The latest issue of GamesMaster – which arrived on subscriber’s doormats this weekend – features a review of Life is Strange’s first episode, subtitled Chrysalis.
For those not aware, Square Enix’s Life is Strange – due out 30th January on the download services – is developer Dontnod’s first foray into episodic gaming. Similarities with Dontnod’s debut Remember Me are numerous, including the female lead’s ability to rewind time.
The plot entails 18 year old Max having visions of a natural disaster after returning to her hometown with a scholarship to a local arts academy. It’s not long after being introduced to the school’s “hilariously” clichéd characters – which include a troubled army vet security guard, a hip photography teacher and a janitor with learning difficulties – that Max discovers the ability to rewind time.
Unsurprisingly this is used during puzzle solving, with one example mentioned in the review involving rewinding time to prevent an accidental death by sounding the school’s fire alarm.
“With great powers comes wasted possibility” reads the review’s strap, instantly setting the tone. As well as “cliché-ridden characters” and “teeth-grindingly ‘hip’ references” reviewer Joe Skrebels also warns of plot holes, writing that “simply isn’t’ good enough” and hand painted textures that look great from a distance but resemble something from a “horrid Newsgrounds Flash game” when up close. For the record, the PS4 version was reviewed.
This first episode does show promise for the remaining four however: “There are enough characters and loose ends to craft something far more substantial” claims Skrebels with the final word reporting that “the mechanics have laid some interesting groundwork”. They also approved of the high school setting, and the fact that rewinding time adds a lot to both conversations and conundrums.
GM’s final judgement stood at an encouraging enough 62%. Considering some Telltale adventures have got off to sloppy starts and quickly recovered, those eagerly awaiting Life is Strange shouldn’t feel too off put.