Lucien’s First Take: Life is Strange: Before the Storm Premier Trailer

I’ve made no secret that the original game is my favorite game of 2015.  Aside from the ending, which is stupid on so many levels that it forced me to do a rewrite which is on this site if you want to look for it, I loved it.  The game is truly phenomenal.  And just like Mass Effect 3, I don’t let the fact that the ending is pants-on-head retarded stop me from loving the rest of the franchise.  However, when I heard there was a sequel episodic series coming out, I was more than a little worried.  I mean, where are they going to go with the franchise?  I had games where I both saved and let Chloe die, so are they going to pick up with Max back in Seattle?  Where could this go?  Are we FINALLY going to get an answer to what Max’s power is and how it works?  That’s the biggest question I have after the series so that could be a little interesting.

But today Microsoft decided to unveil the latest season at their press conference.  And…I don’t know what to think.  Let’s take a look at the trailer and then talk about it.

Okay, so we have Chloe, who is one of my favorite female characters of all time, voiced by an amazing voice actress who I also loved in Horizon: Zero Dawn.  She’s in her room, smoking.  I can see the art style is the same, but it does look a lot more detailed.  The facial animations in-particular, which was my biggest gripe with this style.

She’s sitting there, smoking, and we see a raven land on her windowsill.  The previous game had a thing about the blue butterfly that Max took a pic with.  Is that the way it is with the raven?  In all mediums the raven has symbolized death.  A theory just came to me, but I want to keep going before we talk about it.

There’s a montage of things happening, and one of the things that gets my attention is her being in a car with her father when he is hit by a train.  Is that a dream sequence?  If it’s not, then it makes my theory have suddenly a lot more credibility.  There are things like a tree burning, and Chloe climbing the steps of Blackwell Academy with a sign about good luck seniors.  More Chloe being angsty and shit, but always alone.  That interests me.  The previous game made it seem like her and Rachel Amber were nigh-inseparable.

Here’s why I’m worried – part of me is thinking that all this is is just filling in Chloe’s backstory before the events of the game.  Why?  We already know what happened.  That would be stupid.  That would be the biggest waste of time and potential ever.  And the worst thing is that I’m going to buy the first episode to find out.  Because I have to know.  I have another theory, and I’m desperately hoping that it’s true.  If it really is as simple and dumb as what the title suggests, then I am honestly going to be nine kinds of done with Dontnod and their episodic games.

My theory is this – Chloe dies in so many of the timelines that Max has.  Whether it be in the beginning when Nathan shoots her, the junkyard where you can accidentally shoot her while playing with David’s gun, the alternate timeline if you have Max kill her when she asks her too, and at the very end if you choose to sacrifice her.  I always believed that the tornado was the alternate timelines Max created coming together to fuck up reality.  It made sense.  My theory is that this game has Chloe in the nether-space between timelines.  Like a space where nothing is real and she is desperate to escape.  Kinda like the world of the Nexus in Star Trek Generations.  That would be fascinating!  No joke, if they go that route then it makes sense why her reaction at the end where she sees Rachel is one of awe.  Like she can’t believe that she’s actually there.

But I am still worried that this is just rehashing a backstory we already know.  To Square Enix and Dontnod, if that is really the route you go, so help me Groj I will make the longest and most nit-picky post explaining why you are wasting gamers’ money that you have ever seen!  Not that you care, I’m sure, but hopefully my audience will care.  And I’m going to make sure all of you are told as fast as possible.  The first episode comes out August 31st.  Your move, Dontnod

Initial Verdict:
You Have My Attention

Peace out,

Maverick

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Lucien’s Gaming Clips: Life is Strange (Max and Chloe, Parts Twelve and Thirteen)

This feels more like an obligation than anything else.  I don’t like leaving things unfinished, so I decided to finish up my series showing the growth of the relationship between Max and Chloe, in this final episode of a game that started out with so much potential, but then died on the vine.  I’ve written a post about how the ending could have been done better (linked here), so you can check that out.  However, for those who want to see it, here are the final bits with Max and Chloe.  A head’s-up, the ending here to the episode, depending on which choice you made, will be spoiled.  I say that you aren’t missing much, but that’s just me.  If you really want to get there on your own, then I guess go play it, then get back to me.  Enjoy.

And that’s it.  The end of this game.  Hopefully.  They can only make it worse from here.  Maybe you all found something to like in here that I didn’t.  Let me know what you think down in the comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“Chloe, I can’t keep fixing everything if all I’m gonna do is keep breaking it, over and over and over again!”  -Max Caulfield, Life is Strange

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Gaming Clips (Max and Chloe, Parts Eight-Eleven)

With Episode 5 only two days away, I thought that I would show the growth of the relationship of Max and Chloe in Episode 4.  This episode was DEFINITELY a lot more plot-based than character based, but there is still a lot of stuff to show.  Given how it all turned out, I am eager to see what, if anything, waits for these two in the coming episodes.  I will say that there is some sad irony shown in how all of this starts.

You have Max, having gone back in time and changed the past, saving Chloe’s father, William.  She returns to the future and finds that it is a totally different place than when she left it.  An alternate timeline was created.  After seeing how drastically different everything was, Max runs to see if Chloe is alright.  When she arrives, she realizes the truth – that she ruined her best friend’s life.  Again.  The ironic thing is – she was a shitty friend in this timeline as well.  After Chloe’s accident, Max still hardly ever wrote or talked to her.  You can see how this is hurting her.  But it gets worse.

Once the two share a night together, watching movies like old times, Chloe has a request for Max.  Her health is fading, quickly.  She knows that it’s only a matter of time until she dies, and she doesn’t want to keep putting her family through that.  So she makes a request of Max – to help her end her life, and bring an end to the pain that she is suffering.  I chose to help her with that.  It was an emotional choice.  Made me think of what I would do in her place.  To have to live like that, it is something I honestly don’t like to think about.  When she arrives back in her time, Max immediately runs to the girl that she cares so much about.  A neat point – if you read her journal later, Max says that the moment that she saw the Chloe she remember again, she wanted to kiss her like she had before.  A sign that my suspicions are right.  Max does feel something for this girl, and you see that Chloe’s feelings about stuff are getting more complicated, and painful.

I’m getting into MAJOR spoiler territory, but you’ve had a couple months for this, so screw it.  After spending three and a half episodes trying to figure out what the mystery is with Rachel Amber, you finally get the whole picture.  In one horrifying moment, everything becomes clear.  The Dark Room had a secret.  A bunker filled with the remnants of Nathan’s dark fantasies coming to life.  One such folder was one of Rachel.  Tied up, drugged, and eventually, dead.  The proof is when you go back to the junkyard, and find her body.  You never see the slightly decayed remains, but it’s there.  It’s here that we learn the truth about how Chloe felt about her.  She loved her, calling her her angel.  It was more than just friendship. At least for Chloe.  I doubt we’ll ever know what really happened, but she was in love with Rachel Amber.  Now it’s done.  Thus has her descending from a person trying to solve a mystery, to a lover seeking revenge.

The final part of my clips has Chloe ready to finish it with Nathan.  They get a text that he is in the junkyard, moving Rachel’s body.  Chloe is ready to finish it, telling Max that she better rewind, so she can kill him again and again.  When they arrive, they find she’s still there.  The plot thickens.  Max is stabbed in the neck and drugged.  Chloe turns to attack, but then takes a bullet to the face.  You see her fall and die.  After saving her so many times, all Max can do is watch this girl that she is falling for perish.  The killer – Mr. Jefferson.  I KNEW that he would be involved in this, somehow.  I’ll show you the story.

I REALLY hope that Dontnod doesn’t just jerk us all around and make it so that I can’t use my time powers and change things.  I am really worried about where this is all gonna go.  This last episode is where it all comes down to.  Are they going to pull a Mass Effect 3 or an Until Dawn?  Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Until next time, a quote,

“Max, when we get to Nathan, you better rewind so I can kill him over, and over…”  -Chloe Price, Life is Strange

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Gaming Clips: Life is Strange (Max and Chloe, Parts One and Two)

Here it is.  I am making a compilation of the clips in this game that show the growth of the relationship between Max and Chloe.  These two clips are both taken from Episode 1.  Here, we have the two reuniting after being apart for a long period of time.  It’s been five years, and both Max and Chloe have become different people.  Their reunion isn’t exactly pleasant, but as you’ll see, there are signs that their friendship has a chance to survive, if you are willing to help them give it a chance.  As a note, I know that some of the dialogue in this can be a little cringy.  Episode 1 definitely had the worst dialogue of all of them, but it does get a lot better as the series goes on.  Hopefully you’ll find something to enjoy.

Stay tuned, to see where things go.  Yes, this is probably the least creative thing I’ve ever done on this site, but I still like sharing clips from games I love.  And since I helped shape the growth of these characters, that makes this personal.  I will have the second part of this up by either tomorrow or the next day.  Let me know what you think down in the comments, and subscribe to my channel to see more of this stuff.

*Update* Universal Music Group has copyright flagged Part Two for the use of the song that Chloe plays in her room.  Joke’s on them!  Nobody watches my shit anyway.  All that wasted effort just so they can squeeze a little more money out of me.

Until next time, a quote,

“The name’s Price.  Chloe Price.  Bang!”  -Chloe Price, Life is Strange

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Gaming Clips: Life is Strange: Episode 1 (Opening)

Here’s the second of the clips that I am streaming on to YouTube from my PS4.  With this one, I thought that I would try and sell you all on a game that I think is really worth playing.  I’ve talked about how much I like it, but talking about it on a written format isn’t as good as seeing it for yourself.  The trailer that I saw for this game wasn’t that great, because it opened with all the publications sucking its dick.  Funny thing – Kotaku originally praised this game out the ass, then them and their ilk were against it because there were no women writers.  That just goes to show ya how fast pro-SJW publications can turn on a good game.

Anyway, here is the very beginning of the first episode of this game.  I think this does a great job sucking one in to the story.  I don’t have any subtitles turned on, because I think those distract from what’s happening on the screen.  So if you have trouble hearing the internal monologue, that’s a bummer, but it is what it is.  Without further ado, here is the clip from my favorite game of this year.

The first four episodes are already out and can be downloaded on PSN, for people who have a PS4.  The game is also on Steam and Xbox Live, for those who are not.  It can also be found on the PS3 as well, if you still have yours.  I have mine, so I don’t shame you.  Why would I get rid of a perfectly good piece of hardware?  Especially when it has so many good games.  Senseless waste of a lot of money I poured into it.  Episode 5, the last one, is coming out on October 20th.  So mark your calender’s for that.  Hopefully this clip gave you some understanding of what is in this game, and that you will experience it for yourself.  If you already haven’t.

I am going to be doing clips from this game showing off the growth of my favorite relationship in it – Max and Chloe.  Let me know what you think about this stuff as I go along.

Until next time, a quote,

“Am I making anyone’s life better?”  -Max Caulfield, Life is Strange

Peace out,

Maverick

Quantum Physics and Life is Strange

Okay, I’m about to go right into the deep end of stuff that I do not know jack-diddle about, so bear with me.  But since none of what I am postulating here has ever been tested anyway, the truth is that I can muse about it all I like.  I have recently discovered a YouTube channel called MinutePhysics.  If the maker of that channel finds this post – hello.  You make excellent content, which helps people like me who love science but are mathematically illiterate learn about things that are far grander than we ever think about.  You have allowed me to finally put into terms that may make sense (I admit that I have a layman’s understanding of all of this, so correct me if this sounds ridiculous) of something that I have been pondering.

For those who don’t know, there is an episodic game called Life is Strange.  Regular readers of this site are groaning.  I’ve talked about this game a lot.  I rather like it.  And by rather I mean that I’ve talked about this game to the point that my audience just wants me to shut up about it.  But bear with me, audience.  This might interest you.  But first, let’s go back to MinutePhysics.

He made a video a couple years ago talking about parallel universes, where he talks about three prevailing theories, none of which (to my knowledge) has been tested, so this is all speculative.  For all we know, the universe really is on a turtle’s back, and it’s just turtles all the way down.  Or maybe we’re in Schrodinger’s box that he kept the poison in.  Which reminds me – you’re a dick, Schrodinger.  At least go with Einstein’s way.  He made it quick.  In all seriousness, here is the video MinutePhysics made about parallel universes. Watch it before reading on.  It will help put this on context.

I want you all to pay attention to the third option that he talked about with possible parallel universes.  The universe that is centered around the idea that all choices are contained within their own reality.  So, there is a universe for every conceivable outcome.  As he said, including one where the prequel Star Wars movies never happened.  Or, one where they did happen, but they were good.  Maybe we can have a universe where the end of Mass Effect 3 doesn’t suck.  Novel concept.  Anyway, in that thought process, each decision carries with it a universe all its own.  From each of those choices, more choices can be made.  Each of those also being their own universe.  The universe we are in now is just the one where we went through our lives as we are.  There could be countless universes where countless options take place that change everything about how we lived our lives.

Which brings me back to Life is Strange.  In that game, the protagonist, Max Caulfield, wakes up one day to find out that she has the ability to rewind time and change the outcomes of her life.  In terms of the game mechanics, it allows you to affect your choices and make different events happen.  But the power also has a connection to the narrative.  Max discovers her abilities after a nightmare dream where she is on a cliff, overlooking the town she is in.  A massive tornado is there, destroying everything.  At the end of Episode 1, Max goes back to that place, and it’s understood that it has some connection to this ability to alter time that she has.  She doesn’t know how, but just knows that it’s coming, and there seems to be nothing she can do about it.  It doesn’t help that there is a mystery that she has gotten roped into where her ability to alter time takes center stage.

The game has Max’s powers developing further and further.  She is finds out that in addition to rewinding time, she can even stop it.  She uses this power to save her friend Kate Marsh.  In Episode 3, Max discovers that she can go even further.  After a fight between her and Chloe, Max is in her room staring at a picture of the two of them when they were much younger and wishing that she could go back to those days.  Her wish was her command, as the power takes her back through time, into the picture.  Seeing that she has gone back, she sees this as an opportunity to to save Chloe’s father’s life, thus changing the future and perhaps making Chloe not so angry and miserable.  But what started with the noblest of intentions ended up having disastrous consequences.  Not a new concept with time travel, but the way Life is Strange presents it is with Max wondering what this power is doing to her, and the people around her.  Regardless of the people you help, there are people you hurt..  The choices that she makes and the way she uses her abilities are shaping all kinds of events around her.  This ties back to the video of MinutePhysics.

Think about this – Max is able to rewind time.  But whenever you do this, you see her standing still where she is, while a version of the past is rewound.  Often, her rewind leaves her one place, but it almost looks like the past is in another.  Like her rewind doesn’t alter the timeline, but creates a totally new one.  In other words, Max is creating alternate timelines every time she rewinds.  But what happens to those original timelines?  Do they just keep going?  In Episode 2, when Max keeps trying to rewind time to save Kate, do they just keep going, with her having jumped off that roof again and again?  In Episode 3, when you blow the lock off the Principal’s door, does that timeline just keep going, with Max and Chloe being arrested for breaking and entering, along with destruction of property?  But the real mind-fuck comes in Episode 4.  The completely alternate timeline that Max creates.  She created an entirely new reality, completely based off of changing one thing.  She finds that that one decision changed everything about her life and the people around her.  Her enemies were her best friends.  Villains in her life were now non-existent.  And most of all – she put Chloe in a wheelchair and effectively destroyed her life, all because she chose to save her father.  At the end of the alternate timeline, Chloe asks you to end her life, because she doesn’t want to spend the last few months she has suffering and destroying the lives of her and her family.  I chose to accept her request.  I turned up the morphine and helped her kill herself.  When I went back to undo what I had done, did that timeline keep going?  Was Max even there?  Did she just vanish from existence, leaving Chloe’s parents to find her dead in that room?  To find their daughter dead and her best friend (who would obviously have been the one to do it) gone?  What would that do to a person?

All of these potential timelines are things that Max creates.  And you will use your power to rewind time, a lot.  It’s part of the narrative and solving the mystery.  All of those timelines continue on.  If each and ever timeline created is another universe, and they are being created rapidly by this one person and this one power, then I have a theory about the tornado.  Max is altering the fabric of reality by doing what she is.  At the end of each episode, things happen that show that reality is being damaged by what she is doing.  Max isn’t stupid.  She knows that it’s all connected to her power.  And each event is worse than the last.  First it’s a snowstorm in September.  Then it’s an eclipse and dead birds.  Then it’s beached whales.  Finally, at the end of Episode 4, you see two moons in the sky.  Reality is being torn apart, and it’s pretty much a guarantee that Max is the cause.

So, the tornado is the end result.  It is all the realities that Max has created smacking into each other and ripping reality apart.  She is literally watching the world end, and it’s all her fault.  Man, what a mind-fuck.  Kind of feel bad for the girl.  Worst part is – now she is trapped in a bunker, royally fucked, and there’s nothing she can do about any of it.  This next episode is gonna be intense!

But that’s just my thoughts.  What are yours?  Let me know in the Comments section.

Until next time, a quote,

“My life feels so surreal at this point, I don’t know how to react anymore.  I can rewind time and space, but is it aging me before my own time and space?  Am i learning things I shouldn’t, messing up too much shit…including my own history?  Obviously, my nosebleeds and dizzy spells are a bad sign that I’m overusing my powers, but it’s become almost part of my nature… or maybe a habit.  Power corrupts?  Not yet.  I hope.”  -Max Caulfield, Life is Strange

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Life is Strange: Episode 4

Life is Strange Episode 4Having been delayed for the purpose of getting everything about this episode right, it is telling that in the first five minutes of this game there was a major glitch that made this episode unplayable.  That was utterly infuriating.  Delaying a game’s release is typically done to get everything right.  To have a glitch that turned the journal and conversation options into gibberish, not even five minutes in, was infuriating.  That is going to hurt my Final Verdict.  All that being said, once an update was released, I was finally able to get into the episode, and MAN does it feel good to play.  Everything got ramped up here, and I felt the feels quite a bit.  But let’s talk about it.

The plot of this episode picks up where the last one left off.  Max had gone back in time and changed history, creating a totally alternate timeline.  Here, she has become a different person and the lives of the people she cares about have changed in drastic ways, with the exception of one.  The center of the game’s plot and her story has turned out just the same.  That is an interesting conundrum.  Following an intense emotional episode, we go back to the original timeline, where the race is on to find Rachel Amber, and bring the person who kidnapped her to justice.

Unlike the last episode, this one is VERY plot-driven.  That’s not a bad thing.  Granted, I would have liked a couple more character moments, but overall the direction this episode went worked.  It was fun to finally dive into the mystery.  There is a big twist at the end of this that I kind of saw coming, but I won’t spoil it for all of you.  And it fits in nicely.  Though the cliffhanger it leaves the episode on is going to be driving me nuts for the rest of the wait until the next episode.

Okay, on to the technicals.  The mouths don’t even come close to matching up with what they say, but whatever.  At this point, it doesn’t phase me.  Let’s set that aside for the other elements that work much better.  Like the lighting.  There were a couple of gorgeous stand-out moments where the episode really shows off what it was capable of with those scenes.  Of course, there were a few moments where the textures were REALLY dated.  Like at the Vortex party, when you see some people in the background at the pool.  Made me think of spectators in early PS3 sports games.  Yeah, that was funny.  Also, minor gripe – but how come the beached whales are not drowning in seagulls?  For real, carrion eaters would be all over that dead meat just lying on the beach.  I know, I know.  Over-analyzing me.

There isn’t much more to talk about, honestly.  This episode was very good.  It gets the plot moving forward, and now it’s ready for the final act.  With that in mind, though, I have something that I have to tell you, Dontnod Entertainment.  You have skated a very excellent series here.  You have made a bunch of games where we are able to make choices, and those choices matter.  It’s with that in mind that I have a warning.  You had better not make the ending to this series some “it could only have ended this way” bullshit.  I want my choices to actually matter.  I want the things I have done to mean something.  Yes, that means multiple endings.  If that’s hard, too bad.  We all have dedicated ourselves to this game because we believe that the actions we take will affect how this story plays out.  You have the power to make that happen.  Don’t waste that power.  Let’s bring the story of Max home, in whatever way the player has shaped their story.  The next move is yours.

All joking aside, if you make this game have an ending where our choices don’t matter, go the Mass Effect 3 route, then I will give you the most scathing review that has ever been!  Keep that in mind.

Final Verdict
7 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick