(PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox) One of my favorite things about LIFE IS STRANGE is its episodic fragmentation because it allows me to detail specific things I love about the series without having to write everything into one long post.
So, yes, I’m totally using the remastered version — which includes the first game and BEFORE THE STORM — to summarize everything I wasn’t able to shoehorn in before about the first game. (There will be one last post about the BEFORE THE STORE remaster!)
[Slight spoilers below!]
The fourth episode of the initial game is absolutely brutal, but also very memorable. Max’s time use inadvertently affecting her best friend is heart-rending, and the two of them reconnecting — a second time — is extremely emotional in a way that I’ve never felt in another game.
At the end, well, I’ve witnessed others going through what Max is tasked to do, and — the way I played it — goddamn, in real life I was just an observer, there for comfort, but holy hell. My face gets wet just thinking about it.
I’ve said it before: this is just life. Life is hard. Nothing and no one can prepare you for what you’re going to live through, because everyone’s journey is different. But if you can find folks that can help navigate you through, you’re very lucky, and that’s why the fourth episode is so tough for me, because of the loss, and because of the changes.
While I absolutely love this series — it’s certainly one of my all-time favorites — this remaster? It kinda sucks. Visually, sure, it’s slightly glossier — oddly, Rachel seems to have the best glow-up — but doesn’t add much except for major loading times and overly severe and distracting lighting. (I’ll note that I played it via Switch — loading times may be faster via your Xbox.) While the original was slightly janky, this feels terribly unpolished and I encountered a number of bugs and crashes, which is weird for a remaster. Frankly, I’m pleased I played the original digital copies when initially writing about this series, because that felt more natural and playable. It certainly doesn’t look as crisp or play as well as TRUE COLORS.
Nonetheless, I was very happy to see Chloe and Max together again, although watching Chloe and knowing what will happen made me constantly well-up. I kept thinking: “This isn’t fair. I just want the best for them!” Granted, that’s the sort of emotional response any writer wants to hear when they pen something, but goddamnit, as someone playing the game, it’s rough. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I did try to lighten her load.
I hope I’ve convinced you to at least try the series, no matter which way you can. It’s absolutely something special and evocative and overly emotional and I love it. This is a series of games that will most certainly inspire and influence future game designers and developers, and it’s extremely rare to know that upon initially playing a game. It’s so raw and heartfelt and, as I’ve said before, it’s hard to believe it even exists. It was a huge swing on behalf of Don’t Nod and they knocked it out of the park, and it’s something that will live with me always.