Life Is Strange ⚡Review

Life Is Strange 1

Platform Played On: PS4
Developer: Dontnod Entertainment
Publisher: Square Enix
Genre: Graphic Adventure
Release Date: October 20th, 2015

I’ve read numerous opinions praising this game’s narrative style over the years, but you know how the eternal backlog struggle goes: so many great games, so little time to play them. I was away on a work trip to a province of Canada with much lower sales tax than my own, and that’s where I picked up a copy of this game for cheap on my way back home. And, dude… am I ever glad I did! Mind = blown (when I finally got around to actually playing it, of course).

How Far I Got

To date, this was the easiest PlayStation Platinum trophy I’ve ever freaking earned. Over a weekend in February I binge played the entire game (14-ish hours), while making sure to snag all of the optional photo ops for my shiny trophy. The story delivery was so good! I just couldn’t put it down.

Lightning Review

Games that start with lightning storms…. there is something special about games that start with lightning storms! Ahem. Yes, the game starts out with a cutscene of a massive tornado happening in the middle of a terrifying thunderstorm at a lighthouse location (awesome).

The protagonist, aspiring young photographer Maxine Caulfield, suddenly awakens from this nightmare to find herself in the middle of her photography class, dealing with typical teenage drama. From there, bad things go down in the women’s washroom and she discovers she can reverse time… leading to one hell of a time paradox filled adventure I’ll never forget.

Life Is Strange Review 2
Never underestimate the value of a good shot!

The game unfolds over 5 different episodes that slowly ramp up the drama elements and introduce the diverse cast of characters at nice pace (no information overload like some games are guilty of). By the end of Episode 4, I was fully invested in Arcadia Bay’s future and the game had me totally by the feelz. Max doesn’t just have to deal with time and tornado related problems, her story is filled with many heavy topics such as suicide, mental illness, coping with loss, and bullying.

There isn’t much player controlled action in this one. It plays like a walking simulator of sorts. You make Max walk around the contained environments and interact with objects/NPCs to gather info and progress the story. The game does a fantastic job of revealing little world details through many random objects. There are also tons of optional photo op moments to find, giving some replay value for those who want to experience more of this world (or if you like Platinum Trophies a lot, like me). You won’t even notice that the game essentially a linear interactive film. So immersive!

Life Is Strange Review 1
Fun drinking game: take a shot every time you see the name Rachel Amber. You’ll seriously be hammered, like, 5 minutes into the first episode.

The biggest hook in the game is that many of your choices will have some sort of consequence in future. Either with huge or insignificant implications to the main plot, for every action there will be a reaction… you know, butterfly effects and all that. Max will always reflect on any choice you make, which often made me feel like I made the wrong one… but that’s where time reversing powers come in handy! If you second guess yourself as much as I do, whoa, you are in for a ton of choice anxiety and rewinding.

Life Is Strange Review 3
Wait… what? My action has consequences….? Uh oh!! Better rethink that. Also, does bullying a bully make you a bully? Asking for a friend.

To get picky (because game reviews shouldn’t be all positive, amiright? 🙃), the game’s character model graphics do feel a tad on the clunky side (slight Lego hair syndrome), but that doesn’t really impact the story experience (the heart of this gem). More evidence that super HD Ultra 20K graphics (yes, I made that up) are nothing more than icing on a game’s digital cake. I should definitely mention that the words highlighting interactable objects in the environment have a really cool hand written aesthetic to them, which fit well with Max’s notebook style journal system.

In the audio department, I was fangirling a lot over the fact that Max’s BFF Chloe sounds exactly like Aloy for Horizon Zero Dawn (probably because they share a great voice actress, Ashly Burch). Oh and expect to hear overuse of the hip teenage words like dude and hella (Yep, dude. I’m hella guilty of this in own writing.). Max, voiced by Hannah Telle, frequently blurts out what’s in her heart (F-bombs and all) and expect loads of sarcastic remarks from her. Something that certainly added to my enjoyment of the game! The game’s background music has a nice all American town feel to it, and complimented the design of Arcadia Bay’s areas quite nicely.

My Overall Biased Opinion

The moral of the story is that selfies save lives! Oh and don’t mess with time or fate might get cranky. The bullying themes really struck a chord with me as well. I was bullied so much during my school days that adult me has repressed the hell out of those memories. It was both painful and comforting to explore those high school drama topics in this game.

Something I was also pleased with is the romance parts of the story (something I usually detest in games). Your choices as the player shape Max’s sexual orientation and I think that’s awesome! Having the freedom to add a little bit of you to a main character in is fantastic, and a great way to add representation for all to video game stories. In my case, I flirted enough with both of the love interests to have my version of Max turn into an asexual character in my eyes. Meh to kissing and all that! My Max only cared about protecting her beautiful BFF bond with Chloe, and helping out her badass bro Warren.

Overall, my biggest complaint about this otherwise awesome game: any ending is hella unsatisfying, dude. It’s more about the journey, to be honest. And that journey is one hell of a trip through time! How far would I go to save my best friend’s life? The answer kinda shocked me…

Memory Lane
SPOILERS AHEAD!!! You have been warned.

This section of my video game reviews is a way for me to remember my journey through a game. Major spoilers will be present here so please avoid this unless you’ve already played the game, or don’t have any plans to. Feel free to share any experiences you’ve had with this game in the comments area thingy below.

My Game Summary

More than covered in my Babblethrough series of posts, which can be found here:

Favourite Story Moment

As much as I hate the unsatisfactory nature of the ending choice, I did have a huge d’aww moment when Chloe and Max drove off into the sunset (totally ignoring the fact the town is destroyed… and as per Aether‘s wise predictions, leopards may come to attack them later because fate wants Chloe dead).

Life Is Strange Review 4
But yeah, enjoy the little moments in life, eh! Fate is gonna kill us all eventually, anyway.

Favourite “Oh S@#%” Moment

Oooo… this usual question I ask of myself in my reviews is tough. Hm. I can’t choose between these three:

  • Kate’s suicide (I so failed her and I still feel awful about it 😦 )
  • The alternate timeline where it shows that Chloe is now paralyzed from a car accident.
  • When it’s revealed that Mr. Jefferson is the twisted freaking psychopath.

Favourite Ability/Item/Weapon

Not a whole lot of abilities here, but rewinding time was a fun feature and led to cool story moments.

Favourite Zone/Level/Area

The art gallery in Episode 5. It was so nice to think everything was going to okay there for a minute. Alas!

Favourite Character

Chloe Price. She’s voiced by Ashly Burch (who happens to voice one of my all-time favourite video game characters, Aloy), she’s such a badass, and she reminds me a lot of my IRL BFF. I mean c’mon, I destroyed a freaking town to save her. I love you, girl!! You are hella awesome, dude.

Most Tedious Gameplay Moment

The shattered universe section near the end of the game where you have to avoid NPCs in an iteration of the junkyard. I kept getting caught because stealth is not my friend or usual playstyle.

Most Beautiful BFF Moment

After Max saves Chloe from the oncoming train and she promises to always have her back. That hug was so much d’aww! I love strong BFF bonds between characters.

Life Is Strange Review 5

Final Stats

PlayStation Trophies – 61/61

Platinum PlayStation TrophyLife Is Strange - Platinum Trophy - What If
Gold PlayStation TrophyLife Is Strange - Gold Trophy - Polarized
Bronze PlayStation TrophyLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 1 - Marco EyesLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 2 - Wide AnglesLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 3 - Close-UpsLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 4 - TelephotogenicLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 5 - Red EyeLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 6 - FocusedLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 7 - Zoomed InLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 8 - Focal PointedLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 9 - Maximum ApertureLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 10 - Light LeakLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 11 - VisionaryLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 12 - ChrysalisLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 13 - Field of ViewLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 14 - Full ExposureLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 15 - ProcessorLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 16 - Image StabilizerLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 17 - CompressedLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 17 - PixelatedLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 18 - Dynamic RangeLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 19 - ColorizedLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 20 - Meter MadeLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 21 - Resolution RevolutionLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 22 - Lab MasterLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 23 - Out of TimeLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 24 - Parallax ViewLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 25 - LenscraftedLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 26 - HistogrammarLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 27 - The ReflexLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 28 - BokehLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 29 - PinholedLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 30 - RAW StrengthLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 31 - View FinderLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 32 - OpticanLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 33 - FlashLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 34 - Camera EyeLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 35 - Chaos TheoryLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 36 - AmbientLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 37 -Time-LapsedLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 38 - BalanceLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 39 - RangefinderLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 40 - Gamma ValueLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 41 - Dioptric PowerLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 42 - FisheyeLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 43 - Manually ExposedLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 44 - TripodLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 45 - SlideshowLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 46 - Dark RoomLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 46 - ShutterbugLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 47 - IncandescentLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 48 - Night VisionLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 49 - FramedLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 50 - Camera ObscuraLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 51 - BlowupLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 52 - IrisLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 53 - SensorLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 54 - On DisplayLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 55 - Light MeterLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 56 - SilhouettesLife Is Strange - Bronze Trophy 57 - Selfie Awareness

Thanks for reading!

If for some odd reason you want to read more of my posts, you can find a somewhat organized (and usually up to date) archive of my ramblings… I mean, articles here!

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Published by

"Lightning" Ellen

My name is Ellen, and I've been babbling on the interwebz about video games for over 15 years. Video games themselves have been a large part of my life since 5-year-old me first encountered a SNES in a children's hospital. Fun times... Video game escapism is still the #1 coping mechanism for adult me these days.

14 thoughts on “Life Is Strange ⚡Review”

  1. Great read Life Is Strange is definitely an experience, don’t know if you know but there’s a comic book on going at the moment that continues Max & Chloe’s story after the sacrifice Arcadia Bay choice at the end of the game worth a read if you haven’t got enough people saying hella and dude in your life after finishing the game 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice!! I seriously have to pick up Before the Storm very soon. Whenever I need a break from my crazy Mass Effect Platinum quest, I guess, haha.


  2. The game oozes style and character. That really helps keep the story going, in areas that lesser games might start to lose it. It’s a really strong experiences.

    But yeah, seriously. As soon as the game fades to black, there’s a leopard right behind Chloe’s seat. Fate has chosen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading! I’m hoping LiS 2 turns things around soon, in that case. I’m still waiting on a full episode release before I play it.

      Liked by 1 person

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