BE KIND, REWIND
Life is Strange
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
Another nice visual touch is the title coming in as you play the starting bits of the game.