As the story of Life is Strange continues, we see DONTNOD is certainly trying to give TellTale Games a bit of competition when it comes to episodic game releases with multiple choices on your journey.
Play through Time: 2 Hours and 25 Minutes
Review (with Spoilers) – Below
Characters & Story
There is much carryover from your decisions in episode 1, especially when it comes to Nathan, your relationship with Kate, and how you handled things with Chloe. For with Nathan, in my play through, sending threatening text, spraying graffiti on the walls, and his dad threatening me with lawyers, it seems me snitching really pissed him off.
As for Chloe, me often not stepping up, or in, for her seems to be putting a slight strain on her trust in me, as in Max. Not to the point she dislikes Max, but every now and then, after she sees Max using her powers, and is awestruck, she mentions little things I didn’t do for her and you can tell it is going to affect the story down the line. But, mostly, when it comes to Chloe, the focus maybe on her friendship with Max, but the mystery which is Rachel is starting to bloom little by little. Especially upon meeting Frank who is a low-level, I guess you could say, loan shark.
Leaving Kate. In the episode, we learn Kate went to a Vortex party and not only did she have fun, but she was possibly drugged by Nathan, and Victoria likely videotaped it. This naturally sends the very religious Kate over the edge, to the point that Max makes sure we know Kate is acting very much out of character. To the point, it seems the only options which may come from Kate is life or death.
What I loved most about this episode, and maybe the series as a whole thus far, is me being nosey seems to really matter. For, basing my opinion on episodic games off of the TellTale ones I’ve played, often it seems stuff we are allowed to look at, peer through, and etc., often are there for either scenery or for a little bit of information on the character. Rarely does it feel looking at a letter, or someone’s stuff, will actually help you down the line. With this episode, though, me going through people’s things actually led to some decisions, which couldn’t be re-winded, and they weren’t obligatory. Which I think adds the idea that while Life Is Strange isn’t necessarily a detective game, it does make you feel you need to snoop and be aware of all opportunities.
Especially since this is one of the few games, I know of, which are so female-driven. Which I note because, as many have criticized, the video game industry is heavily male focused, and almost all the men are within Rambo style environments where it is them against the world and they are indestructible. However, with this series, as well as The Walking Dead, among I’m sure others, we are getting a different type of game.
One which seeks to not have you shoot up, blow up or make it seem your actions won’t have major, game-altering, consequences. And while, arguably, the threat of a tornado, and unknown dangers, loom over the game, in a way they aren’t the heart of it. The heart of the game, so I see, is the relationship between girls, with a minor focus on girls relationships with guys.
Take the situation Max had with Victoria in the last episode, and the opportunities you have with many of the female students, whether they are bullies, outcasts, or what have you. The game has a strong focus on trying to present complex women who are creative, strong willed, and all have some type of humanity not often given to girls in games. This can especially be seen with Max’s friendships with Chloe and Kate, two drastically different characters.
Leading to the whole rewind function being highly useful for, with the ability to either make friends or enemies so easily, being able to change your mind is a blessing. Though, from what it seems, the rewind function maybe limited in the future. For as the episode reaches a close, Max’s nosebleeds get worse and worse, making it seem we maybe increasingly limited on going back in time. I hope though the game won’t impose a true stringent limit, though, if only because one of the main selling points, for me anyway, is not having to just back to my last save point for I found my decisions led to a consequence I can’t live with.
With that said, though, there was one opportunity for a character to possibly die, and a part of me wished, as flexible as the game already is in some cases, it would have a sort of, “anyone is up for grabs,” type of mindset. For while you do decide the fate of one character, Max has the opportunity to shoot one person, and possibly leave another for dead, and it would have been interesting if the developer let us have full control over fate. But, you know what? The more there is, in any game really, sometimes all it means is more opportunities to get stuff messed up.