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Author Topic: Life Is Strange  (Read 1325 times)

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Offline Jimbob78

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Life Is Strange
« Topic Start: February 10, 2015, 09:23:44 AM »
In a nutshell, it's the Walking Dead game but starring a Manic Pixie Dream Girl set in middle America who takes photos rather than killing zombies.
And can rewind time.
The plot is that she has returned home after four years as she turns 18 to go to college there. She hasn't kept in contact with her best friend and is scared of meeting her. The plot quickly moves on to suggest at least one missing girl from the college.
It's a gentle yet adult game. The rewind time feature is discovered quickly but so far not explained. It's not really used to escape death per say, but more to rewind a conversation to give you another opportunity to pick a different conversation path. There is no clear right or wrong path either, though sometimes rewinding does give you other options, the most early example gives you the option to answer the teacher correctly after you have heard the answer.
You also rewind to solve puzzles, usually you have worked out what you need to interact with to solve the problem already, but the game won't let you interact with that object until you have failed the puzzle, rewound and then its available. Like for instance you can see on a high ledge there is a key, and its next to a drain. You know it will fall down that if you knock it and close by there is a piece of cardboard. So you try and pick the cardboard up but there is no option to do so. So you knock the key off anyway, sure enough it falls down the drain, so you rewind time and hey presto, you can pick up the cardboard and place it over the drain this time around.
Graphically it is beautiful, as expected with Square Enix. But it has without a doubt the worst lip synching I've seen in years. It's like they haven't even tried.
The soundtrack, is beautiful. The opening section where she walks down the school corridor, plugs in her ipod, and listens to a song which I think maybe Radiohead or an acoustic Thom Yorke, is just so bittersweet.
I'm about 2 hours in to the first episode (they are released monthly) and I think at a four quid this is definitely worth a play. There is also replay value in using the different choices (which we are being assured will have long term consequences rather than just short term ones), and also photo locations to hunt down for trophies.
It won't be everyones cup of tea, its very narrative driven, but for a relaxing with a cup of coffee and some beautiful sound and visuals type game, its really got me.   

Offline Brian Bloodaxe

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Re: Life Is Strange
« Reply #1: April 30, 2015, 06:47:34 AM »
I've been kind of curious about this game for a while. I like to try and support games which prioritise player agency in ways other than shooting and punching and which have a female lead. This also seems to be the closest thing to The Walking Dead without being another Telltale game.

Then, last night LegoMatt pointed out to me that Life Is Strange is made by Dontnod, the French devs who made Remember Me. Now I thought that Dontnod went bust right after Remember Me but it would seem that SquareEnixEidos bought them out before they could close. Which is nice.

I thought Remember Me was fantastic, especially the memory re-writing cut scenes and I can now see how the systems developed there could be applied to a time travelly game.

So yeah, I'll definitly be grabbing this at some point.

Offline aniki

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Re: Life Is Strange
« Reply #2: April 30, 2015, 06:50:51 AM »
I've played the first chapter and it's interesting, though has that problem of decision-driven episodic games where it's unclear how much influence you can actually have on proceedings - made slightly worse in this case by letting you go back and "fix" things that have already happened, meaning you can see just how little you matter.

I've got the second chapter downloaded but haven't managed to play it yet (same with Game of Thrones episode 3, now that I think about it).

Offline aniki

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Re: Life Is Strange
« Reply #3: May 26, 2015, 07:22:06 AM »
All caught up with the first three episodes and so far I'd say I like 80% of what it does and what it tries to do. It has problems - the facial animation is bordering on dire in a lot of places, and a couple of "puzzles" have been needlessly obtuse as a result of bad signposting (finding one of the bottles in the junkyard was ridiculous).

The end of episode three, though. I don't like it. I don't like that, in a game that opens with a message about how my choices affect things, I was railroaded into actions that I didn't want to take. It totally undermined the emotional impact I assume the cliffhanger was supposed to have.

I am interested to see where it goes from here, though if they just bring in more temporal wizardry to undo these events then it'll only break my investment further. I'm really hoping Max has to live with the consequences - I can't think of any other narrative justification for forcing the player into this situation.

Offline Prole

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Re: Life Is Strange
« Reply #4: May 26, 2015, 10:26:35 AM »
Would you recommend this?  I'm kind of interested.  To give you an idea of whether you think it's for me or not, I enjoyed The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us.

Offline aniki

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Re: Life Is Strange
« Reply #5: May 26, 2015, 10:43:19 AM »
It's a bit like Telltale's games, but doesn't have a reliance on QTEs - the whole "rewind time" mechanic that Life is Strange is built around would render most snap-reactions pointless anyway. I'd definitely recommend taking a look at the first episode and go from there. It's very much the same animal the whole way through (so far), so if you like how it starts you'll get on with the rest of it.

Offline aniki

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Re: Life Is Strange
« Reply #6: July 29, 2015, 08:08:51 PM »
I've just finished episode 4 of this.

I hated the ending to the third installment (you're railroaded into a particular outcome), but the fourth's way of handling the consequences won me back over pretty quickly.

I'd have liked a few more dialogue choices - as the series has continued it feels like there've been fewer butterfly-effect moments - but there are a couple of major decisions that I struggled with and at least one holy-shit-I-didn't-expect-that-fucking-rewind-sharpish moment so overall I'm pretty happy.

The final episode won't land for a couple of long, miserable, torturous months and I'm really looking forward to seeing how they wrap everything up.

It feels like this series is a proper evolution of the Telltale style of adventure games, rather than the same repeated formula; the rewinding obviously makes a significant mechanical departure, but it'll be interesting to see what lessons other developers take away from Dontnod's approach.

Offline Brian Bloodaxe

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Re: Life Is Strange
« Reply #7: July 30, 2015, 05:23:13 AM »
Did you play Remember Me? It sounds like this really is an evolution of their memory re-writing bits in that.

Offline aniki

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Re: Life Is Strange
« Reply #8: July 30, 2015, 06:52:59 AM »
I played Remember Me (on PS3 - was it a Plus game?) up until the game glitched out on me during an intially-exciting escape from an attack helicopter; neither reloading the earlier save or deleting and reinstalling the game helped me get through one particular jump that invariably resulted in a bullet-riddled death. I've since picked it up on PC for pennies in a Steam sale, and it's been long enough that I could give it another shot.

I remember the memory-rewriting stuff being much more... maybe not complicated but complex, in a way, than Life is Strange's rewind. Not least because LiS only really gets you to undo/adjust one action at a time and can happily proceed with any of several outcomes, while Remember Me required you to manipulate a sequence of events to reach a particular conclusion.

I'd be really interested to see a Remember Me sequel that builds on the lessons Dontnod have learned from an episodic, choice-driven story - maybe they'd be less reluctant to have branching missions, or at least give you a couple of different ways to achieve the rewritten memory objective - a choice of memories to manipulate, or more than one "win" state that lets the game proceed.

Offline Garwoofoo

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Re: Life Is Strange
« Reply #9: June 26, 2017, 10:59:49 AM »
I've been playing this as it was one of this month's free games.  Just finished the first episode and played a bit of the second.  I'm surprised this thread is two years old, I didn't think the game had been around that long.

I... dunno?  It's really nice to play something in this genre that hasn't come off the Telltale production line, and it's a beautiful game in places, but I'm fairly sure I'm not the intended market for an emo teen drama (which, despite the time travel mcguffin, is pretty much what this is).  And I don't think it's a particularly good teen drama - the dialogue is clunky, the characters are mostly predictable archetypes and I'm probably going to bounce off this at some point because so far I absolutely loathe Chloe and the whole story seems to assume you're on side with her.

That said, it's interesting enough to keep me playing.  It feels like it's going to pick up.  Anyone else playing through this at the moment thanks to PS+?

Offline martTM

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Re: Life Is Strange
« Reply #10: June 26, 2017, 11:07:12 AM »
I had this from a cheap PSN sale before it hit PS+, so it's on my To Do list.

I'm not the intended market for an emo teen drama.

You keep telling yourself that, girlfriend. :)

Offline aniki

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Re: Life Is Strange
« Reply #11: June 26, 2017, 11:28:17 AM »
Life is Strange only really picked up for me at the end of Chapter 2, so I'd say keep going.

Offline Brian Bloodaxe

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Re: Life Is Strange
« Reply #12: June 26, 2017, 01:48:45 PM »
Life is Strange only really picked up for me at the end of Chapter 2, so I'd say keep going.

That's good to hear, I got about as far as Gar and then got distracted.

Offline Garwoofoo

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Re: Life Is Strange
« Reply #13: July 05, 2017, 10:50:14 AM »
I quite like this when it goes all Telltale and has you making decisions about important stuff, but it does pad itself out with pointless object hunts a lot.  I've just had to find five bottles in a junkyard, which consisted of nearly 40 minutes of Max shuffling around slowly being sad about rubbish.

I'm finding lots of ways to accidentally kill Chloe, though, so it's pretty good fun all the same.

Offline Garwoofoo

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Re: Life Is Strange
« Reply #14: July 17, 2017, 03:50:07 PM »
So I finished this.

There's a lot to like here.  It's a cut above the Telltale games in terms of production values and writing; it's often a surprisingly lovely game to look at and (especially) to listen to.  The acting is consistently good and although some of the dialogue is clunky, especially in the first episode, the actual characterisation is first rate.  Characters actually grow and develop over the course of the game, and do so convincingly.  Max and Chloe's friendship builds naturally, as does Max's confidence. Even the most stereotyped characters are allowed some depth, and the game wrong-footed me more than once by changing the way I thought about certain individuals.  The points where the story diverges are skilfully handled, and it was far more subtle than a Telltale game in hiding the places where everything is forced back on track.  For the most part, your decisions feel like they matter.

But: in the end, it wasn't really for me.  It's a very slow game, that delights in slow camera pans and moody sunsets, and you spend very little of the game actually in control of anything; it's a very passive experience for the most part.  And, ultimately, despite the time travel twist, this is pure high school drama, with its rebellious teenagers and bullying cliques and hot teachers and rich kids and dorm-room crises; it's a genre that doesn't do much for me, and as a result I was reasonably unmoved by Life is Strange despite its obvious qualities.  Maybe if that kind of thing appeals to you, if (say) it's something you'd watch on TV, you'd like this game more than me.

Overall it's probably a good thing, I think: we're moving past the point where games are judged purely on their mechanics and now into the part where we think "does this story and this setting appeal to me?" as you would with any other media.  In this case, it didn't really appeal.  But I can totally understand why some people loved it.