Life is Strange is an episodic series consisting of five episodes where you play the role of Maxine ‘Max’ Caulfield who has moved back to her childhood home town of Arcadia Bay after 5 years away living in Seattle just so she can attend Blackwell Academy and every choice you make in the game leads to different consequences not just for Max but the whole of Arcadia Bay.
This being the spoiler edition of my review I’ve no need to hold back anything that may ruin it for those yet to play the game as you’ve had plenty enough warning to stop reading this post, you can read my spoiler free edition here if you are leaving us at this point, however if you want spoilers….keep reading!!
Life is Strange presents itself as something very different at the start of episode 1 to what it becomes before the end of episode 5.
I guess that’s how it gets you, it reels you in with episode 1 making you believe it’s a nice story about a teenage girl who is very quiet and shy but loves photography who is trying to find her way as both a student and an artist, and that her biggest obstacle is the snobby posh girl in her class (Victoria Chase) who likes to bully people she is jealous of.
Yes okay there is a scene where a lad called Nathan Prescott enters the girl’s bathroom armed with a gun (which can’t be good news for anyone) and shoots a girl dead right in front of Max’s eyes, thus leading to Max accidentally finding this super power she has that allows her to rewind time and change history but there’s nothing about Max’s new found power that suggests the story will take you on the journey it does!
That’s where I think Dontnod (the creators of this strange game – pun definitely intended) have been quite sneaky and clever….let me explain.
Episode 1 might have had gun issues but let’s remember this game is set in America and while it’s not common practice for kids to be in school armed with guns on a daily basis it’s certainly more common than it is here in the U.K. So let’s just say I wasn’t alarmed by this and it didn’t lead me to think or question wether something later down the line could happen that was worse than that.
Even the attempted suicide (your choices decide if she is successful or not) of Kate Marsh wasn’t enough to put me on the right track to see what sort of path this story was taking (even though by that point if episode 2 I already knew she’d been drugged at a party I just didn’t see any of it coming)