Life really is strange if you think about it. One event can change the course of our lives, or even a generation. But, that begs the question. What if we could go back and change events to see the varying outcomes? Well, “Life is Strange” allows you to do just that. But, the main question is how well did it do it? Let’s find out if “Life is Strange” held up to the BlueBall Standards.
Blue Ball Score: 20 out of 25 balls
Gameplay was pretty simple overall. The controls were pretty basic in the sense of “Use the joysticks to walk around and push a button.” Can’t get much simpler than that, eh?
The movements and mechanics of the game were decent. This will be discussed more in-depth in the “Graphics/Sound” section, but the movements weren’t as realistic as what I thought they should be. It felt like an early 2000’s game when you could walk through a bush without the bush moving at all or recognizing you were in it. Geo-morphing was another common sight as well. Now, this didn’t necessarily take anything away from the game, but I would expect more from a 2015 game.
Now, lack of realism aside, the environments and terrain were laid out enough to make you think this town was a real town. How the varying scenes and layouts were pieced together and linked together was really well done. It didn’t feel like a video game in this sense, but more so as you were re-living a life that actually existed at one point.
Finally, the game did an outstanding job of building an emotional connection to the characters. Personally, the legendary Tasty Nades doesn’t have emotions. Those “things” are gross and get you in trouble. So, the mindset I had going into this game was an open mind, but with a stubborn mentality of “Good luck trying to get me to believe any of this.” Boy was I wrong. The game made me feel like the things that happened (good and bad) were actually my fault. This will be discussed more in depth later.
Overall, the gameplay was amazing. A unique idea coupled with simple gameplay, relatable characters, and a believable plot and storyline led the gameplay charge. The only drawback was the unrealistic movements at times. 4/5 balls.
Are you done complaining now Mr. Nades? I’m sorry, I am just constipated. Moving on, the campaign was indeed spectacular.
As mentioned earlier, the characters and varying environments of the game were developed in such a way that made you connect to them. When you made a decision and the result of it was someone dying (not going to name names), then a part of you felt guilty. Due to the nature of the game (being able to rewind time), you are constantly wondering “What if I would have done Action B instead of Action A?” As a deep thinker by nature, this game really got me thinking about actions in our current lives. What if something as small as talking to someone or not talking to them, could change the lives of an entire generation? Ok, ok, maybe that is a stretch, but I am telling you this game will do that to you…
Another aspect about the campaign is that it is divided into “Episodes.” Now, one may argue that this is a cheap way to get more money out of gamers for this game. Fair point. But! One thing about episodes is that it helps clarify and divide up the plot. What do you mean O’ Great Tasty Nades? What I mean is that you know there are going to be, in the case of “Life Is Strange,” 5 major events. Of course, there are going to be a lot more than 5 significant events in any given game, but I am talking about major events. These are events that can totally change the feel, plot, and characters of the game. From a gamer’s perspective, it just helps us grasp and understand the plot much better.
Lastly, the amount of depth in this game is remarkable. You can interact with virtually everything around you and you could learn as much about the characters and this “world” as you wanted to. It was almost a “real-life” simulator. You could sign up for clubs, look at posters throughout the school to stay updated on events going on, read the characters’ emails (with the exception of Hillary Clinton’s emails), read their notebooks/diaries, and much more. This allowed you to understand the individual characters, who they were, where they came from, why they may act a certain way, and much, much more. With each different decision and outcome, you may learn more or less information about this “strange” (no pun intended) virtual town. And, the extended cut scenes made it seem like you were watching a movie at times. You will notice this in our gameplay videos. This helped make it feel like it was more than just a game. Most importantly, if you didn’t care about the extra “mumbo jumbo” and wanted to stick to the main storyline, then you could do that as well at your own expense, of course.
In conclusion, the campaign was just awesome. I couldn’t really find anything I disliked about it. Whether you want to know it all, or just want to know how it ends, Life is Strange allows you to do both. I give the campaign a perfect 5/5 balls.
The primary question is, “Does this game appeal to a variety of people?” The simple answer is yes.
Whether you like adventure games, simulation games, mystery games, suspenseful games, or just looking for a change-of-pace game, Life is Strange has something that can be offered to most any gamer. The sheer amount of hours you could spend on this game is enough to attract anyone’s attention, but what makes it so amazing is that each “round” of playing this game can have a different result. There are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of different paths/decisions you can make.
Also, this game is not simply one genre. It isn’t just a mystery game, or just a simulator game, it is a bit of everything. There are definitely plenty of mysteries to solve, but there is also the realization that each decision you make can alter your virtual “life.” And, to add even more elements on top of it, it is a bit of an open world style as well. One more element worth mentioning is the ability to learn and connect to the characters – As if I haven’t stressed this enough. Fine! I will admit it, I feel guilty for killing that girl… in the game of course… ughh… this is awkward now…
Alright, let’s forget that tangent ever happened. As you can see, Life is Strange offers a little bit of something for everyone. It may not be the action packed, run-and-gun shooter you may be seeking, but it is definitely a game that can offer something plenty more in replace of that. Thus, leading the way to a perfect 5/5 balls.
For a 2015 game, the graphics were sadly disappointing. You could walk through bushes without the bush moving at all or recognizing that you were all up in it. The details weren’t there either. It seemed like the developers outlines the objects, filled them in with color, and called it a day. Finally, if you stood next to a tree or other objects, it was a common sight that you may geo-merge through it. These graphics reminded me of an early 2000’s game instead of a 2015 game.
Also, the animations seemed “stiff” for lack of better term. Once again, modern day games have very fluid, smooth, and realistic movements. When characters talked, their lips just seemed to move up and down without any real correlation with what they were saying. Tasty Nades was extremely disappointed in the graphical elements of this game – or lack thereof.
Finally, we arrive to the audio portion of the review. The sounds and audio were pretty standard for this game. There wasn’t anything that really stood out as over the top, but they did just enough sounds to make the game’s audio feel realistic – such as the massive vortex storm over the water. In moments of suspense or tense moments, the audio was more tense and edgier.
Due to the lack of good graphics, I am forced to give this section of the review a sad 2/5 balls.
Why, I am glad you asked anonymous interrogator. If you word it as such, then it may seem like the game could get boring or redundant. But! The outcomes are usually drastically different. It isn’t always something as simple as “Red nails or blue nails.” Which, for the record, I would always prefer blue nails (Go UK)!
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are several “minor” decisions in the game. But each one of these decisions, as a whole, may affect the end result which is typically a drastically different outcome. Furthermore, you will learn more about the characters and develop a bigger picture on the events that happen. As the cliché goes, “Hindsight is always 20/20.” So, what may not make sense now, may make sense if you replay a few different outcomes to get the whole story from all angles. This helps enrich your understanding of the game, plot, and characters.
All this being said, I like to believe this game was created to reveal to us a valuable lesson. Life is Strange shows us just how important decisions are in our lives – even the seemingly “little” ones. Also, it shows us how each decision affects everyone and everything else around us. A “web” of sorts.
Therefore, I don’t see how this game could get boring or redundant if you are truly attempting to understand the characters, plot(s), and concept of the game. I give this a 4/5 balls.
As you can see, Life really is Strange. This game is truly unique and serves as both a game and reveals to us a valuable lesson. It excels in simple fundamentals, an extreme amount of depth in its plot and characters, and the ability to choose your fate. It accomplishes its goals by appealing to a variety of audiences and mixing in several different elements throughout the game to result in the perfect blend. This leads Life is Strange to receive a total of 20 / 25 balls.