Very Good (Gaming)

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Saturday, September 18, 2021, 23:29 (31 days ago) @ Cody Miller
edited by Cody Miller, Saturday, September 18, 2021, 23:57

Max and Chloe from the original Life is Strange are an unbeatable team. But I think Alex Chen is probably the best protagonist in all the Life is Strange games. Not only in terms of backstory and complexity, but in how she's performed by the voice artists and the animators / mocap performer.

The jank from the original game is basically gone, and yet the game still retains the painterly style. As a result, I think this is some of the best acting and emoting from digital characters I've seen in a while. It's very close to what Naughty Dog is doing. The eyes in particular. It's super common in games to see dead eyes, but the eyes here, particularly those of Alex, are just super well done and extremely expressive. Lip sync is way better. You're going to believe everything these characters do, feel, and say.

The empathy mechanic is not really as well explored as Max's time rewind ability from the first. Max's ability felt so integrated into the game mechanics as well as the theme, that is felt absolutely essential. Alex's ability is supremely important thematically, but it feels less important in terms of game mechanics. The ability to feel and manipulate emotions can be fraught with moral questions, and it's pretty much just always best to use the power to help the person.

The tougher decision is when you can transfer the emotion off of them and on to you, freeing them but burdening you. There's really only two major decisions regarding this, and it would have been cooler I think to make it a sort of cumulative running total, where each person you help burdens you more and more, which can have varying consequences. It would have made the mechanic much more interesting to use and implement, requiring you make decisions.

The story is a much more straightforward affair than the original. I feel like it was maybe just a bit TOO streamlined, and some more subplots like the original could have helped.

I think this game is up there just behind the original. The main character is much stronger, but I feel like the supporting cast is less interesting. Deck Nine is doing a pretty great job here.

LiS > True Colors > BtS > Lis2

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