Max is a shy 18 year old photography enthusiast returning to her home town after 5 years away. She has a lot of normal high school concerns, like schoolwork, dealing with bullies, making friends, missing classmates, murder, and suddenly being able to turn back time.
Life is Strange is an adventure game with great atmosphere. It has a strong opening that draws the player right in, cranks up the mystery, then settles down a bit to let things unfold. The story is intriguing and Max makes a compelling point of view character. The dialogue can be a little stilted, but it gets the point across and for the most part the characters do sound like high schoolers.
The gameplay is straight exploration, with a couple of extremely simple puzzles. The story is the draw, and I was particularly impressed with the use of decision points. It remains to be seen how much effect they’ll have (if any) if future episodes, but they felt important. Even more interestingly, there didn’t feel like there was a right answer. After either option for every major choice Max muses about why the other one could have been better. It’s a wonderful touch lacking in a lot of games that have a clear and obvious “preferred path.”
The environment is fantastic. It captures the feel of the locales perfectly, including a boarding school, associated dorms, a run down house, etc. I found myself stopping to look at all the posters and flyers as much out of curiosity as to find clues. There’s a significant amount of little things to poke around.
Some players will find it on the short side, but it had good progression and found a decent stopping point, and is after all just episode 1. I thought Life is Strange was great and will definitely be checking out further chapters.