Thursday, 26 February 2015

Paralyzed By The Butterfly of Consequence: Life is Strange, Episode 1

So, today, as an early birthday present, I got Life is Strange episode 1. It's an adventure game in the tradition of Telltale's Walking Dead, with multiple choices, consequences, and all that jazz, and it's published by Square Enix... But it has a twist: You can, in a limited fashion, change your choices. Let's take an inconsequential example, and one that may or may not have consequences down the line (More on why I don't know yet in a bit.)

One of the first examples is part of a tutorial: You're Max, a shy college student who loves photos, but you need to get out of your class quick for... Reasons. Neither of your starting choices are any good, because they both involve detention (I can almost hear Max berating herself for her choices in the VA too, the acting is a definite plus in this game!)

...But you have a third choice. You see, Max... Can rewind time. No, she hasn't always been able to do it. No, she doesn't understand her powers... But, as of certain events, she can do it. So you have a third option: Rewind time, and say what the teacher wants to hear.


Now, as someone who's said exactly the wrong thing in class, I can certainly understand that seeming awesome. But there's something that has stopped me from playing the rest... Well, so far, anyhow, because I want to get back to this one, for multiple reasons.

You see, just like the Telltale games, Actions have Consequences. And not all of them are good. By definition, the choice I'm going to present isn't a spoiler, because I haven't seen the consequences. And I'm actually kind of scared to, because, as more spoilery reviews have shown, the stakes are actually quite high, and implied to be pretty high from the word go.

Okay, that's a face you could grow to hate, but... :S

So even a seemingly inconsequential choice (To comfort a preppy "mean girl" for her ruined cashmere jacket) Has Consequences. And I'm scared of them. I like Max. I empathise with Victoria, because so far... Well, she may be a bitch, but hell, I was a cock in college too, and I knew a few folks I thought were jerks who've... well, actually turned out alright, without making anyone's life go to hell in the process either.

I helped a girl dodge a rugby (Well, American Football) ball. I opened a cupboard. And however inconsequential that sounds... There's a little Butterfly in the corner, telling me "Your Action Will Have Consequences."

If the intro's anything to go by, Bad Shit Will Go Down, People Will Die... And I'm not sure I'm up to riding the emotional rollercoaster of finding out what my seemingly harmless pranks and explorations have really done.

Well, not today, anyway. The game is really well written, the VA is quite good (IE - People sound normal), and it looks pretty darn nice too. So I know I'll go back to it. But that little Butterfly scares me. And I think it should.

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