Developer: DONTNOD Entertainment
Publisher: Square Enix
Review Context:I love interactive adventure games for the great experience and storytelling they provide. I have played and enjoyedThe Wolf Among Us, The Walking Dead Game Seasons 1 and 2, Heavy Rain, and Beyond:Two Souls.
Date of Playthrough: April 3, 2015
At the end of the first episode, our main protagonist, Max, found out the real reason behind her recurring nightmares. To make things even more complicated, it started snowing in Arcadia Bay, a very rare occurrence which has not happened for years. The tragic event from her nightmares will become reality in the future, and she bears the responsibility of finding out a way to prevent it from taking place, or at least warn people to avoid casualties. This episode takes place just a few days after the events that took place in the first episode.
Max has been trying to understand the nature of her powers by doing research on time travel and worm holes with the help of her close science-geek friend Warren, who does not yet know of her time manipulating powers. She also has plan to meet up with her best friend Chloe at the diner to prove to her that her time powers are in fact real, after revealing to her that she possesses them. Another close friend of hers, who goes by the name of Kate is involved in a scandal at school which has left her in deep depression. There are signs of foul play at work here, and Max has taken it upon herself to find out what really happened and bring her friend to high spirits again. Max Caulfield has a lot on her plate here; not only does she have to find a way to save her town from an incoming disaster, she also has to clear her friend’s name and juggle school work. Oh, what a life.
The gameplay in this episode has not changed much, but it was definitely more creative. I especially love the segment where you had to prove to Chloe that you really could rewind time. I don’t want to elaborate on this more much in fear of spoiling too much but, just know that it’s very clever and it will leave you very pleased. There were significantly more tense moments in this episode, and in each of them, you had to use your time powers creatively to achieve success. These were very welcomed as they were intense, fun, riveting, and very satisfying. There were also a lot more major choices to make this time around; some of these were tough, and I found myself taking a couple minutes to make up my mind and even rewinding time to pick a different choice. There was a dialogue segment in this episode where I was not able to prove something because of a certain choice i made in the first episode. This blew my mind, so much so, that I felt the need to go back to said episode in order to make the desired choice. So yes, your choices do matter and that’s definitely a good thing because who wants to make decisions that do not hold any weight? The writing and dialogue have improved for the better, but the lip syncing and awful character stereotypes need to be addressed. These issues are by no means game-breaking, but they do stand out at times.
This game has collectibles and you find them by taking pictures of various items you come across in the game. If you miss some, you can always go to collectible mode, in which you’re replaying the episode, but it does not affect the the choices you already made, only the amount of collectibles you have. One neat feature in this game is accessing the journal. To access this, you simply press the touch pad button on the PS4 controller, and from there you are able to brush up on information on all the important characters you have met thus far; read text messages, and look at pictures you have taken. I remember writing from my episode one review that i wanted to see a new time power introduced. Well it happened towards the end of this episode, and the way it was executed was absolutely genius and was easily the biggest highlight. One last bit of interesting information to note is that at the end of the episode, all the choices you made are noted down, as well the percentage of people who made the same choices and chose differently.
I liked the soundtrack in this episode; It did not blow me away but it got the job done. I especially liked listening to Max’s selection of indie rock music and I even found myself vibing to them during my playthrough. I also loved how the soundtrack would amp up during tense situations. The voice acting is not the cream of the crop, but the execution is solid and it does a good enough job at bringing these characters to life. The graphics still hold up to snuff in this episode; I still love the art direction and the meshing of canvas painting and 3D models. I also got to traverse more locales this time around, which was pretty cool. Aside from the school dormitory and the schoolyard, I got to explore a junkyard and the back of a diner. This may not sound like much, but a change in scenery is always nice. All in all, I got a lot enjoyment from the graphics and the soundtrack, and as long the good folks at DONTNOD ENTERTAINMENT keep this up, they should be fine.
In my personal opinion, Life Is Strange has established itself as a standout game in the genre with this episode. This episode was not perfect, but it was a significant improvement from the first.The pacing was excellent, the writing and dialogue improved, a new power was introduced, and the gameplay was very clever. I found myself fully engaged throughout my entire playthrough, and there was never a moment I felt bored or disinterested. I loved this episode, but at the end of the day, there are still three episodes left. So the question remains, will the remainder of the series be a home run, or a crash and burn? Only time will tell.
Similar Games Liked:
The Wolf Among Us (PS4)
The Walking Dead Season 2 (PS4)
Heavy Rain (PS3)
Tales From The Borderlands (PS4)