Arts & Entertainment Editor
When you give a girl the power to travel through time and pair that up with a destined-to-die best friend, you get “Life Is Strange.”
“Life Is Strange” follows the trials and tribulations of Max Caulfield, a time-traveling hipster girl, and her friend Chloe, a blue-haired punk girl, and how Caulfield’s decisions unfold over the course of what seems like the longest week of her life. The game opens with Caulfield walking through a huge hurricane in Arcadia Bay and then waking up in her classroom, realizing it was all a vision.
“Life Is Strange” was released in five episodes from Jan. 30, 2015, to Oct. 20, 2015. There are plans for a physical release, but DONTNOD Entertainment, the game’s developer, focused primarily on creating its digital product.
DONTNOD Entertainment also developed “Remember Me,” which dealt with similar themes, but the two games have two completely different presentations.
Players are forced to make decisions, which supposedly alter the course of gameplay as the week goes on. It seems to be based on the butterfly effect or the chaos theory.
The butterfly effect is the idea that a small act can snowball into a big reaction that could be seemingly unrelated. The overarching idea of chaos theory is that the present can determine the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future, as stated by Edward Lorenz, the man behind the chaos theory and the butterfly effect.
“Life Is Strange” is an adventure game that advertises that every single one of the player’s decisions matter, right up to the climax and conclusion of the game, but, with the fifth episode completed, one of the most appealing parts of the story seems broken.
This game doesn’t require players to be quick on their feet because the simple fact is, no matter what happens, time, decisions and actions can be altered. A simple example of this in-game is an unfortunate character, Alyssa, who seems to be the target of random flying objects.
Caulfield can rewind time and warn her of the impending danger, and she moves out of the way, clear of any stray footballs or rolls of toilet paper.
It is here where players wonder whether something this small can contribute to the big storm that comes at the end of the week.
Honestly, it doesn’t feel like it does, after everything that happened. Everything seems so futile at the end of the game. Even players’ huge decisions seem to make little impact.
That being said, the storytelling up until episode five is fantastic. Players can navigate through the world, learn things about their classmates and even give classmates advice (after players rewind time) on certain topics.
Caulfield’s personal narrative is how I used to think in high school sometimes, and though it may seem annoying to some, it was a nice little touch for me.
The characters are presented as stereotypes: nerds, jocks and hipsters, which define the characters at the start, but, as time goes on, they get dismantled and morph into unique characters.
These characters help form a narrative that is reminiscent of high school and make the scene so much more real.
The sense of realism is something that’s really impressive with supernatural elements.
The dialogue and actions that take place around Caulfield keep going, no matter what you do. The characters can have a whole conversation by the time Caulfield gets to them.
The world doesn’t stop moving because she’s in a conversation.
It doesn’t hurt that the graphic style in the game is gorgeous and even abstract in some cases.
If someone is looking for an adventure game, then this is where you need to point them. “Life Is Strange” is unique and genuine, and it can lead you through a powerful narrative.
It boasts a 10/10 on Steam, a 6/10 on GameSpot and an 8.8 user rating on Metacritic.