Life Is Strange Full Season Reactions (Spoilers)
My spoiler-full reactions-come-review for Life Is Strange; Dev: Dontnod; Pub: Square Enix. Reviewed on PS4. Please only read if you've finished the game.
My problem was very simple. In something like The Walking Dead (read my review over at PS Gamer) you're still playing this incredible almost movie-like story, but you really feel part of it and connected to that world and characters through the choices you make paying off fairly quickly. With the first few episodes of Life Is Strange's five-episode-run, I didn't get that: I didn't feel as though what I was doing was affecting anything, that it just happened, I made a choice and that was it.
Even after seeing the final pay off from these decisions (which - in some cases - take a while to come around) I still think that's a problem with the first two episodes. They do feel as though they simply exist to set up the awesome pay off in the end. Don't get me wrong, it's not that this is a bad way to do things, but I think because of the episodic nature of the game, they feel a little worthless compared with what's to come.
And - my God - what's to come is incredible. The crazy powers that - as Max - you receive at the beginning of the first episode lead you into difficult decisions that - whatever you do - result in something terrible happening, yet . I think this is testament to the truly brilliant story that the game shows off at all times, no matter how the aforementioned player-choices factor in.
In a game of this ilk, I think have a crap story dooms you to failure at the first hurdle. When everything is so dependant on the player watching as things play out, rather than partaking in combat, or really any proper moment-to-moment gameplay, the story really has to hold up, and it certainly does here.
Something else that really holds-up throughout the season is the characters. And I'm not just talking about Max and Chloe - the two main characters - but the whole roster: from those two to Prinipal Wells, to the Trucker who you have to talk to in order to get one of the optional photos - each of them is superbly acted and realised: which really helps this small world that they're part of, feel truly realised and as though it really means something to talk to all of them.
While maybe the player choices feel better in The Walking Dead, Life Is Strange is - in many ways - technically superior, namely due to the much smoother and more modern engine that it runs on.
Finally, one of my favourite things from the game: the music. The soundtrack is as much a part of the game as anything else, and really screams Life Is Strange whenever you hear it. I was listening to bits of the score today, and as soon as I did, I could place the time and place from the game: I think that really shows how good it is.
Honestly, Life Is Strange is something truly special. Not only does it showcase some excellent gaming features, but also a story that really made me aware how one small thing can change everything. It shows how precious life, and also how weird it can be. If you haven't played it, you shouldn't have read this far, but please - do yourself a favour - and experience one of gaming's best from 2015.