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Thread: An emotional masterpiece I’ve fallen in love with

  1. #1

    An emotional masterpiece I’ve fallen in love with

    I just finished my first playthrough of Life Is Strange and...this game is soooo amazing on so many levels! I cannot stress enough how grateful I am to DONTNOD and Square Enix for delivering such a marvelous piece of art to us gamers.

    So, let me outline a little more what my immediate feelings are and some of the aspects I love most. Also, be prepared that this will be very far from an objective review (can there even be one such thing for this game?), but like the game it’ll be a bit emotional .

    First off, the presentation and writing of characters is beautifully executed. All of them are memorable in their own way and I'm so happy to have met every single one of them and remember them, each for their individual reasons. Thinking about Chloe, Max, Kate, Warren and many of the others makes me realize that I've really grown fond of them. I truly care for them on a level so deep and intensive that I’ve rarely, if ever, witnessed in a video game/movie etc.

    The story is refreshing and intense, but most importantly it is memorable on a level like I haven't experienced ever before with any piece of art, game or movie. Together with how all your choices affect the plot it produces so many amazing moments that really dug into my brain and kept me thinking, sometimes for days. It really feels as if I’ve been there, experiencing all these special moments and I truly couldn’t be any happier that I had a chance to experience and take part in this adventure. I won’t go into any more details here, as anyone playing this game should do so with as little knowledge of the plot as possible. Let me however stress again that I’m absolutely amazed at the many little moments that literally burned into my brain and how often I still think about certain moments of the game.

    Concerning visual aspects, the cartoonesque artistic style of the game is stunningly beautiful and creates truly marvelous vistas, especially through vibrant, well set up lighting. It makes for an atmosphere which perfectly matches the events in every situation and ironically, feels so real…almost tangible, in contrast to many other games with more realistic visuals.

    To a large extent this is also aided by an excellent collection of ambient sounds that especially shine on a surround home theatre system and really draw you inside of every scene. Then there’s voiceover: and wowsers, it is amazing! Especially, Chloe and Max stand out.
    You can always hear this kind of excitement in Chloe’s voice, her strength and, at times, even rebellion. There’s just something about her that makes you reflect her excitement and you can’t help but sympathize with her. Chloe is just like that one best friend that you really can share anything with.
    And then there’s Max, with her voice being so calm and gentle, and even a certain trembling in some scenes. There’s really such variety and depth in her voice, which on its own creates extremely rich emotional moments were you really feel what she feels.
    It’s not their voices alone however, but the entire performance of Ashly Burch (Chloe) and Hannah Telle (Max) that makes the two of them so beloved, memorable and really brings them to life. Really, thank you kindly to both of them and the DONTNOD team for creating these two characters that have become so dear to my heart that I smile the moment I boot up the game
    And of course, speaking of sound, I cannot believe how wonderful the music in this game has been arranged. I’ll never forget the tune that plays the first time Max puts in her earphones: “To All of You” by Syd Matters. Everything in this scene matched so beautifully and really made me feel how that slight insecurity of Max slowly drifted away when she listened to this song, making way for optimism and happiness. It was almost as if I could read her thoughts looking forward to the great future and plans she probably had in mind.

    In short, it’s just beyond me how much all of these great characters have grown on me. It really was an extraordinarily wonderful experience to enjoy and hopefully to relive many more times. This game made me smile and made me cry. It touched me on level that I’ve never ever experienced before and truly left a mark on me. Simply put, it was an experience I’ll always keep dear to my heart, which in my opinion is the greatest achievement for any piece of art to ever make.

  2. #2
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    The game has found another devotee. I have to ask, why did it take so long for you to discover this game?
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  3. #3
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    And thinking about it. . .you had an fortuitous unfair advantage over those of us that were there from the beginning in the sense that you did not have to wait weeks for each episode to appear. And I can tell you that the wait was excruciatingly painful.

    I'm glad you liked it.
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  4. #4
    Hey juliet, thanks for the kind words. Hmm tough question, I honestly don't know why didn't start any earlier. When I played the first episode just close to two months ago, I actually remembered that I had read previews before the first episode originally launched. Luckily though, those didn't go very deep into the story. I guess it somehow went of my radar then.

    But as you say, I can't even imagine what it must have been like to wait for weeks or months for the next episode to appear. On the other hand, I did take my time playing through it over the course of about 4 to 5 weeks. I just think you really should enjoy such a wonderful story, breath in every detail, all this beautiful atmosphere. Exploring is something I generally like to do and it felt really rewarding in this game. All the little details and stories to be gathered from your journal, for example.

    There's one advantage you people who joined earlier have, though. You had a chance to get the limited retail edition, which is very hard to be found these days. It almost makes me feel bad to not be able to buy it and support developers by doing so. Also, that soundtrack! I know it's on Spotify (just listened to it today ), but having a physical edition of a story so dear to my heart...it would be truly something special.

    Ultimately, I'm just happier than I could ever describe in words to have experienced this wonderful journey. I’m so glad and grateful how much it affected me emotionally and the lasting effect it had on me. I mean, I’m still smiling in joy when thinking about all those special moments and adorable characters that I’ve utterly fallen in love with.

  5. #5
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    Well, as they say. . . "better late than never."

    Thinking back, the only reason I came upon the game was by watching a teaser trailer on Youtube; the rest is history. Just after episode one was released I joined the forum here by following the link in the game menu; it was pretty barren then, and only I and a couple more people were even here to start discussions, and as the days went by there came a steady trickle of folk just as mystified by it as was I.

    The game had an instant intrigue which generated some wild theories as to what was really going on in Arcadia Bay. I wrote volumes on the subject (you only have to look at some of my past posts) which were mainly wrong in certain aspects, but right in others. Then after a month or so the forum became flooded by the people who had also discovered the game; lots and lots of ideas began to spring up all over the place - all trying to lay claim to solving the great Arcadian mystery; it was bags of fun.

    You can probably picture in your mind's eye, that back then, and because of the long wait between episodes, the theories which I gave reference to above had time to ferment in everyone's minds and after a while you convinced yourself that you really had something concrete with which to build upon - that is until the next episode was released and totally devastated any ideas that you thought were right. Back to the drawing board!

    Then there was the hypnotic quality of the episode endings and those wonderful soundtracks which carried you along as you watched the final cut-scenes with an intensity that only an applauding rock crowd could match.

    I knew - after I played through "Chrysalis," that I was embarking on a new, unique gaming experience of the like I had never known before, and as the episodes slowly marched on, my belief in this was quite rightly reinforced.

    Additional: As the game in its entirety is almost two years old now, the forum is somewhat quiet of late and nobody ever comes here that much anymore - they've gone on to other things. But I still check in most days just to see what's what.
    Last edited by julietxjules; 5th Feb 2017 at 04:29.
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  6. #6
    That early time when episode 1 just had come out must have been magical, indeed. Really does sound like hella fun to play detective analyzing each and every last single clue. I guess the wait between episodes had its good side, because it gave you the time to let things sink in, reconsider what you thought initially. I would have loved being there at that time, picking apart each tiny little detail to imagine what might be going on in Arcadia Bay. Also, meeting so many other like-minded people, discussing with them your theories or simply sharing the admiration for a wonderful story must have been its own beautiful part of the journey.

    And I definitely agree with you about the episode endings: they gave them such a beautiful way of sinking into your mind, letting you process what actually has just happened, leaving you amazed and wondering.

    If I can find some moments, I'll definitely read through some of your mentioned theories to get a slight indication of what it must have been like here two years ago. So, expect me to be around here for quite some time.

  7. #7
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    It was all mysterious and magical when episode one took off; there was a lot of symbology scattered here and there that fed the mythology surrounding Arcadia Bay. That was the point when one thought that there was much more to all this than at first met the eye, most of it was just a 'tip of the hat' to films or books of the same genre; the dev team are fans of Donnie Darko so it's easy to see why such things as science fiction or mysticism were put in place.

    I don't know if you picked up on it, but if you studied all the licence plates on all the vehicles you would have seen part formed words with all the vowels removed, and if you mentally reassembled them you would have got names of past films that shared similar themes as Life Is Strange. These were easter eggs put there for the fans to find.

    I'm sure that when and if you ever get round to reading my past threads they may raise an eyebrow or two, or even make you laugh -I was as clueless as anyone else.

    But as you are going to be around here for a while, there's plenty of time for you to browse the forum as a whole, and if you want to begin new conversations about the game then I will be happy to participate.

    JJ
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  8. #8
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    First of all, I'm really glad you like it. Life is Strange means a lot to me and seeing other people being absorbed in the world makes me happy.

    I just want to say, in retrospective, I think that my presence on the forums subtracted from the enjoyment of the ending.
    I found this forum after finishing Episode 3 and immediately jumped on the train of speculations and theories. I have seen many of them, and even, sadly, predicted the ending of the whole game. But, people on the forums were pretty sure that it wouldn't happen, they thought it wouldn't be as good as they imagined. If I hadn't come to the last episode with this mindset I got from here (just to be clear, I'm not angry at anyone, this is what forums are about), I would have accepted or liked the ending fine. Instead, I was really disappointed and angry, even though such a reaction wasn't really justified.

    Even with that, I am still glad I was with Life is Strange from the beginning, as it gave me more time to think about each episode and resonate all the feeling I had. I simply had to get it off my chest.

  9. #9
    I can perfectly well understand your point. Taking part in the discussions here in between episodes must have been kind of a double edged sword. With speculating about each and every detail and focusing on the events of the past episodes you're obviously building up expecations about what's to come.Thus in your case, you may be disappointed if something happens the way you predicted. On the other hand it must have been a great time to exchange each others' thoughts, getting insights of how other people have been affected by the stunning story parts you just witnessed.
    Ultimately, I'm very glad I ended up here eventually, to find like-minded people who adore the game just as much as I do!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tataboj View Post
    First of all, I'm really glad you like it. Life is Strange means a lot to me and seeing other people being absorbed in the world makes me happy.

    I just want to say, in retrospective, I think that my presence on the forums subtracted from the enjoyment of the ending.
    I found this forum after finishing Episode 3 and immediately jumped on the train of speculations and theories. I have seen many of them, and even, sadly, predicted the ending of the whole game. But, people on the forums were pretty sure that it wouldn't happen, they thought it wouldn't be as good as they imagined. If I hadn't come to the last episode with this mindset I got from here (just to be clear, I'm not angry at anyone, this is what forums are about), I would have accepted or liked the ending fine. Instead, I was really disappointed and angry, even though such a reaction wasn't really justified.

    Even with that, I am still glad I was with Life is Strange from the beginning, as it gave me more time to think about each episode and resonate all the feeling I had. I simply had to get it off my chest.
    I actually joined the forums straight after I bought episode one; I remember it well. It was rather empty in those days and not many people had played the game yet. By the end of episode three this forum became literally inundated with new members; some just seeking answers to seemingly unanswerable questions, and others posting their own take on played out events which would determine (in their mind) the ending.

    And talking of the ending. . .I remember starting to write a huge piece about what I thought about it. Was it good? Did I think it justified buying the whole series and seeing it through? Was it all worth it? Was the ending a complete disaster for all the folk who invested themselves in Max and Chloe? Did the ending satisfy or meet expectations? These were just a few of the internal struggles I had with myself when I began writing my final verdict, but then something made me stop and abandon it completely.

    There was quite a lot of negativity going round after episode five came out and I intentionally held back from responding to such posts simply because it didn't matter what other people thought about it; the only thing that did matter was my own experience. This is not to say that the universe revolves around just me or that my opinion is the only one of any consequence; no: all it meant was, I wouldn't allow all the negativity to clutter up my own mind and distort or influence my feelings. The game takes the player on an emotional journey, an emotional journey that is messy and complicated at best. We all accumulate emotional baggage as we journey through life and some of it is messier than we would like it to be, but nonetheless we retain it all in memory. There may be just one moment in the aforementioned 'messy' memory (which overall might be a sad one, or has an undeniably poignant gravitas attached to it), that has a glimmer of something hopeful or wonderful which then evokes a feeling of melancholy or longing for something in the past which has been lost. The game projects this situation or 'state of being' really well throughout and never cowers away from it.

    "Life Is Strange" is 'messy.' Life itself is, or eventually becomes 'messy.'

    The above statement became my personal catalyst in preventing me from continuing my final verdict on a game I will never forget. The point is one of experience, an experience of a journey I undertook when I bought the game upon release. If I came away from that experience with negativity in my heart, then I would be guilty of gross misinterpretation of something which is quintessential to my life itself: the ability to retain a memory or experience and learn from it. It is a given that positivity could not exist without negativity - they both co-exist within the same sphere but are diametrically opposed - so to speak. So with this in mind I prefer to find a balance between the two and use any judgement I have wisely, at least that way my opinion will be a measured one and not based purely on like or dislike.

    But after all's said and done, "Life Is Strange" is an emotionally charged game which has the power to pull you in any direction it pleases, and I know for a fact that I have never known or played any other game which has had that ability.

    It is quite simply, unique!
    Last edited by julietxjules; 17th Mar 2017 at 19:31.
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