Life Is Hella Strange

April 16, 2015 5:33 pm - DinkyDana

Life Is Strange is an interactive graphic drama adventure developed by DontNod, and published by Square Enix. The game's style is very similar to the TellTale games like "The Walking Dead" and "The Wolf Among Us".

At the time of this review, there are 2 episodes released out of a planned 5 episodes total. These first two episodes are mostly character driven and don't give up much plot. The opening scene involves a mysterious tornado approaching the town and throughout the game you slowly learn bits of information about a girl named Rachel Amber who has gone missing.

Life Is Strange is a game where the choices you make have consequences and effect the path the characters and storyline will follow. You play as a high school girl named Max who seems to be a bit of an outcast at school. She is very into photography and is always pulling out her camera taking photos of everything, which she often gets teased about.

You soon find out that your character has the power to control time, allowing you to rewind time to change the decisions you’ve made. After you make a decision in a situation, you can rewind time to choose another option. You can then compare the outcomes and decide which result you liked more and continue on with your adventure. Once you continue on to another scene, however, your decisions will be final and you can no longer rewind time to change them.

Right off the bat, you'll notice the game attempts to have "hip" dialogue between the characters which resulted in my viewers and myself joking and teasing the corny dialogue between characters. We especially enjoyed when Chloe tells her dad to stop ‘tripping balls’ and everything being ‘hella awesome’ or ‘awesome sauce’.

We were all taking the game as a joke, however after completing episode 2 and getting the ‘bad’ ending to the episode, I realized what the game was trying to do and began to notice how well it actually accomplished it.

Many of the choices you will make in the game have to deal with bullying, both online and in real life. Most of the main characters are either bullies or get bullied. The decisions you make effect how your character interacts within this world of high school drama. As we played through the game, not only were we making fun of the games' corny one liners, but we were judging each of the characters based on the information given to us.

It was easy to get sucked up into the teasing vibe the game put off, however upon the conclusion of Episode 2, not only did my decisions result in a catastrophically tragic event, but the game pointed out the results of my lack of attention to detail. Had I paid more attention, been more thorough, considered a character’s feeling a bit more, I could have prevented the events that occurred.

After these tragic events, I could see a stark polarization of the chat: sympathizing with the character or ridiculing the character/situation. After some thought about these reactions, I realized that the game created the exact behavior it was attempting to criticize and draw attention to.

Bullying has always and always will be a part of high school life. Whether you’re the one bullying others or you’re the one being bullied, this game has a lot to offer. It draws attention to the serious and often tragic effects bullying has on young adults.

Life Is Strange is an easy game to make fun of and act like your decisions don’t matter, which is exactly how the game wants you to feel, until you realize that your decisions may have mattered more than you thought. It does an excellent job pointing out that even minor decisions and paying attention to detail can make a major difference in the life of a bullying victim.

I am very interested in seeing where Dontnot takes Life Is Strange in the next three episodes. There are certainly some mysterious things going on with the massive tornado and having the power to rewind time. If you are a fan of interactive decision based games and don't mind some cliché highschool drama, check this one out.

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