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Thread: This is now my most favourite game

  1. #1

    Thumbs Up This is now my most favourite game

    Yes I registered here just to praise the game And yes I'm late to the party. Either way, lengthy post incoming.

    I finished the game 2 days ago, then grabbed the remaining photos yesterday, today I've been just listening to the soundtrack the whole day and I still don't have enough of it. I'll probably just go play it again, possibly as soon as tonight. So yea, this is now my favourite game of all times and I don't say it lightly, as I have very high standards. Actually now to think of it, it's probably my favourite piece of art altogether.

    I'm usually not a fan of allegories in game stories (they are usually not that interesting), but I love how in LIS, pretty much everything can be interpreted in many ways. The central time-rewinding mechanics: should I take it literally, or is it a subversion of video game tropes, or is it an extension of Max's character (where this aspect alone can be branched into multiple interpretations), is it an allegory on how we make choices in life, how complex we actually are as people (i.e. to really know another person, we'd need to see them in the 'alternative universe') or how we can be cruel yet still have an impact on the world as teenagers? Or are these just 'what if' scenarios, is it Max witnessing her friend getting killed at the beginning and either imagining what she could have done differently, or maybe she's trying to find ways to cope with it for the rest of the story? It can be all of that, and probably some more. Every time I think about any little thing from the game, I find new ways how it fits into the whole picture.

    I truly can't believe how amazingly everything fits together in this game. It's the best slice of life, not just in games but probably anywhere. The story has exactly the right balance between engaging and believable. And Max is probably my new favourite game protagonist (not that she has too much competition, most game protags are written terribly). Being a photographer and an old hipster who never fit anywhere during his teenage years (and still doesn't), I can relate to her way, waaaay more than I could ever expect.

    The dream sequence at the end doesn't just make for a beautiful last part, but catches the feelings of being a teenager so perfectly. How do we really know the people around us? How do we even know ourselves? I love how she meets her past self and they both call themselves out on different things. Of course it's been only a week in the game but Max has changed a lot during that time. It truly makes me think - what would I tell my old self if we met? What would he tell me? The part about rewinding time just to pick the right answer to make other people like us - ain't that so true? Aren't we all sometimes hypocrites like that? Not to mention it's such a great deconstruction of the central game mechanics itself.

    At first I wasn't really that much into rewinding and doing different choices. In these kinds of games I generally like to pick an option and stick with it without second-guessing myself, at least to see how it plays out. But it didn't take me long to get into Max's shoes (em, sneakers) and use the rewind often, to see which option gets me where. Picking between the various options is basically Max having to juggle between finding her own identity and doing what is expected of her. Like I said... Perfect description of being a teenager.

    Did I mention art? Also something I wasn't that fond of at first (and I certainly do wish for a remaster with remade animations and lip-sync), but damn did I ever grow fond of it. Environmental story-telling at its best. Walking to someone else's room and looking at all the small details that reflect the personality of its inhabitant, occasionally being able to mess around to make Max's own imprint. Same goes for the other environments. I've spent ages just walking around and feeling the atmosphere. In some games I like to stand on one spot and watch teh sunset, but very few capture the atmosphere so well. Amazing!

    And on top of it all I love the small details. Like the slight blurring and aberrations at the edges of the screen, just like looking through a camera lens. Lots of games use it as a cheap gimmick, but here it's another subtle hint of Max feeling like an observer, not quite being a participant. No wonder she's a photographer. Again, I know that feeling! Or maybe we can understand it as us players being observers of a true developed world that feels so real it's like looking through a camera, not just playing a game.

    Am I over-thinking the game too much? Nah. I do tend to overthink games sometimes, but this one deserves to be talked about so much. I feel like I could write essays about it and still wouldn't do it justice. And unlike some other pieces, I know this one doesn't lose even a bit of its magic no matter how much analyzing it gets. It's amazing to see what happens when so much focused talent gets together to create one thing. Infinite layers of beauty.

    I play a lot of games but very few make for such a great combination of game mechanics, art, storytelling and soundtrack that fit together so perfectly that the whole so vastly escapes the sum of its parts.

    Just to name a few games that have done some of this stuff well...
    Transistor is a game that comes the closest with its beautiful art style, wonderful soundtrack and fitting narrative with multiple interpretations.
    Beyond Two Souls as also sewn from a similar cloth, after all it was my favourite game until LIS.
    Spec Ops the Line talks to the player and subverts the game tropes similarly how LIS does, but what SOTL did for the bro shooter genre and military life, LIS does for all video games and life in general.
    Assassin's Creed is probably the only other game that has the meta narrative so nicely implemented into the gameplay.
    Brothers: The Tale of Two Sons - the only other game that ever made me go emotional but I'm still mad that it has a game over state. I agree with David Cage that it's a failure of the game designer and not the gamer. Life Is Strange nicely overcomes that too!
    Bully - Also used to be on top of my favourites list for some time and captures the feeling of being a teenager very nicely, although from a different perspective. These 2 games really complement each other so greatly!
    The Wolf Among Us, L.A. Noire, Murdered: Soul Suspect (in the middle of this one, but interrupted to play LIS) - I do love these kinds of games and really appreciate they exist, but...

    Life Is Strange is simply a new benchmark not just for the genre but games in general. It combines the best aspects of the games above and still goes beyond.

    Thanks Dontnod for making this!

    I feel a bit stupid for ignoring this game for so long even though people kept telling me I'm gonna like it. I even downloaded the first episode a year ago and played for a few minutes, but I guess I wasn't in the mood for it or something. Well, at least, now being October, I could play it at full just at the right time Also, I've never written so much praise about a game, much less registered on a forum just for that purpose. I'll probably drop the devs an email too. Things so amazing like this have to be appreciated.

    OK I'm a bit exhausted now. Cheers guys

    P.S. I played the PS3 version but I'm also going to pick up the PC Limited edition tomorrow, just for the artbook and soundtrack. The game is available for 20 € where I live so it's great.

    Now excuse me while I go for a night drive listening to the soundtrack some more.

    -----

    Back and want to add some more things:

    Apart from games, LIS also reminded me of some of the more linear kind of entertainment that also incidentally deal with similar issues: FlashForward (my 2nd favourite TV series), Madoka Magica (my favourite anime) and Twelve Monkeys (one of my favourite movies). I don't know, maybe I have a thing for time travel or maybe this theme just gets the best out of authors by allowing their minds to go wild. Either way, again LIS combines the best aspects of the best things.

    And I also just realized that when I'll go play the game again, I'll be pretty much literally travelling back in time to Max's past, just like she did when she would rewind time. The beginning of the game won't be as awkward, not knowing what's going on, I'll have a more experienced Max who knows what's going to happen and can make some changes accordingly.

    The game is basically its own sequel!

    Like I said, it has infinite layers.
    Last edited by notateen; 16th Oct 2016 at 23:22.

  2. #2
    Good timing, as I just completed the game yesterday. Over the course of the five episodes, the game gave me feels the likes of which I never had before playing a video game. I experienced the same pure reactions that many have had witnessing the plot twists and heartbreaking moments from beginning to end. The one thing that I truly believe the game excelled at was character development. The characters, especially the protagonists, grew on you. And yes, they effectively manipulated certain so-called antagonist characters to keep you guessing until the climax.

    Chloe was my favorite character. The game certainly had me reaching for the hankey quite often. It should come as no surprise as to what the final decision was for me through my first play-through. Let's just say I'm sure I saved a couple trees; for the time being

  3. #3

    Big Grin

    I think the game excelled in everything

    BTW after playing the first episode I had to wait about 2 days till I could top up my PSN and get episodes 2-5 and that waiting was almost excruciating already. I had to start Murdered Soul Suspect to distract myself I can't imagine waiting 3 months for a new episode to come out. So I suppose it's good us newcomers could play all of it at once (as is true for all episodic games).

    I had to restore my PS3 file system last night and after it finished, of course LIS was the first game I checked if it works. And after I started it, of course I left it running just for the music / ambience sound.

    The majority of video games barely make me care for the during while playing. While LIS I'm sure I'll still remember on my deathbed. It's the one game I'd take with me to a deserted island. Even without a gaming machine

    Oh yea, Chloe will always live in my games. I mean sure, all the other characters are also great, multi-dimensional real people, but... Come on. It's Chloe I won't even watch the alternative ending on YouTube. For me they don't exist.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by notateen View Post
    I think the game excelled in everything

    BTW after playing the first episode I had to wait about 2 days till I could top up my PSN and get episodes 2-5 and that waiting was almost excruciating already. I had to start Murdered Soul Suspect to distract myself I can't imagine waiting 3 months for a new episode to come out. So I suppose it's good us newcomers could play all of it at once (as is true for all episodic games).

    I had to restore my PS3 file system last night and after it finished, of course LIS was the first game I checked if it works. And after I started it, of course I left it running just for the music / ambience sound.

    The majority of video games barely make me care for the during while playing. While LIS I'm sure I'll still remember on my deathbed. It's the one game I'd take with me to a deserted island. Even without a gaming machine

    Oh yea, Chloe will always live in my games. I mean sure, all the other characters are also great, multi-dimensional real people, but... Come on. It's Chloe I won't even watch the alternative ending on YouTube. For me they don't exist.
    I'll play through the game again, and will pick the sacrifice Chloe ending just to get it over with. I know there's alot of reaction videos on Youtube covering the game, and I'd imagine that one invoked the most emotional response. In the meantime, I'm waiting for the Limited Edition to come in the mail sometime this week. Once I learned that the official Soundtrack and artbook were available, I had to get it.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Auronforever View Post
    I'll play through the game again, and will pick the sacrifice Chloe ending just to get it over with. I know there's alot of reaction videos on Youtube covering the game, and I'd imagine that one invoked the most emotional response. In the meantime, I'm waiting for the Limited Edition to come in the mail sometime this week. Once I learned that the official Soundtrack and artbook were available, I had to get it.
    Really?I look forward to the continuation of the history of Max and Chloe. Much is still unknown. And it is wrong - not to continue a story, just I'm used to it and they great team.

  6. #6
    Am I overdoing it a little bit?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by notateen View Post
    Am I overdoing it a little bit?
    Nope, not even a little.

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