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Life is Strange Review

Life is Strange Trainer
 CHEATfactor Game Review by:  Joe Sinicki Reviewed on: PC 
 

Welcome to our CHEATfactor Game Review of Life is Strange. We review the game and then factor in how the available cheats affect the overall game experience. For better or worse, our reviews will help you decide whether or not to use cheats when playing the game.

Life is Strange is an awkward game about awkward people doing awkward things - also there's a girl who can manipulate time. Ok, there's more to it than that, but playing through Square's take on the adventure game I just couldn't get over how awkward nearly everything and everyone is. There are some great ideas at play here, but none of them feel fleshed out nearly enough to base an entire work on and they're further bogged down by terrible writing and even worse voice acting. Still, there's something alluring about finding out what happens in the next episode, for better or worse.

 
...an interactive teen movie.
 

It's perhaps best to look at Life is Strange as an interactive teen movie. All the angst and existential problems are there, and main character Max has to worry about everything from boys to homework and everything in between. Things get a bit more interesting when Max finds herself on a rainy with no clue why, and then finds she has the ability to rewind time, but only the last few minutes. At first she uses it to get ahead in her classes, getting answers wrong and then rewinding time to get them right, but she soon learns that she can use it for greater purposes, like stopping someone from getting shot in the school bathroom. Truth be told, I was more interested in Life is Strange during it's earliest sections, when Max was a more human character and her humanity was on full display, there's even a very well done moment that will be familiar to anyone who didn't feel like they fit in in high school, where Max puts on her headphones and drowns out the rest of the world.

Life is Strange plays much like a Telltale adventure game; walk around talk to people and interact with things, all the while making decisions that alter the course of your game. Here though, those decisions rarely feel like they matter since you can always rewind time (up until a certain point) and just change your mind; it's like an adventure game for people who are afraid of commitment. Sure, there's always the feeling that those choices will come back up later in the series, but I didn't stress about any choice like I did in a game like The Wolf Among Us or the Walking Dead. Now that could be for a number of reasons, like the fact that there's no countdown timer forcing me to think on my feet, or it could be the fact that the writing is remarkably bland.

 
...it's done in the completely wrong way.
 

You've got to give credit to the development team for trying to make Max a likable and relatable character but it's just so hard to believe when literally everything around her is incredibly awkward. There's a missing person story starting to develop in episode one and the developers seemed to do everything to make it seem like everyone could be a suspect, which in itself is interesting, but it's done in the completely wrong way. Take the janitor for instance, he's a combination of every weird janitor that's ever been in any form of media. That's a issue that's prevalent throughout most of the episode one experience, everyone is over the top and it's as awkward as you'd think. It also doesn't help that the writing; from the dialogue to the plot is so unremarkable it's nearly funny. One of the game's main plot points for example revolves around you stopping a girl from getting shot in the bathroom at school, and when it happens Max acts as if she doesn't know who she is, but you later find out that the two are old friends who grew up together. It's got to be one or the other guys.

I was bored by Life is Strange throughout most of my time with Episode 1. Save for a few fun sequences and interesting choices, Square's time bending adventure game did little to hold my attention, and it's gimmicky draws didn't do much to help. Still though, I'm recommending you play it, and that you play the next episode as well, not for what it is now - but for what it could become down the road. Life may be strange, but I just hope it gets more interesting down the road.

 
Overall:  6/10 Presentation: 6 Gameplay: 6 
Lasting Appeal: 7 CHEATfactor: 0 
 
 
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