Life Is Strange replay (Episode 1, full game spoilers) 

Replaying this to experience its mystery knowing its solution and to influence (probably a single line of dialogue in) later games; its story has major flaws, chiefly that it's still Bury Your Gays: The Game, hates disabled people, and relies on violence against women for shock value. In replaying it I'm going to talk about its successes but it's important to note that every one of them is undercut by those gargantuan and inexcusable missteps

Life Is Strange replay (Episode 1, full game spoilers) 

The thing I still appreciate about it as a game is how against its core mechanic it seems to be; Max has the ability to "rewind time" (savescum reality), feels she needs to do it in certain tense moments, and the player can also do this with trivial social interactions if they want. Either way, it turns the world around her into a sandbox and removes agency from the people in her life. She is now peerless, and that makes her dangerous

Life Is Strange replay (Episode 1, full game spoilers) 

It'd be one thing if it was exclusively used to prevent senseless tragedies like Chloe's death, but after every major conversation Max has the player is treated to her inner monologue asking "Did I do the right thing?"; I decided to avoid using rewinds whenever possible, it still took an iron will for me to ignore it. It's been a few years, but I don't remember it having a tangible or lasting effect on the game world either way

Life Is Strange replay (Episode 1, full game spoilers) 

A lot of players responded to this with "Oh, so every choice is a lie, then? Great, glad I paid $25 for this." but the alternative scenario, where you CAN use it for micro-optimization toward an ideal playthrough, is one of the bleakest scenarios possible. Oh, you didn't get the ending where all the good people are happy and safe in Max's dollhouse? Well, why not, there's literally no reason not to! Your choices truly matter here, you see

Life Is Strange replay (Episode 1, full game spoilers) 

I think the game telegraphs the dubious morality of its time travel system in a variety of ways, but less obviously through the inclusion of Warren, a character who would take advantage of a Kindness Coins system for real people if such a thing existed IRL. An alternate version of this game where he's the hero would be horrifying and also get a mixed-to-positive Steam user review rating

Life Is Strange replay (Episode 2, full game spoilers, suicide CW) 

Well, that was unexpected; Kate Marsh took her life in this playthrough (I was able to save her in my first one years ago). I was ready, I even took note of her family relationships and the bible passage she didn't cross out, but I accidentally had Max lecture her, causing her to jump before I could bring up anything personal. I'm not too broken up (the ending I'm targeting saves her life) but I was tempted to restart the chapter

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Life Is Strange replay (Episode 3, full game spoilers, suicide CW) 

That said? The start of episode 3 makes no sense considering these events. A student just died and Warren's asking her to schedule a movie night? Chloe wants to go on detective adventures just a few hours later? An IRL Max who'd been in that situation would be in physical shock in the moment and emotionally scarred for life, but episodic games can't diverge too greatly and she's a player character, so she just shakes it off

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Life Is Strange replay (Episode 3, full game spoilers, suicide CW) 

A bit of episode 5 sneaks its way into Max's FB wall with a bunch of people insulting her for fucking up so bad, which was a nice touch; for all the story's callousness and writing flaws I do appreciate its attempts to get under the player's skin this way, I feel like I could spend some time in text unpacking this moment and how I feel in it

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