Human Time Machine

You can’t always make the best decisions.

Life is Strange is an exceptional narrative-driven experience which features an unparalleled use of choice and consequence. You experience the story as Max Caulfield, a photography student who learns she has the ability to rewind time, and who will slowly uncover the truth about Arcadia Bay. The first few episodes do well to lay a strong foundation of how to utilise various mechanics and help you to build meaningful relationships with other characters. The last two episodes are as exhilarating as they are heartbreaking as the story comes to its conclusion.

I’m most impressed with the character development.

Max is an oddly easy to relate to protagonist, who, with her newfound powers, can answer some questions that are perhaps best left unanswered. Experiencing the consequences of her actions- and feeling the repercussions of certain decisions- is exactly what I wanted from Life is Strange. Even if I knew that some of her more drastic decisions weren’t going to end well.

I’m also quite impressed with how the developers introduced their core mechanics and conveyed them to you in such a way that they were incredibly intuitive. Many of the puzzles in the story are quite easily solved when you think about what you can do, and how you can quite literally be in two places at once. I rather liked the idea of Max’s diary, too. It really is very simple but it helps to introduce the characters, to explain the events prior to the story, and to understand your actions from her perspective. I feel as though a lot of love went into developing this universe and the characters therein. The optional photographs scattered around each episode were pretty neat as well. It’s a fitting series of achievements that suits the style of gameplay.

It’s not like someone could completely vanish without any trace, right?

I greatly enjoyed the story, too. It was definitely surprising but it made sense. I was quite happy with seeing how my decisions had affected the way the story would unfold, and I felt as though the endings were understandable resolutions to those events. I’m still conflicted as to which I feel is the correct (for lack of a better word) ending. But that only illustrates how well the events were presented. It’s arguable that there isn’t a correct ending as it really does depend on what you feel about the choices you’re presented with.

There’s also some impressive foreshadowing to those endings in hindsight.

I’ll definitely be back to Life is Strange soon as I’m keen to explore different outcomes to my decisions. Or keen to make completely different decisions. I missed a few photographs, too. I’m very likely to purchase Life is Strange: Before the Storm as well, and experience the events prior to this story from a completely different perspective. A blue-haired perspective.

I can string together any number of positive adjectives to indicate how I feel about Life is Strange but it really was an interesting experience that I deeply enjoyed. I’ve always liked stories that feature alternate history or time travel, and this story features both, but it also makes a lot of sense, and doesn’t rely on the convolution of time to hide mistakes. I also enjoyed the art direction and felt that it was an appropriate way to present this story. It’s definitely not for everyone, but I think it’s worth a try if you’re wondering whether you’d like it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and rewind time so that I can take more photos of squirrels. It’s not an abuse of my power. Not in the slightest.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

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Dragonball XenoVerse

Not even the mighty Dr. Gero could create something as amazing as this!

Dragonball XenoVerse puts you in the place of a Time Patroller on a mission to correct the timeline from the Dragonball series. While this may sound confusing to begin with it’s actually a pretty cool concept that involves alternate timelines, fighting the classic battles, facing the classic enemies, and doing all sorts of neat things with your character.

It’s not a fighting game, however. Not purely. It also features RPG elements such as distributing attribute points, finding/buying new equipment, having your own custom character, and choosing your skill set from a wide range of skills in the Dragonball universe. It features a really enjoyable combat system which (in my opinion) never gets old or feels stale. It’s quite amazing how I enjoy the combat now just as much- if not more- than when I first started playing. This title also features incredible graphical presentation which fits the universe perfectly.

Character creation consists of choosing the race of your character and deciding on their features. Until you clear the final Saga in the Time Nest (not including the secret Saga) you won’t be able to make any other characters, but, once you’ve finished the story, you can have up to eight. The different races are fun and all the staple choices are there- Namekians, Saiyans, Humans, Frieza Clansman, and so on. Each one has specific bonuses or better statistics in a particular area. Saiyans, as you would expect, have access to the Super Saiyan transformation (up to level two). Everyone else gets the Kaioken (up to x20).

The Super Saiyan transformation is by far the most useful, or the most overpowered, depending on how you see it, as it allows you to use Ki skills without any regard to cost. It does drain your Ki slowly as you use it- but it doesn’t stop you from firing a dozen Ultimate attacks in the process. You can either unlock or buy any of the transformation skills in Toki Toki City.

Toki Toki City is your base of operations and where you’ll be going between quests. You’ll find all manner of shops there to supply you with equipment, accessories, items, skills, and other goodies. You’ll also find a number of masters to train under who will teach you new techniques, unlock master specific bonuses, and provide master specific items. The Time Nest is also located here along with the Time Vault- both of which are useful in your timeline correcting activities. You can also level up while in town, change your skill set, change your equipment, and generally develop your character. Over time new things are unlocked in town, too. So always be sure to check back and see if anyone is selling anything new.

The core activities you’ll undertake are either completing the various Sagas in the Time Nest or participating in the many varied Parallel Quests. Both are fairly similar in their approach but they have different objectives, different conditions, and different rewards. Most Saga completions in the Time Nest will just award Zeni and experience. Parallel Quests reward a range of goodies including skills, items, transformations, and more along with the usual Zeni and experience.

There is a lot of content available in the base game along with DLC which (at the moment) expands into Dragonball GT. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable experience if you consider yourself a fan of the Dragonball universe that is only slightly marred by the randomisation, which makes unlocking everything quite a task, but doesn’t detract from the experience (in my opinion).

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie