BE KIND, REWIND

Life is Strange

HWM (Malaysia) - - GAX - REVIEWS - Heavy Rain, Be­yond: Two Souls Life is Strange. IanChee

THIS LIFE IS ALSO STRANGELY BEAU­TI­FUL Life is strange, isn’t it? A few years ago, if you told me that vis­ual nov­els were go­ing to be a big thing out­side Ja­pan, I’d have taken you for a psy­chopath and gave you a wide berth. Then

and sim­i­lar nar­ra­tive-driven games from Tell­tale Games came along, and I thought I was daft for not see­ing that the ad­di­tion of styl­ized vi­su­als and a main char­ac­ter you di­rectly con­trol, rather than just make de­ci­sions for, as the key to bring sto­ry­telling games out to the fore. This month, I said “hi” to another game that made me feel that life is in­deed strange, and the game is aptly called

I took my sweet time with this episodic game. And it’s a feast for the eyes that leaves that sort of bit­ter­sweet taste that you’re not sure you want more, or have had enough for two life­times. Con­sid­er­ing it was also made for the PS3 and Xbox 360, the graph­ics aren’t top notch. The art di­rec­tion, on 112 HWM | M AY 2 0 1 6 the other hand, was uniquely sub­lime. Pho­tos in the game look as if they’ve been painted in­stead of snapped, which can be quite con­fus­ing. But when you shut down your brain and just let your eyes do all the work, it’s easy to get lost in a daze, with all that. WHEN ALL YOUR OP­TIONS WEIGH THE SAME… Game­play is much like the ti­tles I men­tioned ear­lier, but with the twist. Long-term im­pli­ca­tions you’d still have to live with, but with main char­ac­ter Max­ine’s abil­ity to turn back time, you can redo di­alogs and ac­tions to see what choice ends up like in the short term, and de­cide if that’s how you want it. Dur­ing such points, the game will re­mind you that “This ac­tion will have con­se­quences…” ala Tell­tale. It’s dis­turb­ing at first, but chances are some­where down the line, you’ll be an­noyed by the game’s end­less threats. Be­yond that, the nar­ra­tive will con­stantly re­mind you of your choices through­out the game, guilt-trip­ping you all the way to the end. The pac­ing of the plot can be slow, es­pe­cially dur­ing the mid­dle part of Chap­ter 1. As the pace picks up, how­ever, the story does be­come very re­lat­able. De­spite the abil­ity to turn back time, each choice feels heavy and it’s hard to say if one is bet­ter than the other. As with real life, you’re screwed if you do, and equally screwed if you don’t. Sud­denly, your pow­ers aren’t that pow­er­ful any­more, and you’ll still feel the weight of your choices un­til the very end. Lastly, there’s the game’s mas­cot, the Blue But­ter­fly, which prob­a­bly sym­bol­izes the but­ter­fly ef­fect that is in­her­ent to this game, and many oth­ers like it. by

CON­CLU­SION

Another nice vis­ual touch is the ti­tle com­ing in as you play the start­ing bits of the game.

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