Life Is Strange: Episode 1 – Chrysalis Review

maxresdefaultLife Is Strange starts off with a very peculiar and mysterious young woman having a nightmare which pulls you into the game.  Aside from a lacking dialogue and a bit of a broken story the game has really done a fantastic job holding my attention.  Dontnod is the developer of this episodic drama which stars Max Caufield, a young woman who has a gift that can rewind time.  As strange as this gift is that Max has she is just a typical teenage girl. She has friends, personal problems, passions, dreams, a little crush, and other believable qualities. But a combination of ambition and obligation drive her to use her talents, wit, and personality to make the world a better place.  Unfortunately, even with all of this great plot development going for Episode 1 – Chrysalis the lacking script and poor voice performances take away from this otherwise great story.

Max Caulfield is introduced as quiet, shy, introverted, and even unremarkable despite her presence in a prestigious high school. Throughout Chrysalis, by way of your choices, Max reveals herself as a strong, capable, and smart person who defies her awkward stereotype. The story tests these qualities by presenting a plain teenager with challenging dilemmas which she can alter at will with her time changing ability.  This brings a very unique challenge and style of game play as her choices can be undone, remade, and tailored to whatever future you want to create for Max.

tumblr_nj0b8n3kil1swmo8oo5_1280Once you turn time back and change a decision, there is no going back.  Usually you won’t see any immediate consequences or major changes to the game play or Max herself from these moments of re-wind.  Max can seem to see the short-term results of what she’s done, but her abilities seem to be limited and not even she understands why.  Not every interaction in the game hinges on a big choice, though. Many conversations give context to this world. The most notable side-arc is that of Rachel Amber, a missing student with connections (both good and bad) to many of the people Max runs around with. The unreliable principle, a student bringing a gun to school, and a try-hard tough guy of a security guard will no doubt come into play later in the series, and I’m interested in all of it as the plot of this story is very solid!

This is a choice-based adventure game with a time-traveling teenager at the center, but Max is, probably the most believable character in the entire cast.  Most of the other people you meet or run into are pretty predictable and somewhat boring archetypes, with the actors delivering pretty pore voice acting

life-is-strange-iphone-wallpaperThis game is about people figuring themselves out and some of these instances were just scripted badly which really takes away from the character. Max’s friend Chloe lives a life full of baggage that really made me feel for her. Every time she spoke, I really just rolled my eyes and disconnected with the character as the acting was so lacking. The principal’s lack of concern when Max mentions a student has a gun really shocked me — how can this person not take a claim like that with at least a little dread?!

It’s a shame, because for all of the writing and acting problems in Life is Strange, the scenarios it creates are genuinely interesting, and ultimately the game does pull you in and makes you want to see how Max handles things going forward.  Even if the acting is pretty poor at times, the scenarios about life are very believable which counter balances things very well.  Here’s to hoping the game produces a better outcome then poor acting as we move forward, as the plot is really good, but I wish they would have brought their A game with the voice acting. All in All I give the game a B+ and look forward to continuing the series.


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