Originally I was going to get this game on disc, but in a recent PSN Store Sale it was too cheap to pass up, and had a rather small download size. Double win!
As I enjoyed playing Until Dawn so much, I looked to see if there were any other games that played similarly, whether for consoles and/or PC. The PS3 had Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls, which have been combined in a special PS4 edition. However, I heard a lot about the game Life is Strange, developed by Dontnod Entertainment and powered by the Unreal engine. I immediately felt this was indeed the perfect game that I had been looking for.
Playing the character of Maxine Caulfield, you are an 18 year-old in a school called Blackwell Academy in Oregon, studying photography taught by a once well-known American photographer. At the very beginning of the game, Maxine experiences a very strange dream that is almost too real for comfort, and also discovers an apparent ability to rewind time at-will. Using this ability, the player is able to choose a different path at certain points, and similarly to Until Dawn the player’s choice will have consequences later on.
Navigating the events of Maxine’s once best-friend Chloe, the player will interact with many of the students and staff of Blackwell, along with the people of Arcadia Bay. Some of the choices the player will have to make will be very difficult, with quite gut- and heart-wrenching consequences. Leading up to the climax of the story is an incredible twist and ultimately making the most difficult and reality-affecting choice the player has ever had to make.
What makes Life Is Strange a great game is first and foremost the story and the characters. The voice-acting is incredible, and you come to care very much for not just the main characters but many if not most in the town. The accompanying soundtrack is also perfectly suited, and while a physical CD came out with the special edition (PC | Xbox One | PS4) it isn’t available by itself either on CD or via download, which is an incredible oversight. Of course, you can listen to it on Youtube or Spotify. So if you’re wanting a game that lets you sit back and enjoy a story and atmosphere, regardless of how emotional and soul-crushing it could be at times, I highly recommend this game, and I really hope Dontnod will produce future games like this one.