PAX East 2015 Day 2 Recap – SMITE Xbox, Forced 2, Just Shapes and Beats, and Much More!
Life is Strange: Episode 2: Maxine’s in Charge.
I am new to the Life is Strange episodic series, but thankfully the co-producers and the gentleman who ran the meeting was kind enough to explain to me what I did not know (and to the others who said they were familiar but lied!). The titular character, Maxine can rewind time! Just what any teenager needs. It is a game of choices, where there is no real black and white. It is a game that takes place in a quiet little town, one that could be seen in any state, or any pleasant television show. It really feels down to earth, a type of storytelling that could be called Slice-of-Life. Everything feels so real and alive in this game. Every texture was hand painted as well and it’s not uncommon to see paint brush lines in the game. You view the world through the eyes of a teen and the look and sound of the game definitely relate that to the audience. Even the on-screen writing, done in a sketchy handwriting, certainly looks like a teenage girl is writing, as if you are looking at the world through her diary. The music is written by real musicians, very indie-folk styled, just another clever way the Square-Enix team immerses you in Maxine’s troubled world.
Choices and Memory are of the utmost importance in Life is Strange; though you do not necessarily have right or wrongs, choices you make may or may not have the impact you expect. A “negative” choice such as not answering a phone call could have a minor change later in the story versus picking up the phone, which could have long-reaching consequences. There are instances where you will have to remember something you saw earlier in the scene, or you are asked something you cannot possibly know yet. So knowing when you should and can rewind time is a key element, and while you can rewind as many times as you like, you can only go back so far. Once you make a decision, you can rewind and change your mind, provided you don’t leave that scene. From there, there is no turning back! Sometimes you will be called on remember very minute details, and it is a pleasure to play and let me think and be clever, while spinning the story in a way that suits me.
There are tons of dialogue options as well. Depending on what is said in episode one, episode two will be quite different, and so on. Though that is not to say everything you do early on will affect you all the way to the very end, not at all. Many of these storylines and decisions come to a head, much like real life. Some of them are very short term, tying off in that episode, but many more will probably last another episode or two. So you do not have to fear every decision you make, but instead can enjoy the ride. There is an overarcing story, but how you arrive at that point is entirely up to you, and every player will undoubtedly have a different experience. I feel players will have just as much fun talking to their friends and loved ones about what they did and what happened as a result, as they do playing the game. Life is Strange is an apt title of the game, and while strange, it is also beautiful, just like this life is.
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