Tag Archives: Xbox 360

Halo Fest 2020: Halo Wars

Now for a complete change of pace from the original Halo trilogy, we have Halo Wars. Despite the fact that Halo actually started life as an real time strategy game, it still strikes me as incredibly unlikely that Microsoft would have ever greenlit this. I guess they figured a console RTS had more of a chance of success with the Halo brand behind it than without, and they were probably right. Still, I didn’t know many Halo fans who were all that excited about the prospect at the time, and console FPS fans and RTS fans were mostly two different breeds. Regardless, this badass trailer produced by Blur did a lot to get the Halo fans pumped up and RTS fans (well, the ones who would condescend to play an RTS on a console) would be placated by knowing that Ensemble Studios, responsible for the Age of Empires and Age of Mythology series, utter classics of the genre, would be at the helm.

The badass cutscenes were also produced by Blur.
“The badass cutscenes were also produced by Blur.”

Me? Well, as both a Halo fan and an RTS fan (and admittedly, not a hardcore one) and having played my fair share of Age of Empires II, I was probably about as close to their target demographic as you could get. Despite this, I wasn’t all that hyped up for it, and while I did play through the demo (which I briefly talk about here, though I somehow have no recollection of) I never got around to playing the full game. While it was pretty well received by fans and critics alike, it’s reasonable to assume that a similar level of disinterest (along with numerous internal factors) would lead to Ensemble closing its doors, sadly making Halo Wars their very last game.

For this playthrough I played the Xbox One Halo Wars: Definitive Edition on my Series X. The “Definitive Edition” is a remaster of the original game released alongside Halo Wars 2. With higher resolution textures and improvements to lighting and particle effects but not a lot else, it’s essentially just a re-release. While this means it’s not going to blow you away with contrast between the versions like the first two Halo games I covered, it is, at least, very faithful to the original. The game has aged pretty well, so that’s not a problem.

Well, it certainly LOOKS like an RTS...
“Well, it certainly LOOKS like an RTS…”

I’d actually started my playthrough on “Heroic” just as I did with the first three Halo games, but I found that the effort to beat some of these missions on Heroic simply wasn’t worth it – I could beat them, sure, but it took longer due to losing units more easily, and that sapped a lot of the fun out of the experience. Lowering the difficulty one notch to “Normal” was a big improvement for me. I suppose I enjoy overcoming bumps in difficulty in FPSes a lot more than I do in RTSes, where my builds and priorities are the biggest differences in how I play from session to session rather than toying too much with tactics. That, and the kinds of scenarios you encounter in a single player campaign like this so often constrain your options for the sake of variety, not doing a great job of reflecting the full array of options present in a pure skirmish match as a result.

The console control scheme makes excellent use of radial menus.
“The console control scheme makes excellent use of radial menus.”

I think another issue was the controls. Don’t get me wrong, I think Ensemble did a fine job with translating the RTS to the console, and from other console strategy game experiences I’ve had, I think the idea that strategy games don’t quite work on consoles is total bunk – there are plenty of examples of at least passable RTSes on console. Still, I have a lot of hours playing of RTSes on PC under my belt and playing them with a mouse and keyboard is in-grained at this point. For one, I found my ability to appropriately micromanage my units lacking. Halo Wars lets you select all of your units, all of your units on the screen, and all of the units of only a particular type in either case, which is just enough to allow you to do most anything you’d want to do with a little creativity. Still, that pales in comparison to being able to quickly make groupings of specific units of mixed unit types and assign them to hot keys for later use. Interestingly, I made the same complaint over 10 years ago when I played the demo. I definitely did feel slightly hobbled by this in some of my busier missions though, and this led me to coming up with numerous cheesy strategies of deploying tons of the same unit – masses of fully upgraded Warthogs being a particular favorite of mine, being both cheap to replace when they inevitably get blown away, and hilarious to watch bound haphazardly across the map.

Continuing the trend I started with my re-play of Halo: CE, I unlocked every skull and black box collectible on each map, though chasing them down really wasn’t all that enjoyable as it was in the previous games. Some don’t appear on the map until certain challenge conditions are met, making finding them more naturally impossible, and resulting in them being a bit of a distraction from the actual goals of the mission. More importantly, the reward for unlocking them is a let down. Skulls function similarly to previous Halo games, but in the case of the black boxes, each one unlocks a single entry on a giant timeline of the events around the game. This glorious lore dump is no doubt cool for fans of the franchise, but they’re just short text blurbs – no cutscenes, not even voiceovers. A little on the weak side.

Marines clearing out a nasty Flood infestation.
“Marines clearing out a nasty Flood infestation.”

While I’m being negative, I also encountered a few bugs and other oddities during my playthrough. Probably an artifact leftover from the remaster, but in-engine cutscenes seem to run at a reduced, stuttery looking framerate, I had at least one total system crash during a mission, and on another occasion (on the same mission!) I lost the ability to control a special vehicle which made winning the scenario impossible and caused me to have to reload and lose a bunch of progress. I wouldn’t say these issues were numerous enough to ruin my experience, however, but there were enough of them to take note. That said, I didn’t have any real issue with unit pathing, which is a common complaint I’ve seen online.

There’s also the story. As this is a side story taking place out of chronological order and well before the main series, I’ll go ahead and recap its plot right here. While I’m fairly vague in these plot summaries they absolutely do still contain spoilers, so skip the next paragraph if you don’t want the plot to be spoiled!

The Arbiter's back! Only this is a different one, and he has zero personality.
“The Arbiter’s back! Only this is a different one, and he has zero personality.”

The story: As part of the Harvest Campaign, an effort to retake the planet of Harvest, the first human colonized world with the unfortunate distinction of being decimated by the Covenant, marines of the UNSC colony ship “Spirit of Fire” discover a newly excavated Forerunner facility containing an interstellar map. Using the map, Professor Anders, a researcher aboard the Spirit of Fire, identifies another human colony world, Arcadia, as being a point of interest for the Covenant. Arriving too late, the Spirit of Fire finds Harvest’s defenses breached and the colony already under siege by Covenant forces. Linking up with local defenses, including Spartan Red Team, Arcadia City is evacuated. Efforts to further repel the Covenant eventually lead the UNSC to locate concentrated Covenant activity around yet more Forerunner ruins. The UNSC push the Covenant out, though the victory is short-lived as the Arbiter abducts Professor Anders and flees Arcadia. In pursuit, the Spirit of Fire arrives at an uncharted planet being overrun by Flood, which they quickly learn is actually a Forerunner Shield World. Professor Anders manages to escape, revealing that the Arbiter planned to use her to activate a fleet of powerful Forerunner warships to help the Covenant decisively win the war. Captain Cutter approves a risky plan to use the Spirit of Fire’s faster-than-light drives to destroy the entire Shield World, keeping the Forerunner fleet out of the hands of the Covenant. Successful but now without faster-than-light capability, the Spirit of Fire’s crew goes into cryogenic storage while the ship begins the long journey home.

It all feels, eh, a little generic. I say this having already played almost all of the other games in the series, so perhaps I wouldn’t have felt that way at all if I played it at the time. It might have been utterly groundbreaking for all I know. Either way, this isn’t helped by the fact that the characters were all just a little flat. I really couldn’t convince myself to care all that about Sgt. Forge, Captain Cutter, or Professor Anders. Hell, I probably liked the Spirit of Fire’s AI, Serina, more than the lot of them. Everyone just came across as low effort archetypes to me, and I think I would have felt the same back in 2009.

One of my Spartan's jacked a Scarab. Ridin' in style!
“One of my Spartan’s jacked a Scarab. Ridin’ in style!”

While that all sounded more than a little sour, no, I didn’t dislike the game. In fact, I felt like Ensemble did a great job representing the Halo universe. The presentation is faithful to the original games and quite skillfully executed, with the new units added doing a lot to make both the Covenant and the UNSC feel more like actual military forces than what was represented in the previous Halo games. The soundtrack is great. The cutscenes, awesome! It also definitely succeeds as a RTS, with some interesting units, tech trees, a decent amount of variety in the scenarios you’re thrown into in the campaign, and an interesting take on the classic formula, with simplified resource gathering and some other concessions seemingly made around the platform. I think one of the bigger compliments I could give the game is that I had been feeling the urge to play some classic RTS games lately and Halo Wars managed to thoroughly scratch that itch. Once completing the campaign, I dove into several skirmish matches against AI which were a ton of fun and sealed my overall positive impression of the game.

I’d say if you’re a Halo fan, you should definitely give it a chance. If you don’t have any RTS (or other strategy game) experience you absolutely might bounce right off of the game. Then again, it might also end up being one of your favorite Halo games, and your gateway into a whole new genre. Now, back to Bungie

Big Robots and Bigger Grinds

As mentioned when I wrote about Iron Brigade originally, I bought the game’s DLC expansion, Rise of the Martian Bear, shortly after completing the main campaign. I didn’t immediately dive into it and actually ended up taking an even longer break than originally planned. In fact, it had been so long that I considered not even playing through it since I’d surely lost whatever skills I’d managed to build up over the course of the original campaign, and I’d read that the expansion was notably harder than the original campaign to boot. Alas, despite some reservations, I finally talked myself into it.

Back in the trenches again!
“Back in the trenches again!”

When I finally got around to playing it I discovered that the game had been pulled from Game Pass, popping up a licensing error when I went to launch it. Not entirely unexpected. What was unexpected was my inability to actually purchase the damn thing! When I went to the game’s store page I received a weird message that the game was only purchasable on Xbox 360 or on xbox.com. Ok? At first I thought maybe this was an odd side effect of having already had the game installed, so I went ahead and uninstalled it and tried again. No dice. I begrudgingly went to my PC and pulled up the Microsoft Store webpage. Oddly, I got the same error there. Finally I had to resort to booting up my old Xbox 360 and buying the game there, at which point it worked normally on my Xbox One once again. This whole thing was absolutely bizarre and I have no idea what the issue actually was – I could buy some other Xbox 360 games on my Xbox One, just not Iron Brigade. Perhaps this is some sort of licensing issue but that’d be even weirder since Double Fine is owned my Microsoft these days.

Anyway, onto the game. First, if you’ve read my original blurb on Iron Brigade, Rise of the Martian Bear doesn’t really change anything I had to say about the game back then. Instead, it adds a 5 mission sort-of epilogue to the original campaign and expands the level cap, adding a fairly large amount of new, higher level loot to compensate. The new maps are, of course, playable cooperatively as well as in Survival mode. And that’s about it! That was plenty for me though, and just like with the original campaign I replayed every level until I managed to get a gold rating on it.

Fuck. This. Map.
“Fuck. This. Map.”

Getting gold on these maps was no easy feat given how rusty I was at that game. In fact, I was stuck on the DLC’s third level, Settlement, for quite a long time, trying a mind boggling number of variations in strategy and loadout before I finally nailed it. Things got so desperate that I even briefly dipped into Survival mode to try to score of the game’s more exotic, mode exclusive rewards to buff my damage output. Eventually I succeeded and brought my time with Iron Brigade to an end. For the record, a combination of carefully placed sniper turrets, a few machine guns turrets to help mop up Knobs, and aggressively running my dual Muerte Fiesta Numero 6’d engineering trench around the map to do as much of the actual Tube elimination legwork as possible myself was the key.

Rise of the Martian Bear doesn’t really do anything significantly interesting and the ridiculous story is perhaps even more throwaway than the original campaign, but it’s basically just a content pack, so if you really liked the base game (or absolutely loved it in my case) the expansion pack isn’t a hard sell. If you didn’t, well then there’s absolutely nothing redeeming for you here.

Besides that, the other game taking up a lot of my time lately is, of all things, World of Warcraft Classic.

Checking out the original Dwarf model. D'aww!
“Checking out the original Dwarf model. D’aww!”

During a long and tedious build up that seemingly started from the moment the game was first patched and continued with consistent nostalgic whinging about “the good old days” of so-called vanilla WoW (and increasingly, the Burning Crusade expansion and even later eras) on every relevant forum out there and culminating with Blizzard finally caving and announcing WoW Classic, I never really owned that particular pair of rose colored glasses. Sure, I had some great memories of the early days of WoW and yes, some of the changes subsequent patches and expansions made were debatably negative, but there were also innumerable improvements, some quite major, along the way too. As I saw it, I was fine with the glory days of World of Warcraft remaining confined to exaggerated “back in my day” anecdotes and as an effortless yardstick to compare other, newer MMORPGs against.

In the summer of 2018 I changed jobs, going from working in IT departments consisting of just a couple of dozen people at best to working alongside literally thousands of fellow geeks. As the launch of Classic approached we ended up with more than a dozen people on my team alone signed on to play and I figured jumping on the bandwagon could be a lot of fun. When Classic finally launched and I joined my co-workers on Discord, I was surprised to discover that a lot of the members of my original World of Warcraft guild from back in vanilla along with numerous other friends I’d known over the years also logged in fighting the same launch day queues as we were. Remarkably, it seems like almost every last one of my online gaming buddies was drawn back into the fold. How long most of them stuck it out, I can’t say, but despite most of the gaming media I follow dismissing Classic, it seemed like it was actually a fairly big deal in my circles.

I accidentally screenshotted hitting level 2. Also, sorry boars...
“I accidentally screenshotted hitting level 2. Also, sorry boars…”

After a lot of internal debate I decided to fully embrace my nostalgia, creating a character absolutely identical to the character I “mained” in vanilla – the same race and overall appearance, the same class, and I even managed to score the same name despite it coming from the in-game name generator. Gulmorok the orcish rogue was reborn (the original having since been converted into a dwarf and moved between servers multiple times in WoW proper, as discussed before.)

Personally, jumping back into what seems to be a pretty damn solid recreation of original World of Warcraft has been an absolute trip. It’s amazing how well I remember the zones, the enemies and the particulars of many of the quests, and even the idiosyncrasies of various mechanics. The original 2004 era graphics and sounds still hold up incredibly well too, which surprised me after long since getting used to the newer character models. What doesn’t hold up quite as well is the actual gameplay. In 2004 the design, a fairly shameless mass market friendly iteration on the EverQuest style of theme park MMORPG, felt pretty damn great if you were in to those types of games back then. Having long since moved on to successors like The Old Republic, Elder Scrolls Online, hell, even newer World of Warcraft expansions, the design of vanilla WoW certainly feels as dated as it sounds to describe it like that. It’s not so much “hard” as it feels like it’s been designed to just utterly disrespect the player’s time – tedious, grinding quests, huge amounts of travel between different areas, a poorly structured quest content flow, and of course the ever present joy of constantly bumping up against the poverty line, are all things probably best left in the past.

Much, much later, grinding in the Alterac Mountains.
“Much, much later, grinding in the Alterac Mountains.”

Case in point, in my mid 30s, I’m having to constantly bounce between zones to do quests that are actually level appropriate (a luxury largely enabled by third party addons and data dump websites, by the way) and I know that, just like in 2004, I’m quickly approaching the level range where a lack of ANY appropriate quests becomes the problem, requiring grinding dungeons or mobs to stay properly leveled and geared. Adding to that, I’m playing on a PVP server for the first time in years and Blizzard just turned on the honor system, meaning that people’s willingness to go out of their way to gank you while you’re busy trying to complete a quest or otherwise mind your own business is at a peak. Of course as a rogue I’m uniquely equipped to deal with these assholes, or at least take opportunistic revenge on them, but it’s still annoying. Fun times!

While I have been tempted more than a few times to jump off the treadmill and devote my limited free time to playing through more single player games, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t having fun. The Azeroth that Blizzard built with World of Warcraft remains still somehow compelling to me, and looking forward to when PVP battlegrounds are finally launched and my co-workers and I can put together some “premade” groups is keeping a lot of us going for now.

In the meantime, Blizzard just announced yet another World of Warcraft expansion and Diablo-fucking-4, both of which have my attention. Despite being increasingly clear that they’re no longer the same company I fell in love with, Blizzard is still somehow managing to make a case for its relevance in my gaming life.

Settlement map screenshot taken from from misc. places on the Interwebz. The in game shot is actually mine though. An original Xbox 360 screenshot on here? Is this the end of an era?! Probably not!

Yes, It Is.

Back in early 2017 I made mention that my girlfriend and I had played through the first 4 episodes of Life is Strange and loved it but that our playthrough was “tragically” cut short before we could tackle episode 5. I talked about this a bit more here, but that original allusion was to a pretty shitty “real life” invasion into my gaming life. In the summer of 2016 my house was broken into and burglarized with my video game collection being one of the primary targets. Fortunately, I was in the process of moving at the time so most of my stuff had already been packed away and didn’t get touched, but one of the things that did disappear was my Xbox 360 which was still connected to my TV at the time. I wasn’t using cloud saves as my default save game storage back then so, worse than losing the console itself, I lost my entire history of Xbox 360 saves up to that point. Disheartened by the whole thing and not wanting to replay through almost the entire game in order to finish it, we regretfully put Life is Strange on the backburner.

Our protagonist, Max Caulfield.
“Our protagonist, Max Caulfield.”

While we’d been eyeing all of the subsequent Life is Strange follow-up games like Life is Strange: Before the Storm and The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit with some curiosity, with the release of Life is Strange 2 this year we were finally hyped up enough to revisit the original game. This time around we took advantage of it being on Xbox Game Pass yet again and played the Xbox One version. Jumping in, we found that we both more or less remembered all of the first episode though our memories of specific details slowly began to fade as we progressed, culminating in the entirely unknown episode 5 and a satisfactory ending to the game at long last.

Broadly speaking, the game is a stripped down modernization of the classic graphical adventure game in a similar vein to Telltale’s post The Walking Dead games or Quantic Dream’s adventure games. That is to say, extremely narrative heavy with your choices being reflected in-game, giving an illusion of a complicated branching story. A lot of those choices take place via conversations, and there are also minimal, easy puzzles based on exploration along the way to round out the formula. In Life is Strange’s case, a lot of the puzzle solving involves the main character’s ability to rewind time, also central to the plot itself. There are some more traditional adventure game puzzles early on but, as with The Walking Dead: Season One, that approach is largely abandoned after the first episode.

Light, exploration-based adventure game stuff.
“Light, exploration-based adventure game stuff.”

Despite the similarities, Life is Strange does an admirable job of not coming off as some sort of a Telltale adventure game clone. Its systems don’t feel quite as obvious, at times feeling more like a “walking simulator” than an adventure game, and the total lack of QTEs or any sort of action gameplay goes a long way to helping. The game also supplements the already effective presentation with a phone text messaging system and an in-character log/journal system for even more exposition and depth.

The game starts off with your character, a teenage girl named Max, going about her day in a private school she’s recently transferred to after moving back to the town where she grew up. The mundanity of the high school drama quickly turns much more serious with a startling act of violence, the discovery of the aforementioned time manipulation powers, and an unexpected reconnection with Max’s childhood best friend, Chloe. Those (and other) inter-connected threads end up in a compelling balance of interpersonal drama and mystery with just a touch of the supernatural.

The drama takes no time at all to kick in.
“The drama takes no time at all to kick in.”

The first episode is a little jarring to a lot of people as that’s where some of the game’s more infamous peculiarities are at their worst. Much has been made about the odd, stilted attempts to replicate teenage conversation which had so many people facepalming out of the game, the nonsensical description of Blackwell Academy as some sort of a prestigious art school that sounds like a private college (and indeed, most of the students are college aged) yet is referred to multiple times as a high school, and the sometimes annoying and unlikable personalities and behaviors of the main characters. While I don’t think any of those issues are anything to bail out of the game early over, a couple of them do warrant some further focus here, I suppose.

First, about the odd language that the characters, particularly Max and Chloe, use. Just about everyone seems to agree that it comes across as a little ridiculous and, at best, inauthentic. Some justify it as simply being the way teenagers actually talk, less us out of touch adults forget, while another common explanation is that Life is Strange’s developer, Dontnod, is French and likely even more out of touch about the way American high schoolers talk (which may also explain their lack of understanding about the American school system!) Regardless, this gradually improves as the season continues past the first episode, with the characters sometimes even seemingly jokingly referencing those earlier missteps. It’s no big deal even if it is sometimes incredibly silly.

The infamous 'Go fuck your selfie!' line. Oh, and fuck Victoria Chase!
“The infamous ‘Go fuck your selfie!’ line. Oh, and fuck Victoria Chase!”

Directly related are the characters themselves. Personally, I find their personalities and motivations to be easy to believe. Chloe’s overly rebellious behavior and shitty, selfish attitude is fairly thoroughly justified. This is someone whose struggles with her emotions and her place in the world, already an issue for a lot of teenagers, are amped up to 11 by the trauma of losing her dad and then her best friend when she needed a support network the most. Max, on the other hand, comes across as someone spends far too much time in her own head and, while not incredibly awkward, sometimes comes across as a little shallow when she does decide to come out of her shell and interact with people. When she’s thrown into all of these crazy new situations she’s, of course, thoroughly unprepared to handle them. I’ve known plenty of people with similar personalities as both characters myself, in fact Max reminds me a bit of teenage me – the conclusions about how the world around me works, what is and isn’t cool, etc., forming my own private reality which I did a fairly terrible job of expressing. Honestly, there’s a certain amount of accepting that teenagers can be cringey and a little overly self-obsessed that needs to happen to truly “get” any of these characters. Sure, they can be annoying, but I feel like the people who absolutely hate this game because of the characters probably lack some perspective and maybe even a little empathy. Sorry!

More important than the personalities of the characters are the emotions they manage to convey, and this is where Life is Strange seems to make its improbable grand slam home run. The writing combined with excellent voice acting by the two leads really made the characters feel relatable and realistic, and their friendship (at least when coupled with the choices that I made in my playthrough) felt touchingly genuine. Combined with the intrigue of the plot, the game is astonishingly affecting and absorbing. By the end of the second episode I was totally hooked. From the reviews and impressions I’ve scanned, I believe I’m far from alone here in appreciating this particular aspect of the game as being uncommonly fantastic.

Max and Chloe's relationship steals the show.
“Max and Chloe’s relationship steals the show.”

This is a complete package though. The interface is fairly intuitive and never really gets in your way. The graphics are mostly very good with the only real shortcoming being the character models, which are perhaps slightly more realistic than the game can really pull off, with faces and especially lip-syncing sometimes looking a little janky. I definitely feel like they should have leaned into the stylized approach just a bit more even if they didn’t want to go full Telltale. The soundtrack, save for a couple moments where the songs don’t quite fit the scene, is excellent. Not only does it work well with the perceived tone of the game, but it goes along way to helping set it. I had “Obstacles” by Syd Matters stuck in my head for days after finishing the game. It all feels reasonably polished too.

Your text messages and your journal provide just a little extra exposition.
“Your text messages and your journal provide just a little extra exposition.”

So, after a few years we finally made our way back to (and through) the final episode. I wanted to talk a little bit about the end, and yes, I’ll spare anything but the vaguest of spoilers. Episode 5 culminates in some bizarre and disturbing time shenanigans, the resolution of at least one of our major plot points, and a big, dramatic decision. Not every potential loose end is wrapped up. You never receive any answers about the nature of Max’s powers, for instance. As that’s not really focus of the plot I can’t say it bugged me too much. It also ends up that quite a few of the details introduced in earlier episodes that seemed like they might be important never go anywhere. Regardless of whether these were plot threads that got abandoned as the series developed or they were purposely misleading “red herrings”, they added a lot of intrigue and mystery to the game.

I’ve also seen many more complaints about this last decision being a binary choice which does little to account for all of your previous choices up to that point. While sure, it does feel a little forced and limited, I don’t think it does anything to invalidate all of the choices you’ve made up until then. As I’ve said in the past in reference to Telltale’s games, the choices you’re making aren’t so much about affecting the overall plot as much as they are about affecting the details of the story, particularly when it comes to the actions and reactions of both playable and non-playable characters in the world. It’s less about changing the plot and more about customizing the particulars of it, with some entertainment value coming from standing back and observing the results.

The end times are here!
“The end times are here!”

Perhaps the oddest thing I’ve heard about the end (sometimes, but not always framed as a complaint) was that some players didn’t find Max’s relationship with Chloe to be compelling enough to make that final decision all that difficult. Since, as I mentioned, I found Max and Chloe’s friendship (we definitely read it as a close friendship, NOT romantic, by the way – interesting that such a potentially massive detail is so affected by your choices) to be one of the best parts of the game, this is quite hard for me to relate to. While I wouldn’t say the decision at the end was easy, both my girlfriend and I sided soundly in the same direction and were happy with the ending we got from it. Between that and the occasional complaint about plot holes I see, I’m fairly confounded by some people’s reads of this game. Maybe it’s a lack of empathy or any sort of ability to emotionally connect to a game on the part of some players, like I suggested earlier, or perhaps the differences caused your decisions along the way were greater than I realized.

Regardless, I loved Life is Strange and easily recommend it to those who like newer narrative adventure games and classic adventure games alike. Providing you’re able to fight your way through the all of cringey teenage dialog and drama, I think you’ll end up liking it. As for us, we already have the game’s follow-up prequel, Life is Strange: Before the Storm, installed and ready to start in the coming weeks.

As usual, these screenshots were liberally stolen from numerous places on the Internet. Most of them are from the PC version rather than the Xbox One version, but whatever. Also, the color palette isn’t quite this boring, and Max doesn’t only have one outfit – most of these shots were from the first episode to avoid spoilers!