Life Is Strange Review Round Up: What They Say About The Nostalgia Driven Narrative Adventure
In the dark and mellow days of winter, Life Is Strange has positioned itself as a ray of warm sunshine. The narrative game from developer Dontnod was released onto various platforms today and we're taking a look at what people are saying.
Overall, the reception has been good. The first chapter of Life Is Strange, titled Chrysalis, is agreed to be a great introduction to the world, story and game mechanics - the main character can reverse time - but feels a little too linear for some, and then simply ends.
From reading reviews, it seems like the game will grow in stature depending on how the next four chapters play out. It is very much a title that needs to be complete to experience properly.
But let's hear from those who have played:
Polygon (8.0) - in a tag team roundup discussion, the folks over at Polygon say: "Despite its shortcomings, there's a powerful kind of nostalgia I draw from its characters and world. The time travel aspect is cool, no doubt, but I'm down with the little things. I've enjoyed spending time in the complicated life of a teenage girl, because it reminds me of what it was like to be one. It's the first game I've ever played where I felt that my life was represented on screen - even at its weakest points. Life is Strange uses the ordinary in a way that is extraordinary."
Kotaku UK echoed similar sentiments, noting the immersiveness and characters, but also getting annoyed at the amount of "teen-speak" on display. "Life is Strange is surprisingly immersive. You can really sink into it for a few hours. I felt no urge to rush through. There are some meditative moments of peace and contemplation: when you turn on the stereo in Max's dorm room, Jose Gonzales starts to play, and if you pick up her guitar Max sits down and tentatively plays along for however long you let her. This reminded me so intensely of my own university dorm room that I let her play until the song ended, enjoying the memory. Life is Strange is immensely successful at evoking that sense of nostalgia. The story is set in the present day, but to me it feels like it could be taking place in the Nineties, or the early '00s, when I was a teenager. I hope subsequent episodes retain episode one's groundedness."
Eurogamer, meanwhile, was a little harsher on the first title, though even they note an episodic game like this can change massively over the course of chapters. "It feels too 'video game', basically, and calls to mind the work of David Cage - another clear influence - in its inability to tell a simple human story without slapping a layer of genre pulp on top. It's not enough that Max tackles the drama of teen life and a potential kidnapping or murder, she must also be a psychic time wizard. It feels a little corny and cheap, and this chapter doesn't do enough with the gimmick to justify its inclusion."
Clocking in at anywhere from two to four hours, you can form your own opinion on Life Is Strange right now on PC, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4 and PS3.