Things are off to a great start...
We have only provided one formal game review in the existence of ModernHorrors.com. We certainly intend to cover more as the year continues, but we find it important that we stay inside the horror/sci-fi realm. I suppose you may be slightly confused as to why we are covering Life Is Strange then. Especially when there are games like Dying Light out there. Well, there are really two reasons:
- Because fuck zombies and anything with zombies in it. It’s been beaten to death. Perhaps if we all band together and ignore zombie related entertainment…it’ll just sort of go away…. yeah, probably not.
- Because Life Is Strange is fantastic.
I wasn’t entirely sure of what to expect heading into the game. I knew that it was from the same team that developed the criminally underrated Remember Me (Dontnod Entertainment), and I knew that it was a story driven and episodic adventure of sorts. What I didn’t know, is that there would be a great deal of mystery afoot in Life Is Strange. Enough to warrant formal coverage here at ModerHorrors. We have time travel of some kind, weird and ominous characters with shady motives, and multiple foreshadow-ish mentions and prints of motherfucking Bigfoot himself….at least that’s what I’m hoping for.
You play as Max. A freshly turned 18 year old girl that “has a gift” for photography. She attends a college that is ripe with characters. The amount of content that is searchable and able to be interacted with here is truly impressive. Early on, Max discovers that she has the ability to rewind time. This not only adds awesome game play elements, but allows you to carefully craft the story that you’re viewing as well. I’m a sucker for Quantic Dreams games. Heavy Rain is one of my favorite gaming experiences of all time. Life Is Strange operates similarly, but lies somewhere in between that and popular Telltale titles. I like to think it leans more to the Quantic Dream side of things. Seemingly every little object can be examined, and most can be interacted with. As you play through the story, you will need to pay close attention and choose your moves wisely. As in the aforementioned games above, your choices will be remembered here.
There are frequent texture pop ins (PS4), but that honestly does not detract from the beauty of things. The art style is simply gorgeous. Frame rate was also smooth in my time with the game. Though there is never really enough going on to bog things down, and that’s not a bad thing. At the end of the day, you are simply shaping the life of Max and the people around her as you play. It’s not action packed, but it’s rewarding. I did notice that I was making a TON of decisions. I found myself wondering if all of these were actually being remembered. Especially since a big WARNING of sorts makes it painfully obvious when your choice is impacting a plot point. That illusion of impact was an initial letdown. However, after finishing the first episode.. it is very clear that every little decision is recorded. Even ones that I didn’t know I was making.
The more time I spent with the game, the more I found myself loving it. Sure, the dialogue of the young girls can be a bit cringe worthy at times…but so can young girls. So I’ll let that slide. I am ridiculously curious to see what happens next. I spent just under 2 hours with episode one. If the preceding 4 episodes offer half as much – I’ll be a happy happy man. Episode 1 is $4.99 on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. I love gaming experiences such as this, but then again, I love a good story. Make no mistake about it, Life Is Strange is all about the story. It just so happens that you have the ability to shape this one as you go. Give it a shot. I doubt you”ll be disappointed.
Life Is Strange: Episode 1 [Review]
I love games like Heavy Rain, the old Gabriel Knight franchise, and even 2013’s Remember Me. Life Is Strange has elements of all of the above. That said, my kind words should come as no surprise. Do you have similar tastes? Then I can’t recommend this one enough.
Plus… It totally gets bonus points for The Shining and Cannibal Holocaust references.