[Spoilers through out]
What happens in Blackwell, stays in Blackwell.
As well as some insight on the story to those who like a spoiler, there may be some useful hints about what choices you should make. Life Is Strange, the story line of all story lines – the first game other than Fallout 4 that made me cry, and only then did I cry at Fallout because it ended, the story was done (there were no DLC at the time). But this, I invested myself in these characters more than I thought I would. They made it so hard not to continue the game and just get through it all in one night, but at the same time I wanted to pace myself so it wasn’t over too quickly, I wanted to savor it. I’ve explained a fair bit about the first parts in my last blog post, so I will try not to repeat myself too much.
From meeting Chloe, I always had the feeling she was going to be a character I enjoyed and invested myself in. I think because of the whole punk/emo look most probably! But me, rebellious? Heck no, that’s so not me. But I loved her character none the less. She was tough, yet vulnerable, hard faced but weak. She wanted people to think she could go it alone. In reality, she was crushed without her dad and two best friends. It made things much worse when she found Rachael was lying to her about an intimate relationship with bad boy Frank. It seemed everyone but Chloe knew, so this was a kick in the teeth for her.
Although Max is the main character and she is the one with the powers, I still found myself latching onto other characters more than I did her, maybe because essentially, I was her? So I felt like I loved the people she loved, care for the people she cared for, but had little self love. Whilst in the game, I don’t think I looked anywhere but the TV screen until I had finished, I was also hoping to record all of my game play, but due to PS4 only doing 15 minute clips, I kept forgetting to save each 15 minutes. However I see myself replaying this again, it has a lot of replay value in my opinion with such an intense story line than you can go back and do differently.
Chaos theory, Sh*t happens! Bad choices.
One choice I would chance, is the path of the conversation I had with Kate Marsh on the roof before she jumps, I didn’t chose the wrong line until the very end of our conversation which causes her to jump. Not researching that Kate had a bad relationship with her mum caused me to chose the option of her mum still caring and wanting her alive – when in fact choosing sister would have saved her life. So, that is one of the main choices I would change and I felt incredibly guilty after this once I found out there was an option to save her and that it wasn’t a case of ‘she will jump either way’ as many of the choices have this sort of path to them.
After Kate’s death, Blackwell Academy go into mourning for all the wrong reasons. It’s like they think feeling sorry for what happened to Kate and caring about her now she’s gone will rid the guilt they feel about not helping her when they could’ve. Instead the majority of Blackwell apart from Max and Dana, let her believe she wasn’t good enough to live, especially after video of her kissing multiple guys at a Vortex soiree went viral.
This is just the start of a long destructive path of bad choices you can make in this game, one of them being out of your control entirely, however you do later on in the game have a chance to change the past again, putting the future back to how it was…
[*Major spoiler alert ahead!*]
Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
In Life is strange, Chloe’s road to rebellion started when her father passed away, he died in a tragic car accident on the way to picking Chloe’s mother Joyce up from the grocery store when Max and Chloe were just 13 years old. The details of this are shown in Episode 3: Chaos Theory at the very end, in a long cut scene. You See Max staring at a photo of her and young 13 year old Chloe in her kitchen, whilst on her bed in her Dorm room. You then are instructed to focus on the image, whilst doing so Max warps back in time to when the picture was taken by William, moments before he is due to get in the car and meet with his maker.
The phone rings, it’s Joyce. William picks up his keys to go and collect her, you’re then given the chance to rewind time and take the keys and hide them down the sink before William finds them. The plan works and he takes a bus to Joyce instead. Max jumps with joy once he leaves the house believing she has changed the course of the future for the better. Big mistake. You come to, sitting on the grass outside of the school entrance. It appears you are friends with the Vortex club members, including Nathan and Victoria (Mentioned in my previous LIS blog post). Warren has hooked up with Stella, not what I wanted to see, I totally shipped Max and Warren! But your main thought is Chloe, Oh no. You get the bus (driven by none other than David Madsen) and make your way to Chloe’s house in hopes this is the one thing than hasn’t changed, but of course it has.
You knock at the door and are greeted by William, surely this is good news right? Wrong. Chloe makes her way to the door… she’s so excited to see you! The twist here is she is now wheelchair bound, it looks like she was in some sort of accident. When one part of the past is changed, it must be sacrificed for another consequence. This is where chaos theory ends and you’re taken onto chapter 4.
Dark Room, hard choices
You are met with some grizzly choices and consequences in this episode, some that could haunt you forever if they were unchangeable. But the beauty of this game is that they are changeable, you can make this story go in the direction you want it to go, so if you make the wrong choices and can’t life with the guilt, it’s okay! You can go back and start again. Sometimes it’s actually good to play the game through more than once just to know exactly how the story pans out with different choices, but for the first play through, go with your gut and what you feel is the appropriate answer, this makes for a more personal story.
Episode 4 is met with you and Chloe going for a stroll and you talk about her accident, Rachael Amber and apologies are made for Max not being there enough for Chloe. She soon realizes how different Chloe is as a person, she doesn’t even like the word “hella” which was something Punk Rebellious Chloe would say every other sentence. You then go back to Chloe’s house, where you see her specially adapted bedroom. You’ll be faced with a difficult choice here, once again… spoilers ahead.
Once you are instructed to grabs Chloe’s morphine form the bathroom upstairs you will go back down and look through old photos of her and Max, this is when she will ask you to use the morphine to send her into a deep sleep, this will be one of the biggest choices you make, but you’re given the chance to change the course of the past once more. It’s Chloe, or her dad. I chose to help Chloe and go through with her wishes, but in fairness I plan to play the game again with alternate choices, so I went with the choices I felt right at the time. You will go back to the moment you had to chose between saving William, but you will allow him to leave, leading onto an emotional speech with Chloe about how you will always be there for her. The future will then alter once again. This leads back to Chloe’s house in the present time, where you will make some big decisions.
You will encounter an potential fight with Frank but eventually talk him around to giving you his client list, the only way to do this is rewind so you know what to say to get the best outcome. You will also have a close encounter with Nathan and his trust gun again, but Warren will once again step in and be your knight in shining armor, I chose to pull Warren away from the fight. After piecing many bits of evidence together back in Chloe’s bedroom, you go to an old barn where you will find the Dark Room, with files of victims posed whilst drugged, Rachael and Kate being two of those. This leads you to a place Chloe is familiar with at the junk yard. I won’t tell you the next part I feel this is a major part of the story line, but get your tissues ready.
You will then head to the Vortex club with Chloe to find Nathan but this will be unsuccessful. After bumping into Mr Jefferson, he announces the “Everyday heroes” contest winner, of course it’s Victoria. Thinking Nathan may be in the Junkyard, you head there again to check. In the coming events, you soon realize Nathan may not be the one behind these kidnaps of students, the next part will shock you, but if you’re a sleuth like me you may have figured this out quite soon into the game, but this is another part I will no spoil for you. This sees the end of Chapter 4.
Polarized, a rollercoaster of emotions
You start this Episode out in what you now know as a certain creeps Dark Room, Again I won’t give this part away. But you’re tied to a chair but are able to free yourself and pull a cart over that has a picture on it that you must focus on in order to time travel back, you’ll see what happened to you over a short course of time just before you were tied to the chair. You have the time travel option again, after noticing this person has your journal. You will time travel right back to the first day again, and try to expose this creep.
The said person takes photos of you whilst you’re out of it on his studio floor. He yells every time you move, he clearly has a very nasty, violent streak making you wonder what he put his poor victims through. No wonder Kate decided to jump, he is evil. A tonne of things happen between now and him being caught you will have to reply this a few times whilst Max tries to fix things that keep going wrong. You will then start flipping in and out of alternate realities including a backward reality, this is very close to the end of the game. You will go through a series of other realities including ones that require stealth and plenty of hiding to get past enemies, until you get to the last one where you are walking through memories of you and Chloe, until you are once again back at the light house where this all started, you will then have to make a HUGE decision about the fate of Chloe and Arcadia bay. How it turns out is up to you, but I chose to save Chloe after all we’d been through together.
My Over all thoughts
Dontnod/Square Enix have really pulled something epic out of the bag with this one, although now considered a game too old to review, I’m doing it anyway because this game caught me off guard. I don’t expect to get emotionally invested in games since Fallout 4 and even then that wasn’t even a sad story line! It’s the position of making choices that impact your characters life and others. For example, I was lucky enough to be able to save Paladin Danse’s life in Fallout 4 but my heart was in my mouth with worry that I wouldn’t have the charisma to do so – that’s the same feeling I had when I was supposed to save Kate Marsh on the roof. But I failed and I sat for a while pondering about what to do, whether to started that episode all over and answer the phone to her in the diner at the start. Being given the key to your characters future is a big responsibility whilst you’re in the moment, it can feel very real.
There have been many moments in the game that had me glued to the screen, Dark Room was a big one and I advise you get your strong head on else you’re going to be feeling a little shook up afterwards, the ending of Episode 4 leaves you hoping you enter the next Episode able to rewind time as far back as you can to change certain events. Episode five had me sitting on the edge of my chair, I had no idea how things were going to pan out, everything had been so unpredictable, so shocking.
As far as the graphics go the light reflections/sunlight are good and places well, but I feel the details in plants and objects are weak but I didn’t take much notice as I was too engrossed in the story itself so it’s not a major issue for me. The soundtrack is beautiful, it’s calming and it does help those tears along. In the cut scenes at the end of each episode is Obstacles by Syd Matters, they couldn’t have chosen a more fitting song, it’s perfect. This is a really easy game to get platinum on too if you happen to be a trophy hunter. Just make sure you collect all the optional photos along the way in order to achieve a platinum.
I think I’ve written enough now, you probably have eye strain right about now or have made several cups of tea in between, maybe even cooked your tea. Who knows but if you got this far well done you endured a lot of information! I adored this game and I will be playing it over to find out what impact different choices have in my future as Max, I’m glad I took the gut instinct each time and learnt what the game pans out like if you just go with your first option, there is plenty of time to change it again. I hope you enjoyed my review/walkthrough kinda post, it’s a bit mashed but I couldn’t write anything other than a long review because the game has so much detail and story line to it, If it was too short I’d miss out heck of a lot! It’s all or nothing really. Thanks for reading, Stay Nerdy!