This month I read a bunch of time travel stories. The video-game-story Life is Strange by Square Enix was on the Steam summer sale, and I couldn’t resist something so cheap. I didn’t know too much about the game beforehand, but it had a time-travel element that screamed “POST ABOUT ME.”
Game: Life is Strange
Genre: Action/Adventure (Though, let’s be real, it’s a visual novel with a couple puzzles)
Publisher: Square Enix or Feral Interactive
Year Released: 2013
I’d never done a video game visual novel before, but I do love Portal which has some similar qualities. I’ll admit that Life is Strange dragged real hard a few times, but in the end I thought it was a very worthwhile experience. It was at least the best story I read this month.
The game starts out strong, and for the first two episodes it’s really cool to learn the world, meet new people and see how your interaction changes the opinions/actions of others. What you do about Kate is a big deal. The ‘optional photos’ are also a cool set of achievements to do while you work your way through the story.
It drags for a while in the middle and makes you wonder if it’s worth it. Then, at the end of episode 4, you get the twist and are like “I FREAKING CALLED IT!”
Episode 5, though? THAT IS WHERE IT GETS COOKING. If you buy this, make it to episode 5. It goes OFF THE RAILS and starts frying your brain. The game as I whole I just thought was alright, but the end was absolutely up my alley and amazing. You can’t really skip to episode 5 and get the same effect, though – you need to have that slow build for everything to come together and make sense.
As far as the time travel goes, it’s absolutely integral to the plot. Some of the explanations don’t make sense, but I was able to set that aside and ignore them. The gameplay time travel mechanisms were still great.
This is a serious spoiler. The innocent should shield thine eyes.
I really liked the psychological horror elements in episode 5. I loved the diary after Max went to hell. There were just so many amazing easter eggs hidden in the hellscape.
Also, I saved Chloe in the end. I know, I know – not everyone in Arcadia Bay deserved to die, but I had a huge justice boner. If Max doesn’t save Chloe, Jefferson will eventually kill Max, Victoria, Nathan, Kate, probably that drug-peddling Frank, and who knows else before he ever gets caught. I needed him to die, and I was willing to destroy everyone to make that happen.
Hope this gave you a new insight into cool things to play!
If you don’t want to fight about my choice at the end of Life is Strange, I am always willing to argue why it’s the right choice to kill Mordin and sabotage the genophage cure in Mass Effect 3.