‘Life is Strange’ even in video games

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First Posted: 3/12/2015

Episodic adventure games are all the rage these days thanks to the popularity of the Telltale Games like “The Walking Dead.” Almost all of them are based on popular shows, movies, and games, but none of them are original stories like “Life is Strange.”

“Life is Strange” has a great pedigree because it is a collaboration between Dontnod Entertainment the creator of “Remember Me” and Square Enix who are behind many popular series like “Final Fantasy.”

“Life is Strange” expands on the conventions of recent adventure titles by allowing the player to rewind time. This revolutionizes the genre because not only do your choices effect the story, they can effect the past, present and future of your character. Being able to manipulate time changes everything and leads to an incredible amount of possibilities for the story to play out, but you won’t know how your choices effect the story long term until it actually plays out.

The story is set in a fictional town named Arcadia Bay located near Oregon, and you play as a young girl named Maxine who loves photography. During her time in Arcadia Bay, Maxine witnessed a murder, and needless to say she was shaken up, enough to make her realize she had the ability to reverse time and change the outcome of certain situations. She can now use her newfound ability to solve the crime, thwart corruption and other mysteries in her town.

Having the ability to change time opens up the most important question of the game, what choices would you make if you already knew the outcome? How will you change things for the better? Luckily the game warns you when you are about to make an important decision allowing you to rewind time to make a different decision if you want. Just like most adventure games the decisions you make change the story and your interactions with characters change how they think of you. Only now, if you aren’t happy with the decision you make, you can go back and change it or you can decide to forego interactions in order to gather more evidence about the murder, it’s up to you.

You won’t know how each choice you make will effect things until later episodes so you don’t really know what the correct answer is. The things going on are certainly not as fantastical and as emotionally impactful as a zombie outbreak. They are more like every day events like insecurities, school trouble, friendships and abuse. It’s more like a episode of “One Tree Hill” then a game, except you can control time.

If you are looking for an action game, look somewhere else. This game has no fighting at all, it’s all about exploration and interactions with other characters. Even though the story isn’t mind blowing, it is a really interesting experience trying to decide which is the best way to manipulate events and see what the result is.

It’s not often you see new game series these days, most game developers make sequels and it’s great to see companies not only making new games but innovating on genres that are well established and taking hard topics and making them relatable to everyone. I can’t wait to see what “Life is Strange” holds in the episodes to come, it is doing some interesting things so far and shows a ton of promise.