My Episode 1 review:
I can’t believe it’s been a year since this game was released. Well, the first episode at least. The last one was released in October 2015. And while I’ve finished first one immediately, I’ve left episode 2 somewhere in the middle and haven’t picked up the game for almost a year. I have to be in the mood to enjoy a game and I guess just few days ago was that moment when I was in the mood again. Picked up Life is Strange again. And wow…
I’m still a bit overwhelmed by the experience. So much, my mind is jumping back and forth trying to fit all the experience into sentences this very instant. Not a moment later. Ever since System Shock 2 and Deus Ex back in the 1999 and 2000, those two games were considered my all time favorites. They involved thinking, action, amazing story, emotional segments, I’ve considered them a benchmark for all games I’ve played after that. And then, around 15 years later, Life is Strange arrived… and it pretty much entirely shattered my perception of games.
The thing is, I’ve experienced a somewhat similar thing with another title from same developer (DONTNOD). It was the Remember Me. While it was again an action packed game, the memory remixing segments paired with Nilin’s backstory were so unforgettable, so freaking emotional. The Neo Paris art design, the feel of it as you walked through the city, Nilin as a person, her back story, the music support, voice acting… I know quite a lot of games that really push the storytelling and drama, but there is just something only DONTNOD team can pull off. And they’ve outdone themselves with Life is Strange. I mean, I’m sitting here, writing this article, listening to Life is Strange main menu guitar soundtrack almost in tears, like something is missing from my life now that I’ve finished the game. The experience was so emotional, so immersive, so vivid but at the same time totally surreal. I can really immerse myself into many games, but I’ve never ever immersed myself into any game as much as I have in this one. Maybe it’s because parts of Max’s life kinda reminded me of my own, maybe because of the whole surreal experience, maybe because of the whole artistic approach to it… I honestly don’t really know… DONTNOD really knows their mysterious ways 🙂
People complained over many things in this game, particularly the dialogs and the slang used, but remember, this is a game, not a reality simulator. What others thought the slang was cheesy, for me it was kinda cool in an awkward cute kind of way. It didn’t bother me at all and I think it even gave the game that special unique touch. Along with all the artwork in the game. While the game is technological marvel since it’s using a rather new Unreal Engine, what made it so unreal was the art design of the game. Developers didn’t push all the latest shaders and effects, instead, they’ve opted for a more artistic approach that will remain timeless. 5, 10 or 15 years later, it’ll still have its flair where most of other games will just look old and outdated, this one just won’t. Like true art that somehow just keeps up with the times even hundreds of years later. People often say games can’t be art. And they are so wrong. They can and they are art. This game certainly is a work of art. It’s just… everything about it. The visuals, the ambient sounds, the acoustic guitar music, voice acting, the animations, amazingly believable world design, the people you meet and talk to, the way you grow fond of people and friends as if they were real people, mind blowing twisted story, all those terrifying moments when you have to make tough decisions that can and most often change the fate of everyone around you.
And I’m intentionally not going into details here. I can tell you, I’ve experienced thousands of hours in games and I’ve never felt like this in the end. It doesn’t matter what genre of games you prefer, you have to give this game a try. I cannot pour my thoughts into words good enough to give this game a praise it deserves. Give it a try and maybe let me know down below in comments what you think about it. But remember. Take your time. Don’t rush it. Experience it fully. Talk to people, look at things, explore, take your time.
For me, only wish I have now is that I was able to rewind time myself, so I could go back to day 1 when this game was released. With no memories of the story and the experience, just the knowledge that the game is really good. So I could re-experience the whole thing again. And again. And again. It is that amazing.
Life is Strange. And it becomes even stranger once you experience this game…