Xbox One Review: Life is Strange: Episode 1

Time-traveling episodic series? Count me in.

Life is Strange is Square-Enix’s latest 5-part episodic series about a schoolgirl called Max who discovers she can rewind time in the town of Arcadia Bay. In doing so she can use information to manipulate situations, comfort people and even stop them from getting killed. It’s an interesting concept and one that has choices/consequences that will unravel as the series goes on. It’s hard to tell how much your actions will impact later episodes at this point, but I’m sure the pay off will be worth it.
There are a few other stories going on including the bullying of a pupil by the janitor, who just happens to be Max’s friend’s stepdad, who also has installed security cameras over the house. There’s a missing girl mystery that is obviously linked, as well as Max’s future vision of a hurricane heading towards the town. It’s got a lot of things going on and it’ll be interesting to see them progress through the other 4 episodes.
Obvious influences to Telltale’s Walking Dead series can be seen as you play, however there is a bit more thought put into the game than just dialog trees and quicktime events, although they do occur. There are time-based puzzles to solve, as well as optional photos to take for achievements. The voice-acting does let the whole experience down though, there are some pretty bad lines throughout…which is a shame since the concept and script seem to be pretty good, but it just doesn’t have that believable voice-acting that you would hope for.

Maybe I’m being too harsh, it is a low budget title and it is only the first episode. I do hope the quality of the acting goes up, but even if not…I’m still gripped by the story and can’t wait to see what happens next.

The Verdict

Life is Strange: Episode 1 is a nice introduction to this series; it delivers a cast of characters, time-travel puzzles, tough choices and consequences to follow in later episodes. It may not have the most convincing voice-acting, but I’m confident that the story will be enough to push it through to a thrilling climax.