Life Is Strange

Over five episodes, Life is Strange has become more than another interactive drama - it's become one of the most interesting games in years.

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FeatureHow Yakuza and Life is Strange let us revisit their worlds

From neon streets to small-town bedrooms.

The places we visit in games are usually one-off affairs; we shoot or puzzle ourselves through a level and are done with it, always impatient to get to the next stage and exciting new sights. Many games recognise that virtual spaces are more than just levels whose walls funnel us through a series of obstacles. They allow us to spend time exploring or simply being in those spaces. Many RPGs, for example, let us return to locations we visited dozens of hours earlier, perhaps subtly changed by the intervening time or our actions. In the Animal Crossing series, the miniature world changes subtly in our absence, and NPCs will even admonish us for staying away for too long.

Arcadia Baes: A Life is Strange spoilercast for Before the Storm

Johnny, Aoife, Donlan and Tom discuss episode one.

Hello dear listeners and welcome back to Arcadia Baes - Eurogamer's podcast for Life is Strange, a game we like to talk a lot about. We're back to chat about the new Before the Storm prequel - so expect full spoilers for episode one.

Square Enix is fixing a Life is Strange: Before the Storm mistake whereby one of the game's PlayStation trophies was gettable only in the bonus episode that comes with the more expensive Deluxe Edition. This would make the coveted Platinum Trophy - awarded for collecting all other trophies (something some Trophy hunters take very seriously) - impossible to earn unless you paid more for the game.

As you might have read, I interviewed Deck Nine lead writer Zak Garriss at E3 a couple of weeks back, about their upcoming prequel to the beloved Life is Strange, about Ashley Burch not returning to voice Chloe, and about which possible directions the studio can take a story that fans kind of already know the ending to.

Life is Strange prequel's Max-based bonus episode is a Deluxe Edition exclusive

Life is Strange's three-part episodic prequel, Life is Strange: Before the Storm, will feature a bonus episode where you play as the first season's protagonist Max Caulfield. The bad news: this chapter will only be available to those who buy the game's Deluxe Edition.

"We will still be giving you one final chance to play as Max through the self-contained bonus 'Farewell' episode, which takes place long before the events of Before the Storm," developer Deck Nine announced. "This stand-alone bonus episode, will release after episode 3, and is only available as part of the Deluxe Edition of Life is Strange: Before the Storm."

Indeed, even the Complete Season and Season Pass (episodes two and three) won't include this flashback epilogue.

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Three-part Life is Strange prequel confirmed

Three-part Life is Strange prequel confirmed

UPDATE: Chloe voice actor won't reprise her role due to voice actors' strike.

UPDATE 13/06/2017 4.03am: The voice actor who plays Chloe, Ashly Burch, will not be reprising her role in this prequel. The reason: the recent voice-actor's strike.

“Hey y'all, to the fans asking - I wasn't able to reprise my role as Chloe in Life is Strange: Before the Storm due to the SAG-AFTRA strike,” she tweeted.

“Chloe means a lot to me. Grateful for the opportunity to consult on her character,” Burch added.

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Life is Strange 2 finally confirmed

After a long wait, Life is Strange developer Dontnod Entertainment has finally confirmed a new season of the game.

In a video released in the last few minutes the studio has confirmed it has now sold more than 3m copies of Life is Strange's first season - and that a new Life is Strange game was on the way.

Apparently this new Life is Strange has been in development since the first game recieved its disc release - but there's no word yet on when we might hear more. Perhaps we'll catch a glimpse in a few short weeks at E3? [UPDATE: We've heard from publisher Square Enix the team won't be at E3. Ah, well.]

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Ever since Life is Strange Season One ended a few months ago, we still occasionally bring it up in the office and mull over the many unanswered questions left hanging by the game's multiple endings and open-ended story threads. I'm still confused as to the relationship between Nathan Prescott and Mark Jefferson. Tom is curious as to what would have happened to Max and Chloe had they left town together to start a new life. Johnny just really wants to know why Frank loves beans so much.

One of Life is Strange's best subplots involves player character Max Caulfield entering a student photo contest called Everyday Heroes. The object was to take a picture capturing an ordinary person's inner hero. Now, publisher Square Enix is replicating that contest in real life with the grand prize being a $10k scholarship for the winner.

This year, we're counting down our 10 favourite games of the year in daily articles. We'll reveal our game of the year on 1st January 2016. The top ten was decided by a vote among Eurogamer staff and contributors, and we didn't even fiddle the results!

Life is Strange review

It's difficult to think of a way to convincingly recommend Life is Strange without including a multitude of caveats. It's an interactive drama, but the story isn't always well-written and the dialogue is frequently clumsy. It strikes at an audience other games rarely consider, but there's a lot of half-baked teen angst going on. It has a gorgeous, unique art style, but the graphics are nothing special. Some episodes are fantastic - others are not. But, for every reason I think someone might not get along with Life is Strange - it features piss-poor lip synching and its gameplay and story are sometimes straight-up not talking to one another - I still have to recommend it, more so than any other game I've played this year. Despite its many flaws, I can't help but think of it as one of the best interactive story games of this generation.

Life is Strange

Publisher: Square Enix

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As we've previously discussed on the Arcadia Baes podcast, there's a lot to admire about Dontnod's serialised coming of age tale Life is Strange. There's also quite a lot to criticise about it too. But one thing that I find absolutely fascinating about the troublesome teenage years of photography student Max Caulfield is how Dontnod approaches the idea of video game romance.

To click or not to click, that is the question. If you've been following Life is Strange thus far, you'll probably be keen to continue on with this pivotal episode on your own save and in your own time. But, if you're that curious or that impatient, and hey, I'm not here to judge, here's the first 16 minutes of episode 4 - 'Dark Room' - for you to watch. There aren't many huge story spoilers for those that have kept up to date with previous episodes, it's more like flavouring for everything to follow.

Life is Strange: Episode 4 launches next week, here's the trailer

The wait for Life is Strange: Episode 4 is nearly over - the excellent episodic series' penultimate chapter launches next week.

PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners can download Episode 4: Darkroom from Tuesday, 28th July.

That means a launch the following day on PS3/PS4 in Europe when the PlayStation Store updates here.

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VideoVideo: Games that do mental health right

Hellblade isn't the first to tackle this complex topic.

Hellblade, Ninja Theory's next game, focuses heavily on the mental health of main character Senua. It's an interesting premise and one I hope is executed successfully. In making this design choice, Ninja Theory has placed itself among a number of other developers who have attempted, in a variety of ways, to portray mental health issues in a constructive manner.

FeatureForget the fantasy, Life is Strange finds its soul in the real world

'I don't exactly know what I mean by that, but I mean it.'

The best thing I ever read about Ray Bradbury, the sci-fi and horror author, occasional screenwriter, and eternal manchild, was an article that criticised his imagination. This is heresy, of course, and to make matters worse I've misplaced the article in question. Bear with me nonetheless: according to this writer, while Bradbury's widely lauded for his powers of invention, in truth his strengths lie elsewhere. His rocketships, his space travellers, his dystopias are flimsy and lacklustre. His real genius was for memory, rather than imagination - for decade-old griefs, lapsed friendships and childhood fears. Those fears! So clinically reconstructed years after the tears had run and the sweat had dried. Bradbury thrived on ghosts, not aliens, and his best material was found in the past rather than the future.

Life is Strange: Episode 3 release date

Life is Strange: Episode 3 release date

Chaos Theory due next week.

Life is Strange's third episode, Chaos Theory, will launch next Tuesday, 19th May.

THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD.

Developer Dontnod has issued a couple of hints about the upcoming chapter, including that main character Max will discover a new use for her time-warping powers.

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Some video games are designed to be played alone, but video games aren't my Mum and they can't tell me what to do. Sometimes having a friend along for the ride can make a single player experience into something special. In the video below, I take a look at a few of my favourites.

Life is Strange: Episode 2 release date revealed

Life is Strange: Episode 2 release date revealed

UPDATE: watch 15 minutes of gameplay from Episode 2. Spoilers!

UPDATE: At EGX Rezzed developer Dontnod played Episode 2 of Life is Strange live on stage, and we've got 15 minutes of gameplay in the video below.

Warning! Don't watch the video if you want to avoid spoilers. Also, be prepared for some audience participation.

ORIGINAL STORY: The second episode of indie adventure Life is Strange will launch for all platforms on 24th March.

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Life is Strange: Episode 1 review

FeatureLife is Strange: Episode 1 review

Donnie Darko does Gone Home?

Editor's note: We're taking a different approach to reviews of episodic game series like Life is Strange, in which the debut episode will be reviewed without a score, as here, and we'll review the whole season with a score at its conclusion.

The title of Dontnod's episodic adventure is something of an understatement. The first chapter opens with Maxine Caulfield fighting through a tornado to reach a lighthouse. As things reach an apocalyptic crescendo, she snaps back to reality and realises she's actually in her college photography class. Not long after that, she discovers she has the power to rewind time and change events for the better - or worse.

Price and availability

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The first instalment of Dontnod's new episodic drama Life is Strange comes out on 30th January for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One and Xbox 360. A demo launches on the 30th for both current and last-gen consoles, allowing you to play through the game's first 20 minutes. I had the opportunity to have a go at that very same section recently, and you can see how I got on in the video below. It's a gentle but stylish opener; I'm quite looking forward to seeing the story unfold.

Life is Strange Episode 1 release date

Life is Strange Episode 1 release date

The intriguing new adventure from Remember Me dev.

Something that stood apart at Gamescom 2014 was Life is Strange, the new game and episodic series by Parisian developer Dontnod (who you may remember for making Remember Me).

It's a game without combat, an adventure game, and it has a time-rewind feature for undoing mistakes as well as manipulating puzzles and dialogue. It's got a female lead, it's all about character interaction, and it's mysterious like Twin Peaks. It's also got that eye-catching painterly style and relaxing autumnal mood.

And Episode 1, we now know, will be released 30th January on PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. It's got a sensible price tag of £3.99.

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