Spoil Sport: Life Is Strange Episode 1 – Chrysalis

Spoil Sport: Life Is Strange Episode 1 – Chrysalis

Warning: we mean it! Serious spoilers ahead.

A heartwarming tale about a girl named Max who moved away from her home town for five years only to move back and experience a ton of drama. In the process, she manages to learn things about herself and more importantly, what it means to grow up. I feel more indie already. Cue the white-guy-with-guitar music. Yeah…. that’s artistic.

Life is Strange . It’s not just the motto I keep repeating to myself whenever I accidentally hit a hobo with my car, it’s the title of a brand new game from publisher Square Enix, which hasn’t made a good game since Chrono Trigger , and developer Dontnod, who made… hold on let me look it up… Remember Me ? No sir, I do not.

Since both of these guys have had kind of a spotty record of late, they decided to make a brand new innovative and artistic game sure to appeal to the games as art crowd, and by that I mean they copied the hell out of Telltale.

So once again you are going to be having a lot of conversations and making a whole lot of choices, except this time around you get to undo the one gameplay element Telltale has going for it, the whole “your choices matter” thing. You see, your choices don’t matter at all because you can rewind time! Did I mention that? Someone get the Prince of Persia on the phone, I think Dontnod stole the time dagger. Then again, this game would be a lot cooler if the Dahaka busted through Max’s dorm room wall Kool-Aid Man style!

The plot is really, really, short. Max has a dream in class, sees a student with a gun in the bathroom, retrieves a flash drive from her dorm room, and then hangs out with a childhood friend and possible lesbian love interest. That’s it. It’s really just three scenes, except you spend the rest of your time screwing around with your time powers.

Hey look! That geeky girl has a drone! You ask to play with it and she says “Psssh, you don’t know anything about drones!” Oops! Well why not look in her backpack, completely invading her private space, just so you can rewind and tell her about her own drone model? Now she thinks you are cool.

The skaters want to hang out with you but you need to know the name of a trick or two first. Good thing they tell you the name of a trick when they tell you how stupid you are. Rewind time and you are the cool kid once more.

Your skeevy art teacher is being hit on by the popular girl in school. Oops, he chastises you with a quote from John Lennon for not doing your schoolwork. Just rewind time and tell him the quote before he does and he will think you are as pretentious as he is! Maybe then he will have sex with you after hours… wait, what?

Spoil Sport: Life Is Strange Episode 1 – Chrysalis

But let’s go over the plot anyway. Max has a dream about being caught in a big horrible horror game-style tornado down by a lighthouse before waking up in her classroom. She has kind of a crappy day in class, not knowing the answer to any question, so she puts in her headphones and goes to the bathroom. There she sees the richest kid in school talking with a punk girl about how he is somehow involved in the drug trade. He pulls a gun on her and shoots her. Damn! This hipster school is worse than I thought!

Then Max accidentally rewinds time and realizes that she has super powers. She uses this time to answer questions right, get to the bathroom, and ring the fire-alarm to save the girl. On the way out of the building the principal stops her. Now you are faced with the incredible choice of ratting out the rich kid and having the principal think you are a liar, or keeping the info to yourself and having the principal think you are a liar. CHOICE BASED GAMEPLAY! WOOOOOO!

Now you have to get your flash drive. You futz around the campus a bit making some time friends before you notice that the popular girls are sitting on the stoop to your dormitory and won’t move. Obviously you just push past them, right? NOPE! Solve a time puzzle to blast them with sprinkler water and cover them in paint! Then you have an important choice about whether or not you want to take a picture and post it to “the social medias”. Yep, that’s exactly how high schoolers talk.

You enter your dorm room to find that another student has taken your flash drive without your permission. Goddammit. OK, so you go to her room to find that yet another student has locked her inside because of a rumor that she was sexting her boyfriend. GODDAMMIT! How do you even lock someone in a room from the outside?

Time for another time puzzle. Go to the popular girls room, print out an e-mail that for some reason really explicitly explains how this rumor isn’t true, show it to the girl who locked the door, get her to move, unlock the door, go into the room, choose whether or not you want to point out the positive pregnancy test, and then get your flash drive back. Geez, high school life is more complicated than I remember.

You go to meet up with your boy crush, which will very obviously be overshadowed by the potential lesbian love interest, and then the crazy guy with a gun comes back, He then tries to choke you to death! HOLY CRAP, this high school has problems. Lucky the punk girl/lesbian love interest/Ashly Burch from Hey Ash Whatcha Playin’ (awesome) comes back and gives you a ride in her broken-down truck.

She spirits you away to her broken home with her hyper-aggressive war veteran of a dad who just so happens to be the head of security at your school. You rifle through her things and discover how much her life has sucked since you moved out, and after you steal her dad’s tools to fix your camera, he comes home and Ash tells you to hide in the closet. Ha ha, I get it!

Here’s another big choice moment. You can either a) stay in the closet like you were told and watch her dad hit her rougly, or b) step out of the closet and defend her. Once again, this results in either your best friend getting angry at you for hiding, which mind you she told you to do , or her dad getting a serious hatred complex for you. Neither of these choices really make her life any better. Oops.

So then you go to a lighthouse and have a horror dream again, and then the game ends. Life is indeed strange.

I’m not sure what to make of this game, actually, but I do have to say there is this one scene where a geeky girl gets hit in the head with a football. You are supposed to rewind the game to prevent it from happening, but just rewinding it so that it happens over and over again… maybe I’m a horrible person, but that scene alone was worth the game’s entry fee.

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