Life is Strange: Episode 1: Chrysalis | Review
This year, Square Enix decided to enter Episodic gaming with their latest title, Life is Strange. Many may know the developer, Dontnod Entertainment, from their previous Capcom offering, Remember Me. If you have played Remember Me, you will notice that the art style looks very familiar, but Life is Strange focuses on much more realistic grounds, well sort of. You start your story off by playing with Max who’s your average teenager, who got a vision earlier in the day regarding a huge tornado hitting her hometown. She has no idea what and how this tornado got there, and it’s scheduled to hit real soon. As the vision ends, she wakes up in her photography class as everything is presumed to be normal. If you have played other adventure games where choices have an impact, then you’re right at home as the majority of choices in the classroom affect almost everything. You get a nice little reminder on the upper left corner of a butterfly saying that the choice you made will have consequences throughout the game.
Now this is where things get interesting. Life is Strange is grounded until after your first walk out of the classroom, and a huge event happens which pits two students against one another and leads to one of them killing another student. At this point, Max wakes up only to find out that the event that unfolded was a vision, and her experiences are happening the same way. This time, you get the powers to rewind time to try to stop the event in the bathroom where she saw the two students. As you continue playing Life is Strange, you start noticing a lot of what happens really does an effect, and it’s not for shits and giggles like other games. Rewinding time sure is fun when you want to hear everything the cast has to say or even finding a few easter eggs hidden throughout the game. While you’re not shooting like in other games, there are some puzzles involving timing characters’ actions.
I really liked the presentation of Life is Strange. It felt like watching a TV series, and I really hope later episodes allow us to explore more powers. Indeed, Max gets the power to rewind, but maybe they can play around more with powers. We use a bit of those powers in this episode, but it can be expanded on much further in the next episode. The first chapter became very predictable as I put what I learned about characters together, it really played out just like a Pilot episode to a TV series would. One thing I did enjoy at the end of the episode was the world ranking to the decisions made globally on certain events. It felt very social as it made you feel apart of something. The production does shine through, but it does have very bad audio syncs. Sometimes, the voices don’t sync up with their mouths which can really break the immersion to some, but overall, it does a good job keeping you in the moment. While the story isn’t as strong right now, I think Dontnod Entertainment is on to something, and I’m looking forward to see what they bring to the table in their next episodes. Life is Strange builds up to something good very early on, and it delivered for $5.99. It’s a good step in the right direction. (Reviewed on Playstation 4. Also on Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC)