Life Is Strange
Let’s talk about the space-time continuum. Do you know what that is? The space-time continuum is a mathematical model that joins space and time into a single idea. Space-time is represented by a model where space is three-dimensional and time has the role of the fourth dimension. We good? Alright, let’s move it along then.
In pretty much every video game I’ve ever played, they have all had one thing in common: they were linear. One goal. One mission. The game couldn’t progress until you got that one thing accomplished. “Life Is Strange” does not follow that model.
Don’t confuse it with free-roaming games. It’s not the same thing. Games from the “Grand Theft Auto” and “Assassin’s Creed” franchise are free-roaming. In AC and GTA, you can spend the entire game exploring your surroundings without ever actually moving the game forward. “Life Is Strange” doesn’t follow that formula. Instead, you are given a series of choices to make throughout the game that ultimately influences and changes you, the surrounding characters, and even the very plot of the game itself. So you can argue that “Life Is Strange” is not one game, but really dozens-if not hundreds divided up into five chapters.
The game starts with you stuck in a massive storm in the middle of the forest. You try to make your way to a lighthouse for safety and a boat is blown out of the water that smashes the lighthouse and kills you.
You suddenly wake up. You’re now in a photography class at a prestigious art school. While in class, you discover that you always carry with you a beautifully detailed journal and a classic polaroid camera. The journal is constantly updated as you progress in the game with information on the people you encounter, the experiences you have, and the photographs you take.
After class, you do a little exploring and learn that a classmate was reported missing. You go to the bathroom to wash your face and you witness your former best friend getting shot and killed by another classmate. This game gets real. Real fast.
Then you’re suddenly back in class again repeating everything that just happened when you woke up from the dream you had about the storm. You quickly realize that you have this power to rewind time a few minutes and thus do things differently to try to improve your situation.
“Life Is Strange” has a tremendously complex story that is also relatable and compelling. We’ve all felt like an outsider in school at some point in our academic life. We’ve all had those strange and mysterious classmates and teachers that we encountered everyday. The Catcher In The Rye was clearly a huge influence to the developers in the game and you can see not so subtle hints throughout. You play as Max Caulfield (no relation to Holden.) She’s shy and kinda a loaner, but she is also very opinionated and tries to correct all the injustices that surround her.
The cell-shaded graphics are stunning and your environment plays such a huge role in the game; almost like a separate character. Every frame looks like a stunning panoramic painting. Each human character in the game is unique and individualized. In all the characters I encountered in the game, there was not a single “stock” character. Every person you interact with will tell you something with a purpose that will ultimately change your perspective or change the choices you are given to make. These choices are never easy. Some will be a lose-lose scenario. They can (and will) result in tragedy. But you have to keep going. You’re going to want to keep going.
The music was also stellar. I would Shazam nearly every song I heard. My fiancé did the same thing and started looking to see if the soundtrack was available for purchase or stream. It is.
“Life Is Strange,” to my complete surprise, is one of the best games I’ve played in recent years. The more I think about it, the more it climbs my personal list of my favorite games of all time. The game is available on XBox 360, XBox One, PS4, and PC. The game goes for $5 an episode or you can save by buying the full game for about $20 and it’s worth every penny.