Best Games of 2015: Life is Strange
An emotional rollercoaster
Next up on our list of best games of 2015 (See #31: Dying Light) is none other than the Square Enix-published Life is Strange, a narrative-driven episodic adventure developed by Dontnod Entertainment.
Life is Strange puts you in the shoes of Maxine Caulfield, a photography student who discovers she has the ability to rewind time at any moment. Taking the same approach to storytelling as Telltale Games, your decisions throughout the five episodes of Life is Strange impact the overall story as well as the characters around you -- making that ability to rewind time and see how certain decisions play out all the more interesting.
The idea of rewinding time and playing with memories is nothing new for Dontnod, makers of Remember Me, an action-adventure game with a similar theme. But what makes Life is Strange so special is its willingness to address mature subjects, such as drugs, suicide, and even rape. Life is Strange is bold in its storytelling and doesn’t shy away from controversial topics.
Most of the game’s puzzles revolve around the rewind mechanic, with the other major gameplay element coming in the form of branching choices for conversation. How you respond to situations or react to other characters will ultimately shape your narrative. The bulk of the story involves Maxine’s and her friend Chloe’s investigation into the disappearance of Rachel Amber, one of the local girls. Adding even more urgency to the situation is Maxine’s vision of an approaching storm wreaking havoc on the town of Arcadia Bay. With time not on her side, every decision you make along the way will have lasting impact.
Admittedly, Life is Strange does have moments of awkward, weak dialogue and poor lip-syncing, but the combination of intriguing story with branching dialogue choices more than make up for its inconsistencies. The final episode of Life is Strange released in October, which means you can play the entire game without having to wait weeks for a new episode to release.