The Life is Strange series is an episodic “choices matter” game. So far there’s three parts to the series:
- Life is Strange: episode 1 – 5
- Life is Strange: Before the Storm (A prequel to LiS)
- Life is Strange 2: episode 1 – 5
I put “choices matter” in quotes because ultimately you’re following a storyline. Whether you choose to eat cereal brand A, or cereal brand B,. you’ll still end at the same place in the end. This becomes visible when you complete the first episode and are shown a list of choices you made versus the choices other players made.
In short – your choices don’t really matter. The game is “on a rail” as it were for the major events. But, many smaller things like watering a plant or your choice in music will ultimately come back to haunt you. Obviously I don’t really want to spoil too much, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
You play the game (LiS1) as Max (depicted above on the left) and are often accompanied by Zoë, the girl with the blue hair. There are more characters to run into, some likable, some much less so. Everyone has a story and a past, and as this is a story based game you’ll be introduced to most of them through your interactions with them.
The two are long childhood friends but Max had to move out of town. She just recently came back to school and learns someone has gone missing. She takes a photography class and here learns of her special power that somehow started showing up recently.
The main gimmick of the game is Max’ power to reverse time, up to a couple seconds back at will. Time travel in this way allows you to try things and see different reactions when you chat with various people. This allows you to have knowledge you otherwise would not have had, and to steer a conversation in a desired direction. You can play detective in a way, as you learn more about recent events and how the residents of your town are involved in them. Not everything (or everyone) is as they seem, as you will eventually find out.
Aside moving time slightly backwards, Max also finds she can “relive” and influence events from her past by focusing on a photo. With this power she can travel back in time several years and for all the good (and bad) this does, she may influence the coming storm.
A great story to experience
While your choices ultimately don’t matter too much in regards to how everything plays out it’s a great story to experience. I can highly recommend the in depth involvement you will enjoy as you play the game. Detective Max will surprise you in many ways, and the game will happily throw you a curve ball or two. It may even set you thinking why that cereal or pancake was so important.
Once you finish the first part (LiS1), the “before the storm” is a standalone prequel to the first in the series.
Life is Strange 2, is less well received, and needs a note of warning as it contains Denuvo anti tamper. This is downright weird for a single player offline game. If you’ve followed the critics regarding that software you may want to just skip LiS2 entirely, or find a way to play it without it. Especially since it involves different characters than Max and Zoë. But this choice at least, is ultimately yours.
- Life is Strange: episode 1 – 5: Release date: 30 Jan, 2015
- Life is Strange: Before the Storm Release date: 31 Aug, 2017
- Life is Strange 2: episode 1 – 5: Release date: 26 Sep, 2018
Minimum system requirements: Windows Vista, Dual core 2GHz or equivalent CPU, 2 GB Ram, ATI or Nvidia video card with 512 MB Ram or higher, DirectX 9 and up, 5 GB available disk space.
Also see: Top 5 story games where choices matter, on GGP.