Visit again Bay of Arcadia after all these years it will be for many like returning home after a long journey. Not because the adventure – or rather, the adventures – have aged badly, but because they represent in fact a small piece of videogame history able to give life to a genre that, over the years, has become very widespread.
The first Life is strangedeveloped by Dontnod Entertainment and published by Square Enix, it came out in fact over five episodes published in 2015, proposing a way to enjoy the video game extremely similar to that of the TV series, a model that at the time was believed unable to take root in the eyes of the great audience.
Fortunately, also thanks to the desire to experiment and a narrative level able to strike the right chords (and decidedly delicate themes, especially for the time) allowed LiS to break through the hearts of gamers, becoming a successful series destined to last over the years with other chapters that followed the same line taken by the first and now historic episode (after all , it is known that the game managed to save Dontnod from bankruptcy, after the poor sales obtained a few months earlier by Remember Me).
Now, after quite a long wait, the first two chapters of Life is Strange also arrive on Nintendo Switch consoles in a renewed guise, with remastered graphics and animations but with the same characters (and their stories) that have thrilled an entire generation of gamers. Life is a strange Arcadia Bay collection it includes Life is Strange Remastered and Life is Strange Before the Storm Remastered, two games that certainly need no introduction (and which you can also find on Amazon).
How they’re doing the two games, on Changeafter all these years?
The story of Max and Chloe on Nintendo Switch
The story of the first Life is Strange, as many of you will know by heart, revolves around the young woman Maxine Caulfielda girl who discovers she possesses the ability to rewind time, which allows her to experience – and face – a different turn of events, with all that goes with it.
After predicting the arrival of an unprecedented storm, Max will be called upon to save his city, but not before saving his life. Chloe Pricean old childhood friend of hers. Between the two, reunited by destiny, such a deep relationship is established that it can even change the fate of the town of Arcadia Bay itself.
At the level of game played, Life is Strange on Nintendo Switch is exactly as we remembered it: the player’s actions will influence the unfolding of the story, with fetch quests and multiple choice dialogues to act as a side dish. Obviously, also considering the possibility of playing the title in portability, we are faced with a product that still has clear ideas about what it wants to offer to the player and in what way.
The absolutely sober control system and the slowness of a gameplay based primarily on the dialogues and the exploration of the various environments, it is still functional even eight years after the original release (the choice of key mapping on the Nintendo laptop, in fact, convinced us).
Played on Switch in docked modethe technical sector of the first Life is Strange offers a graphic rendering equal to the previous ones, although some small problems of this porting can be discovered also and above all by playing it in handheld mode: the uploads appeared to us to be excessively long, in addition to having noticed from time to time some drops in frame rate in decidedly unsuspected situations, although the game is not excessively complex from a polygonal point of view (also considering that we are talking about a title of well two generations ago).
It is also true that, on the whole, it is certainly not a graphic disaster, but a game that has never made a miracle cry and nor does it intend to do so now, on a relatively “weak” console like Switch. The advice, however, is to enjoy it for a walk – whether by train or bus – since the ability to play it anywhere makes the experience certainly more interesting it’s particular.
Chloe and Rachel, for the prequel adventure on Switch
In 2017, Square Enix announced – and released – Life is Strange Before the Storm, a three-episode prequel set chronologically three years before the events of the first chapter.
The story focuses on the events of the sixteen year old Chloe Price and about his relationship with his schoolmate Rachel Amberfor a prequel designed to probe the past of the protagonists and able to tell a story that, by direction, themes and above all dialogues, is perfectly aligned with what we experienced with the first Life is Strange.
The work of Deck Nine – which at the time took the place of Dontnod in development – is in fact the same, a mix of individual choices and an exciting plot that will continue for all three episodes of which the main adventure of Before the Storm is composed.
Of course, maybe this prequel lacks the “magic” of the original chapter, as well as the possibility of going back in time as a gift to Maxine: the developers, however, have included a very special mechanic, which consists in using very convincing words so that the person we are interacting with accepts the conditions imposed by us.
As well as the puzzles are generally simple and basic, suitable for those approaching this type of narrative adventure for the first time. Also in this case, therefore, its decision-making nature with multiple choices is able to outline the future of events (and the fate of its protagonists).
It is also true that, on balance, Chloe is an extremely more complex and multifaceted character than Max, so much so that the events of Life is Strange Before the Storm are certainly not a smart or lazy way to lean on the success of the first chapter to propose something cool. Again, playing the Life is Strange prequel in portability convinced us, albeit not fully, considering that Before the Storm – exactly like the original episode – runs at 30 fpswith some compromise on the fluidity side that we are willing to postpone (and nothing that cannot be corrected in the coming weeks with a customary patch).
Life is Strange Arcadia Bay Collection is therefore a good portwhich brings with it some problems of previous editions: the story of Max, Chloe and Rachel has now entered the collective imagination, on a par with other protagonists of successful videogame sagas.
Both Life is Strange Remastered and Life is Strange Before the Storm Remastered on Switch are exactly the two games we remembered, net of the defects that they carry with them also and above all because of the time that has elapsed since their original release, which took place many years ago.
The Arcadia Bay Collection therefore offers the opportunity to relive two important experiences for the personal baggage of each gamer, even those who just want to get close to them for cognitive purposes. Of course, if they had decided to also include Life is Strange 2 and Life is Strange True Colors in the package, even if they are not set in Arcadia Bay, we might have had the definitive compilation in our hands.
By doing so, owners of Nintendo Switch consoles can in any case enjoy the first two and now historic chapters of a franchise that has left a really strong mark on the video game marketwhether you like it or not.