EGX London 2014: Life is Strange Impressions

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I knew very little about this game from DONTNOD, the same team that made Remember Me. Instead of a larger, more explosive sequel to their very competent PlayStation 3 title, the developers have decided to go for something completely new.

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Square Enix decided to hold a Press only event away from the hustle and bustle of the ever popular EGX London (formerly known as Eurogamer). Located in the back room of a very classic and quaint English pub, we were invited to see a live gameplay demonstration of Life is Strange and have a chat with Jean-Maxime Moris, creative director and founding partner of DONTNOD entertainment.

Using a similar formula to the Walking Dead series from Telltale games, this will be a five-part episodic adventure game. Life is Strange takes place in the fictional town of Arcadia Bay, Oregon. You play the character of a senior student named Max Caulfield who returns after a 5 year absence. Reunited with her former friend Chloe, the pair will attempt to uncover the uncomfortable truth behind the mysterious disappearance of fellow student Rachel Amber.

Its graphics are of a high standard and it looks like a very polished graphic novel with a soft, warm palette.

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The gameplay demonstration took place entirely in Chloe’s house where you were free to move around as you wished. After having a chat with Chloe in her room she asks you to put some music on as she chills out whilst lighting up a joint. Instead of putting some music on straight away, Max looks around the room and accidentally breaks a snow-globe, which obviously upsets her old friend. Objects and actions are highlighted with a white pencil outline and handwritten choices, which fade into view when you’re close enough to interact with the person or object.

The twist with this game is that you can rewind time and alter most actions or conversations. If you didn’t like upsetting your friend by breaking her treasured snow-globe, just simply rewind time and avoid the incident altogether. If a conversation didn’t pan out as planned, just change it. Her ability will grow during the course of the game and you’ll be able to change larger sections. All of these choices will alter how characters act with you and even the entire story. How much things can change are yet to be seen with this butterfly effect, but it looks promising.

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At one point Max needed to venture into the garage in search of some tools to fix her camera that was apparently broken in a previous altercation with another prominent character. As Max wandered around the house a late afternoon sun broke through gaps in the curtains, dust particles playfully danced in the light. The attention to detail was very impressive, a lot of care had gone into every inch of the demo and its hand-drawn textures.

It looked great on the PlayStation 4, even at this early stage in development. That being said, the character models looked slightly stiff and the lip-syncing was almost non-existent. With bucket loads of time to sort that out, I’m not worried about it. Square Enix and DONTNOD are still deciding on a release date but will have a fixed interval between episodes and are talking about a complete package at the end, maybe even a Special Edition. I left the session with high hopes and an excitement for the possibilities this game could deliver.

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Stay tuned to PS Nation for more information on this and many other games in the future.

Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Wii U, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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