Before the Storm redefines what a Life is Strange game can be.
Brave New World is yet another piece of lovingly crafted evidence that should banish any lingering doubt about the developer. They are a highly capable team and a near perfect fit for this series.
Just like Stardew Valley filled a void in the hearts of those missing Harvest Moon, Golf Story does what Nintendon't by delivering a highly competent take on the Mario Golf RPG formula – an offshoot of a franchise that has gone missing for well over a decade. Golf Story likely wouldn't have existed without looking to gaming's past for inspiration but that hardly makes it a knockoff. It excels in every way you'd hope a game in this niche but fascinating genre would.
Like Chrysalis, Awake once again feels like the beginning of something great.
Sure, all the gaping wounds that have plagued the series over the years are slowly getting fixed with each year that passes, but that does not change the fact this is a very sick series. In its current form I believe it is one that can never rise above mediocrity.
For people that once loved Descent, and in their heart of hearts still do, Sublevel Zerois a compelling answer for those that want a modern day take on the genre. It is not without issues though. It is an expertly crafted 6DOF game with tight controls, but the rogue parts of its cross genre appeal are rough enough around the edges to be problematic.
Whilst it may not initially be obvious, open world games have dramatically evolved in the last 5 years. I was once happy with mindless collectatons, but I've grown to want more. The best open world games nowadays are an expansion of the form, but Mad Max is highly regressive in far too many areas to be meaningful. Everything I experienced during my time with the game felt like it came five years too late to the open world party. Those with any interest in the genre will have already trod similar ground long before. We've seen all these tricks done dozens of times – so much so that all the props that were once cleverly hidden away are now clear to see.
With one episode behind me, I feel like the series may be too rough in far too many areas to heartily recommend to all, but regardless there is something compelling about it. Whilst it is not always wise to gamble on future events, now that introductions are out of the way, hopefully the series can grow, and learn to better present its unique offerings in future episodes. I am happy to stick with it to see where it goes.
As the end approaches, it feels right to be alongside Max Caulfield in her effort to seek closure once and for all. Even though Episode Five may be a continuous torrent of truly dire situations, it is an experience that demands attention. Intense monologues – both venomous and heartbreaking – are its standout moments. Its clever narrative offers a sense of finality that can fill you with terror, happiness, and heartbreak in equal parts. Thank you for the year that was Life is Strange – it's been emotional.