Game of the Year Intern's Pick: Life is Strange
Video games have been a huge part of life for me. I've played them since I was a little girl. Trying to pick my favorite game of the year would usually be hard. This time, it was easy for me to choose: Life is Strange. This game isn’t full of action or realistic graphics. However, I lost sleep for a couple of nights because of how emotionally driven it was.
When a developer can put together a story that tears my soul in pieces, but still leaves me wanting more. I believe that is what makes a great game. It’s like binge watching a new series, and when you get to the end you don’t know what to do with yourself afterward.
To give a small recap of the game, you playas a girl named Max Caulfield. She is just a normal girl trying to become an amazing photographer at a school called Blackwell Academy. After leaving class and heading to the bathroom, she runs into a situation where another student shoots a girl in the bathroom. In a moment of desperation, she reaches out her hand and ends up turning back time. Max ends up back in the classroom, this time with an urgent need to save the girl's life. Later she finds out that it’s her best friend Chloe Price that she just saved.
That is the beginning of the story. I won’t spoil the rest, but Max does find out that her decision to turn back time has a negative effect on the world around her.
The game is filled with choices the player can make that genuinely affects gameplay later on down the road. A player could do something in Chapter One that will affect something in Chapter Two or Three. I really like having control over the story and what takes place. If you don’t like the outcome of a situation, you can just reverse time and redo the decision -- as long as you stay in the area. Who doesn’t want to reverse time and fix their mistakes?
Along with the amazing story, I love the graphics. Yes, they aren’t top-notch, but they are unique. Sometimes we get so stuck in wanting realistic graphics, we forget that video games are an art form. They are meant to be expressive and give us something new. The developers at Dontnod really took that to heart and created a masterpiece. It doesn’t fit in the requirement box that gamers and AAA developers put around gaming. It’s a rebel and because it’s a rebel it will always have a place in my heart.
Even though the story is over, I chose my ending and I don’t regret it. I still find myself going to Spotify and listening to the soundtrack of the game -- especially when I am writing. Every song matched the game flawlessly, and really pulled at my heartstrings from time to time. Some songs are actually indie artists who probably wouldn’t have gotten exposure any other way. They backed up the underdog and it served them well in the end.
So why is this game number one for me this year? Because it is different. It created its own standard and delivered a great story. Nothing fell short in this game for me. Everything was on par with what I want in a game. Uniqueness, artistry, a great story, and an emotional connection. I didn’t just play Max Caulfield, I was her. I felt the urgent need to save Chloe, to fix problems, and to change decisions. Not many games do that for me, and it will be hard to best this game in my eyes for a long time to come. Action games are good, but I crave a great story -- and Life is Strange made that happen.