Just a quick note about this, and an explanation. Firstly, I’m actually writing this at some point in late August not on the 27th July as the post date suggests. Why is this? Because somehow I totally forgot to write a post! I don’t know how that happened and I am convinced I did actually write one, but it seems not.
But yes, I played and completed The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, the free single-episode game that links into the Life is Strange world. It was Very Good Indeed.
Plenty of other places went into the plot and the lore long ago, so I won’t repeat all that here. I did notice at least three links to the Life is Strange games:
Well this was a surprise! Sure, I knew it was coming, but to appear today with no warning… that I’d seen anyway.
Farewell is set a few days before Max left for Seattle. Her and Chloe seem to be 13 or so, and much of the episode is about them reminiscing over when they were younger. Indeed, the “aim” is to uncover a treasure they hid when playing as pirates five years previously.
It’s much shorter than other episodes (less than an hour long, in fact), and aside from the spoiler (which shouldn’t be a spoiler if you’ve played the rest of the game), not much actually happens. There’s happy chat between Max and Chloe, a bit of house exploring, and Max finally manages to tell Chloe she’s leaving soon. And that’s it.
Farewell doesn’t really tie up any loose ends, nor does it tell you much you didn’t already know. What it does do, however, is cement how close the two girls were and explicitly show just how hard it was for Chloe when Max left. Making the choice at the end of the original game harder still if you’ve yet to play that.
If you want to watch my playthrough, it’s here. Spoilers and stuff, of course:
I can’t say much here, because even some of the basic plot points are massive spoilers.
What I can say, is that oh my did the story twist and turn there. Everything I thought I knew was wrong, and then that was even more wrong.
And that’s the story done. Some parts don’t quite fit with how Rachel was portrayed in the first game (she was much more… promiscuous there than she seemed here), but how close she and Chloe became makes that scene in the original even more horrible.
On the whole, it was a great game. I wish, in a way, that it actually came before the first game rather than be released afterwards. I know that was never going to happen, but my suggestion to people who haven’t played either is to play this first. Why? Because the first game builds on this one rather than the other way round. It’s deeper, more important, more epic, and you’d gain a time travel power rather than feel you’ve lost one.
There’s another chapter coming soon – with Max in it – and I’m looking forward to that, especially to see how it fits in with the rest now. I think it’s supposed to be set before Max moves away? We’ll see.
Here’s the massively spoilerly playthrough, if you’re interested:
OK, so it’s still low-key compared to the original Life is Strange, but the story is compelling now. There’s been a major twist (that I won’t spoil) which although nowhere near the scale of the cliffhangers from the first game, is still a must see.
Chloe and Amber shared a kiss too. I made them. Genuinely, it seemed like the best option, and instead of being pervy or voyeuristic it was really sweet and romantic and lovely. So well done to Deck Nine for dealing with that in that way.
Overall, and there’s another chapter to come next week so things might change (although that’s unlikely), I can’t say Before the Storm lives up to Life is Strange’s legacy yet. There’s not enough to it, it doesn’t have the sci-fi pull, and Chloe’s new actor pulls me out of the game too much (she’s great, but she’s not Chloe). The story, however much “less impressive” than the other one it is, is still excellent though.
Here be spoilers for the playthrough, if you’re interested:
A spoiler free, hopefully, entry in my diary here because I know how important no spoilers are in this series. Which is why when I was streaming it I was a bit annoyed to have someone send me a message containing a massive spoiler. Luckily, I didn’t check messages until after I’d passed the reveal but still… why do people do this?
Anyway. I was back in Arcadia Bay! Literally before the storm, but in fact before Max came back and before Rachel Amber disappeared. We know how that ended up, and Chloe didn’t, so I’m not sure where the story is going to go here.
In Episode 1, Chloe and Amber first become friends, but very little of seeming importance happens (bar the spoiler). Chloe goes to school, plays a bit of D&D, skips school, winds up her mum’s boyfriend, stays out late and generally is the embodiment of angst. Without Max’s rewind powers, the game’s gimmick instead involves Chloe’s mouth – she can get her own way by smacktalking people using a mechanic not unlike the fights in Monkey Island. It’s a bit jarring at first but makes sense after a few.
Unfortunately, they’ve replaced Chloe’s voice actress with someone who isn’t bad, but absolutely isn’t Chloe so the whole game feels wrong. The music isn’t a patch on the soundtrack to the original game either, and it was just as important as the story there. There’s also a bug where the HUD is mostly off the screen so can’t be seen, and there’s no way, as far as I can make out, to fix this without buying a new TV.
Thankfully, although it took a while getting there, the story has taken off in Before the Storm and I’m on board for the rest and really want to see how it pans out.
So far then, it’s a B-Team Life is Strange, but I went in pretty much expecting that. If the story stays good, then that’ll be more than enough to justify its existence. Let’s hope so!
Spoilers follow in these two videos showing my playthrough:
It is impossible to talk about this. As well as spoilers, not least the MASSIVE CHOICE necessary at the end, there’s also the fact that the choices I’ve made throughout the series slightly change how Life is Strange: Episode 5 panned out for me. So I won’t talk about the story any more than to say this: I was not disappointed, the decision at the end was hard to make, and although I saw some of it coming, it played out totally differently to how I expected. The chapter’s title is “Polarised” (sorry, “Polarized”, urgh), and the “what everyone else did” stats at the end could not agree more.
What I will talk about is how fantastic the series has been as a whole. The twists and turns, the excellent story that draws on themes from the likes of The X-Files, The Butterfly Effect, Final Destination, and Donnie Darko. The amazing voice acting. The dreamy soundtrack. The fantastic graphics and gorgeous sunsets. Some fantastic characters – Victoria and Samuel especially, in my opinion. Everything comes together to produce a game experience unlike any other I’ve played.
Since finished Episode 4, I’ve found it difficult to wait it out until Episode 5. Hype built over that time, with so many thoughts and theories in my head. I was so worried that Dontnod would do something to mess it up. I was also worried that someone would leak a spoiler, and as soon as it was on PSN this morning I went internet blind in case anyone finished it before I had a chance to. I went in pensive and completed it in a single, almost three hour, sitting. I had to – spoilers tomorrow would abound, I was sure. And what an experience.
Even though Fallout 4 is still to come next month, it’d take something pretty special from Bethesda to beat Life is Strange as my Game of the Year. Who’d have thought that having bought it mainly on a whim? Excellent stuff, and I’m sad it’s over.
If you want to see my playthrough of the finale – I’ve a video here. Be warned though: there are spoilers. If you’ve already finished the game, then you might want to watch it (or at least the final bit) if you made the
Chloe asking you to kill her, you deciding to go back in time to save Chloe but kill her dad, finding Rachel, and the reveal at the end of who has really been drugging kids.
I did say Nathan wasn’t quite what he seemed.
One thing I really did love about this episode was the detective bit, where you piece together all the clues you’d amassed – emails, texts, letters, photos, documents – and find links between them to trace where people have been, who they’ve seen, and when. Fantastic bit of game there.
Now, with the final episode an unknown number of weeks – or even months – away, I’m struggling to deal with no plot to follow. I need to know what happens next.
More spoilers in the form of some gameplay (which gives away the episode end):
And also, as previously, my chapter choices (which also contains big hairy spoilers):
Now this was a mistake. On the one hand I really, really wanted to get on and play Episode 3 as the story of Life is Strange is so compelling, but on the other hand, Episode 4 could still be weeks away from release and Episode 5 is a distance future event at this point. I was going to leave it for a few weeks, to try and space it out, and make it a bit easier to bear, but no – “just a quick go, a teaser if you will” and it was all over. Bah.
As the plot progresses, it’s even harder to describe the events without spoiling things for my readers, but I’ll try. There’s a bit near the start where you have to somehow sneak past the principal which I was stuck on for ages. It turns out I’d not seen what he was doing early enough, so didn’t know there was a window of opportunity to get past him.
There’s a fantastic puzzle about how to get through a locked door, which starts off as what seems like a dull wander-round-and-find-four-things quest, but the payoff – amazing. After that Max and Chloe go for a midnight swim and there seems to be some sexual tension between the two, which is further suggested the following morning.
Anyway, the big (HUGE) event is in the second half of the game where it goes full Butterfly Effect and EVERYTHING changes. And I can’t wait to play Episode 4 as a result. Which, of course, I can’t do. Because it isn’t out yet. So frustrating!
As before, here’s me playing the second half of the episode (spoilers!):
Oh my. That escalated quickly. Chloe nearly getting killed by a bullet, by a train and then the Kate breakdown… some really incredible scenes. Most of which I can’t really mention because of spoilers, and some of which might not even exist for you if you’re playing, because your choices may have differed.
One part that isn’t a spoiler, really, is the diner scene with Chloe. Max proves to her she can rewind time by correctly guessing what Chloe has in her pockets and then by predicting the future. Chloe’s reaction was awesome, and Max really felt like a superhero. Then, in the next scene Max is already feeling the strain of having powers – both physically and mentally.
Anyway, here’s my (full of spoilers) playthrough of the second half of this episode:
And, also spoilerly but in case you’re following my decisions:
You heard right. That there PS4 isn’t a typo. I now have an actual Playstation 4. I blame Fallout 4. Anyway, with new consoles come new powers to play different games, and so the first game I bought and played (and completed) is Episode 1 of Life is Strange, a game I could have bought and played on at least two other consoles I already owned. Um.
Life is Strange is, so far, superb. It’s a great story and an excellent premise – college student suddenly gains power to rewind time and predict the future, but still has to deal with everyday life and a variety of nice and not so nice characters. All while other bizarre happenings and conspiracies and shadiness and stuff happen around her. And she needs to pass her photography class.
With many conversations and actions having lasting repercussions, and the ability to rewind and change what you say and do in light of new information or just to see a different reaction, it plays out unlike any other game I’ve played for a long time. Sometimes what seems like the best option provides the worst immediate response, but who knows if that’ll work out for the best in the end?
Life is Strange is definitely strange, but it’s sucked me in already and I’m really looking forward to the outcome of all these choices. These choices, in fact (which may be a spoiler, so be careful):
In my defence, I did at least try to hide in Chloe’s room. I just couldn’t find anywhere to do so!