Gamer Girl Musings: Life is Strange

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by Jaime Whittaker (@JaimeW912)

Life is Strange

Welcome, Gamer Nerds! Today I’m going to be talking about a game that isn’t all that new. In fact, it has been out for quite some time but it definitely left a lasting impression on me nonetheless. That game is called “Life is Strange” by Square Enix. What is Life is Strange, do you ask? What if you had the power to change the outcome of things through simple decisions, could turn back time, and even travel back to the moment a photograph was taken and potentially change very dramatic life events? (That sounds an awful lot like The Butterfly Effect, Jams!) Well… it kind of is but even better! This article is full of SPOILERS, so if you don’t wanna know how things turn out then proceed with caution!

Characters

Before I get into the story, I wanted to talk a little about the characters who make this not just a great game but make the story even better.

Max Caulfield

max

I’m gonna be honest here… Sometimes, I hated Max. I wished I could play as Chloe instead. Max just pissed me off so many times with her careless thoughts and use of her powers (yes, I realize many times I forcefully had to choose between the bad decisions she had to make, but still!). Max’s attitude at times just made me feel like she didn’t even care about how her selfish acts were effecting others; like Max just didn’t know when enough was enough and it was time to stop turning back time! Don’t get me wrong, Max wasn’t a bad character. The thing I liked about her was that she is flawed, and she owns it. She knows the skin she feels comfortable in and doesn’t try to fit into any type of mold.

Chloe Price

chloe

I loved Chloe sosososososo much! Chloe was my favorite part of this game, and like I said before I wish I could’ve played as her. Chloe is a badass, independent, strong-willed young lady woman. She lives life to the fullest and sometimes makes choices that might be seen as “bad choices” by others, but they’re her choices. Chloe isn’t just a hard-ass, she also has a beautiful heart. She knows when it’s time to take a step back and just be the good friend rather than the party bitch.

Nathan Prescott

nathan

This little shit. I wanted to think that maybe he would redeem himself in the end, but no. He was always just a sick, twisted, spoiled, little shit. I hate him.

Victoria

victoria

She may have been a bitch, but deep down there may actually be a good person lurking around in there…

Kate Marsh

kate

Oh, Kate. Sweet Kate. Things can go one of two ways with Kate, which I will talk about later. Kate is a Catholic girl who just wants to get good grades. I honestly think she can get a little clingy at times, but with what she is going through she really does need a friend.

Warren

warren

He’s kind of a dork, but he pretty much worships the ground Max walks on. Honestly, he’s a little annoying at times for some reason, but you can tell he genuinely cares.

Mr. Jefferson

mr jefferson

Oh-ho-ho! Have I got words! I’ve got words for you Mister, but I’m not gonna say them right now! In fact, I’m just gonna walk away and leave you standing here until I’m ready to talk about you! Jerk face!

David

david

Chloe’s step-douche dad and the security guard you want to hate, but no matter what you just can’t. Despite his hard exterior he really does care about Chloe and even Max. Sure he has a creepy surveillance thing going on… No big deal!

Joyce

joyce

Chloe’s mom, and waitress at Two Whales. I liked Joyce. She was a salty lady. “You only get one slice of bacon today!”

There are other characters in the game who play important and slightly less important roles but let’s just get to the juicy part: The Story!

The Story

So basically you start out in a daydream… kind of? Max follows a doe and ends up at the lighthouse where there is a huge tornado coming. Suddenly Max snaps out of it and is in photography class. Max seems unsure of whether what she just experienced was in fact a daydream because it feels more like a memory; as if she was actually present in the daydream at that moment.

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Mr. Jefferson is such a likeable guy isn’t he? Yeah, he’s so great… Anyway, Max first discovers her rewind power when she goes into the bathroom. Hiding in the very rear of the bathroom behind the last stall, Max overhears her childhood friend, Chloe get into an argument with Nathan Prescott who then pulls out a gun and shoots Chloe. In a panic, Max extends her hand and rewinds time.

You have to figure out what actions you need to take when you rewind time to fix the outcome. In this case the action was pulling the fire alarm. Max saves Chloe and thus the adventure begins!

I’m not gonna go into extreme detail about the whole story here but I would like to focus on key twists and decisions and outcomes. So if you don’t want to be spoiled, this is your FINAL WARNING!

Throughout the game you make decisions and sometimes you have the option of rewinding to make an alternate decision. If you are happy with the decision that you made but also curious to see what happens when you make the alternate decisions, then you are in luck! There are three slots you can save in so you can play through the game multiple times making differing decisions to see how it will effect the outcome of the story.

One of the first big outcomes happens when Max finds herself stopping time as Kate Marsh is preparing to throw herself from a roof. Max makes her way to the roof top but when she gets there her rewind power suddenly is backfiring and her head begins to hurt. She has to do this on her own without her powers. Ultimately you end up either saving Kate or she ends up jumping from the roof.

The next big decision comes in the principal’s office when Max basically has to place blame for the situation with Kate (whether she lives or not, this happens). Max has to choose between either Nathan (he drugged her at a party), David (he’s been taking pictures of Kate and Max caught them arguing), or Mr. Jefferson (he should have known that Kate was so troubled). If you choose Nathan, he gets expelled. If you choose David, he gets fired. If you choose Mr. Jefferson, he doesn’t get to be the speaker for the ‘Everyday Heroes’ announcement.

The main story within the story is Max trying to help Chloe find her missing friend, Rachel Amber. Max and Chloe try to track down clues to her whereabouts which often requires the use of Max’s powers. The problem is, the more Max uses her powers the more consequences she starts to face. Max begins experiencing nose bleeds and headaches, and even worse a lot of strange things start happening such as snow when it is seventy degrees, two moons, and eventually the tornado.

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Max also discovers that she can time travel into photos while staring at a childhood photo of herself and Chloe. Max is determined to use this power to “fix things” and make it so that Chloe’s dad never died. Max thinks she has done a great thing but when she goes back to the altered present, she discovers just how badly she has changed things when she finds that Chloe is now in a wheelchair. Max still has the picture she traveled into and now knows that she has to go back and let Chloe’s father die. The present is now back to normal, and Chloe’s dad is still dead.

Chloe and Max find an old barn that is owned by the Prescotts which has clues that lead them to the location of Rachel Amber, but unfortunately it is too late. Chloe is now convinced that Nathan killed Rachel and is out for revenge. Chloe and Max head to the Vortex Party to find Nathan but he is nowhere to be found. Max suddenly receives a text from Nathan saying that he will get rid of the evidence. When Chloe and Max return to the site of Rachel’s body, she is still there in the ground. But low and behold someone shows up and sticks a needle into Max’s neck to knock her out. Max is still awake enough to know what is going on but cannot use her powers and sees Chloe get shot in the head…by Mr. Jefferson (I kind of saw this coming. He was far too likeable and suspicious!).

Max wakes up in “The Dark Room” where Mr. Jefferson likes to take all of his victims to photograph them. He also tells Max that he killed Nathan because Nathan got careless and overdosed Rachel Amber. This guy is seriously twisted. Drugging young girls and bringing them to his Dark Room so he can take pictures of them? I hated this guy so much because I liked him so much! WHY! GRRR!!!! Max uses a photo to travel back to class at which time she texts David to tell him about the Dark Room and Mr. Jefferson. Back to the present, David shows up in time to save Max (see, I told you he was a good guy!).

Sparing you more details let’s just say that Max keeps screwing things up and just can’t get anything right. At one point she ends up in this strange reality in which everything is twisted and nothing makes sense and you just have to try and make it to the lighthouse. In the end Max ends up with Chloe at the lighthouse and the tornado is coming for Arcadia Bay. Max caused this with her powers. There is only one decision left to make, and Chloe knows what has to be done. Max must go back in time to when she saved Chloe, and she must let Chloe die. At this point you are given the choice between sacrificing Chloe or sacrificing Arcadia Bay. I have not had a chance to finish a second time to see what the outcome is with the alternate choice. As much as it pained me, I made the decision to sacrifice Chloe.

You have no idea how much this decision KILLED ME! I was bawling like a little baby. I had grown so attached to Chloe, but ultimately I knew it was the only decision I could make.

This game felt as much like a movie as it did a game. Watching things unfold and realizing that YOU are the one who is causing these things to happen… Intense. I loved this game so much that playing through it multiple times is a pleasure.

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If you have not experienced this game, I highly recommend it. It started out as a PC game, but now it is also available in the PlayStation Store. Play this game! Right now! If you’re not sure, try the demo and see if you get hooked like I did. I would love to see more games like this one. I know that fans are pulling for a sequel which would be interesting but I am not sure how exactly something like that would be pulled off unless it was a completely different story. Would it then still have the same charm as it had with these characters and this story? Who knows!

What are your thoughts on this game? What decision did you make in the end? Join the discussion here or on any of our social media. To find out more about Life is Strange, visit them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter.

Stay Nerdy, my friends!

~Jaime


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