What better time to share my thoughts on the first four episodes of Life is Strange than on our protagonist Max Caulfield’s birthday.
I’ve been dying to play this game for a while and kept hoping it would go on sale on Steam, but I gave up waiting and bought it on my PS3….just a few days ago. Needless to say, I devoured the four available episodes.
In the game, you’re Max (not Maxine!), an 18-year-old slightly awkward chick attending a very prestigious art school in the Pacific Northwest called Blackwell Academy, where you major in photography. Not only do you have to navigate communicating with the popular kids (SUP BRAH), you also attempt to solve the disappearance of a fellow student. Then you also end up reconnecting with your former best friend, now punk rock BFF Chloe, whose life you end up saving when you discover you have a new power that allows you to rewind time.
I’ve always been more about story than being the best at killing things in a game or having the best weapons/armor, so this game was right up my alley. The game guides you along, prompting you to complete tasks, such as searching for clues, dumping buckets of paint on the popular girl or chatting with specific people, along with making some pretty intense moral decisions that will have a huge impact on the rest of your game. It’s very similar to Telltale games in that way, but with barely any rapid action commands to stress you out. But the bonus? You get to rewind time! That’s right, if you do something and you’re not a fan of the outcome, you can just use your rewind power and do it all over again. And if you don’t like that, feel free to rewind and do the first option again! This power also allows you to score cool/smart points in conversations and use that info to do the conversations over again for better results. Something I’m sure we all we wish we had in high school.
The game is so insanely detailed from your text messages (NO EMOJI!) to all the items you can interact with. There are also a number of Twin Peaks and X-Files references throughout. Chloe’s truck’s license plate is TWNPKS. You can see “FIRE WALK WITH ME” on a bathroom mirror at the Two Whales Diner (which I am obviously likening to the Double R Diner in Twin Peaks). And it says “TRUST NO ONE” everywhere, so I assume Mulder wrote that. The whole small town atmosphere where everyone knows everybody’s business is very Twin Peaks-ey in general.
Without being spoilery, I will just say that this game really sucks you in. It might come off a bit off-putting at first with how stereotypical the teens seem to be, but then you get into it and start saying “hella” all over again. (I was, admittedly, already a voracious user of “hella” so that wasn’t bad for me.) Plus, the SHAKA BRAHS and DANK WEED YO end up being pretty hilarious. Just roll with it.
The story reminded me a lot of Veronica Mars season 3 since you’re trying to figure out why so many girls are experiencing being drugged and blacking out, not knowing what happened to them. Even Chloe, Max’s best friend, had this happen to her. But the real concern is the missing girl, Rachel, who took Max’s place as Chloe’s BFF until she disappeared. So, you navigate the perilous halls of high school to solve this mystery while rekindling your friendship with Chloe. And in the background is an impending apocalypse. NO BIGGIE. So, yeah, there’s a lot going on. But you get really attached to Max and Chloe. To the point where you’ll probably be rioting at the end of episode 3 and then crying a whole bunch throughout episode 4. THIS GAME IS VERY MEAN, but SO SO GOOD. I cannot emphasize how good it is.
So, please play it so I can talk to you about it. Also, take care of Lisa. But don’t over-water her.
The soundtrack is also so chill (and on Spotify!) that I’ve been listening to it over and over again since I started playing it. And also to comfort me until episode 5 comes out October 20.