I loved Life Is Strange last year.
Enough to buy it a second time and snag this snazzy Limited Edition. If you're just looking for a simple recommendation from me: Check it out!
If you're looking for a little more though, Life is Strange is a story-heavy game driven by choices. The main character is Max Caulfield, a high school girl who discovers she can travel back in time as she gets mixed up in teen drama with the most dangerous and vulnerable members of the school community. Oh, and then her drop-out BFF shows up! I found it to be really well-executed--it's certainly not my first time travel story so I saw some of the twists and turns coming, but it didn't take away from their impact.
I'd heard about the Telltale games like The Walking Dead before--I even own the first season thanks to some Steam sale or other--but Life is Strange gets the credit for opening my eyes to this genre. The experience has forced me to confront my inner Hardcore Gamer Boy who cares about gameplay more than story--there's nothing less valid about clicking around a little bit and watching a story unfold than there is about clicking on skeletons until they die ad nauseum. I've gone on to play through Until Dawn on my shiny new PS4, and I'm looking forward to catching up on Telltale's backlog in the near future.
Turn back if you haven't finished Episode 5 and want to go into the series unspoiled. Go ahead, I'll wait.
Even though the game's final choice is pretty evenly split according to the in-game statistics, I feel like I'm in a minority in my social media sphere who chose to save Chloe. Last week, the folks on the excellent Match 3 Podcast went as far as to conclude that anyone who saved Chloe must be a hormonal teenager incapable of seeing the bigger picture! As someone who's well past his hormonal teenage phase, I want to offer a counterpoint about why I made the final choice I did and why I feel good about it.
In its conclusion, Life is Strange puts the player in a dilemma that's explored in a lot of stories. Do you sacrifice one person--who loses their life as a direct result of your choice--to potentially save many more people? Or, do you save that one person, but leave the many at risk as a consequence? For a variety of reasons, many such stories save the one person, leaving the cast determined to find "another way" to resolve their plight and avoid giving up someone they care about.
Even though it's implied that the world would go back to normal if Max used her power one last time, I found this to be inconsistent with one of the game's other themes: every time Max traveled through time, things got worse in unexpected ways. What if Max went back in time and sacrificed Chloe, but it didn't stop the tornado and stabilize the world? Even though I know the other ending doesn't work that way, the mere possibility of it was more awful to me than sacrificing Chloe. Because of this, I decided I wouldn't use my power "one last time," instead choosing to never use it again. I felt ethically responsible for the situation that had unfolded, and that I had to stop my repeated, failed attempts to fix it. I had no idea where this power had come from, or if anything could undo the damage it caused. Thus, Max and Chloe survived the ordeal, and left Arcadia Bay together.
P.S., notice how I kept switching between "she/her" and "me/my" pronouns when talking Max and her decisions in the game? I noticed them in proofing but decided to leave them--that's how drawn into the game I was and how blurred the line is. Was I playing as Max, or was I a third-person observer? Did Max make those decisions, or did I make them for her?