add that there are some cringeworthy moments. It has a lot of potential though, and I am excited to see what comes next. The art-style has its ups and downs, and it is extremely annoying to constantly have problems with lips not synced with the voiceacting. It runs much smoother than Telltale games, but with that having been said – background characters aren’t that detailed. I do prefer the art-style of Telltale – but the level of quality is much higher here.

I am excited about the future of this game. As a pilot it works really well, the story is interesting – if you snoop around you’ll get some ideas – and it ends with everyone having an idea of what’s to come.

I’m Jeffrey Rex

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