Life is Strange Episode 1: Chrysalis is a gaming experience that is worth playing especially to full your drama crave in video games. It is sort of the same compelling feeling I got when I played Telltale The Walking Dead. Though there are not too many jaw droppers at first with this episode, you get an introduction to all of the characters and how the game mechanics of rewinding time will play a big part.
DONTNOD entertainment, the same dev team of Remember Me, seem to continue a psychological theme of shifting memories and female protagonist on the main stage. In this first episode you get acquainted with the main character, Max Caulfield, a teenage aspiring photography with the gift to capture moments at its finest. Her gift of capturing moments with pictures had lead her back to her hometown of which she left 5 years ago to Seattle, has returned to attend Blackwell Academy for the artsy scholars. In the beginning of the game you are met with a very confusing scene that is unexpected from the initial vibe you get from the start screen, it seem as if she is in a nightmare trying to figure out as well what is going on. Suddenly you are woken up from the dream in a classroom while a teacher is rambling on about a lesson.
From there on you see various items on your desk to interact with and one that leaves no choice to pick, in which you are forced to take a “selfie” with a Polaroid camera. This then triggers the game to finally start the in the decisions mechanic of the game where the teacher ask you a question. Of course it is meant to fail , and then you discover that you can rewind time to your advantage and make things right. Something we all wish to posses, well Max decides that her gift can actually be a power that could do good and prevent the worst of happenings.
With this mechanic theme to rewind time crosses the chaotic theory of the Butterfly Effect , where time is changed in a previous state to then result in a different occurrence in its present state. The 2004 film , The Butterfly Effect has this same theme where Ashton Kutcher is a modern time traveler and wishes to change bad occurrences in his past to help how his current and future would be. In Max’s case since this is the first episode we have yet to see what her decisions of changing things may do but while in the first episode we get to see how far the power can go. To make sure the mechanic is not too overbearing there is a catch to using it. Rewinding goes to its last checkpoints in the game or important points in a conversation when you interact with another character in the game. In addition it helps with further obstacles you have within the story line, like figuring things out before something takes place to prevent a situation.
The story in itself is a like indie TV drama adventure of this teenage girl and embodies pretty much what most teenagers may have gone through such as fitting in or standing out. The decisions you make with Max through out the game sort of plays with the concept of her wanting people to like her or being a rebel at times to stand up for a cause is illustrated. Story development kicks off in a bathroom scene where you get to use your time traveling powers to help someone from being killed in which you find out later is an old best friend.
What I like what DONTNOD is doing is actually setting the tone of making ethical decisions in a game and how they may result in the future. It makes you think about your own ideals and how you would want Max to be portrayed in the story, in which I found was interesting and entertaining. For instance when it came to the bathroom scene you have a choice later on to decide if you want to tell the principal or keep it to your self to protect your future at the school. More into the story you see how a lot characters in the game is connected to this missing girl by the name of Rachel Amber, this addition to the game add on a mystery detective sense. The story in overall is a bit introduction -esque which makes it short but the overall idea is met.
For the visuals the unique display of a brush stroke type of a graphics is appreciated. Seeing something different from the high count of polygons or cell shading is a plus and more developers should seek other way to present their games in a different fashion, so kudos for something different to experience. The playlist I must say goes with the whole TV drama type of vibe meets Tribeca Film festival short. I can tell that the indie songs chosen were well picked to go with different scenarios of the story to help with the story telling. A great additive to the full experience of the game to immerse the player.
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