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Posted by clagnaught (1900 posts) -

[Just a FYI, I don't spell out what actually happens in these games, but I specifically talk about the story changes and the impact some decisions have on the following games: Life is Strange, Mass Effect 3, Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls, and Until Dawn. I do not say how these games end, what are the main choices you make, or even what these games are really about. So not really a spoiler warning, since there are no spoilers here, but if you're super sensitive about these games, there's a heads up for you.]

Max riding along in Chloe's car after the two are reunited.
Max riding along in Chloe's car after the two are reunited.

The past two weeks I have been playing through each episode of DONTNOD Entertainment's episodic narrative focused game Life Is Strange, a game that could very well be my Game of the Year. It is at times touching, emotional, quirky, heartbreaking, and unnerving. The core of the game is centered around Max Caulfield's manipulation of time to solve puzzles and make, undo, and remake decisions that will have a ripple effect throughout Arcadia Bay. The interesting thing about this mechanic from a story perspective is you generally know the consequences of your actions before it becomes final. As an example, with the very first decision like this you make, you are given the option of telling the school principal something or not. Both outcomes are not exactly ideal. It's not like Option A is the smart, moral decision, while Option B is the bad decision for people who want to watch the world burn. You can see the reactions to the characters and make a judgement call based on what you feel is best for Max as a character.

Throughout the game, these little decisions and the major choices Max has to make are reflected throughout the game: from subtle changes in the scenery, to offhand references characters make while talking about something more important, to what feels like the pinnacle of all video game choices--choose if somebody lives or dies. Now I am not going to talk about what are these choices--you should play this great, weird, beautiful game for yourself if you haven't--but I want to talk about these types of games in general, the impact your player choices has over the narrative, and why a game like Life is Strange succeeds while other games are less successful.

(For the record, this is just stuff I've been thinking about lately. If you don't agree with my opinions on any of these games or my thoughts on game narrative and design, that's a-Ok!)

So without saying what those decisions are or talking about what the hell happens in the game...what's with the choices you have in Life is Strange and how much does it affect the story? Does it impact how the game plays out? Well, I will say the game doesn't have 29 different endings. There isn't some algorithm running in the background calculating how Decision A + (Decision C + J) - Decision D (if the player picks Option B in Chapter 3) + Is Supporting Character #2 Still Alive = Ending #5. The way Life is Strange actually ends is pretty cut and dry, even for a game that starts each chapter with a reminder saying "This is a narrative driven game and your actions will affect the past, present, and future".This isn't to say the decisions don't mean anything. All of your decisions accumulate from episode to episode and impact the game as a whole. All it really means is there are only a handful of ways Max and Chloe Price's story could end.

Life is Strange isn't the only 2015 game that alludes to the Butterfly Effect a lot.
Life is Strange isn't the only 2015 game that alludes to the Butterfly Effect a lot.

In my mind, Life is Strange is one of the most (if not the most) successful narrative driven games of this type I have played. I say this within the context of my own personal enjoyment (what I got out of it, which may be different than what you will take away from it), the sense of player agency, and as a piece of interactive fiction. Over the past few years, we have seen plenty of examples of this type of game done well and poorly. If I would have to give a random example of both the good and the not-so-good, the good representation of this would be Telltale Games's The Walking Dead, while a poor representation of this would be BioWare's Mass Effect 3. Of course, you are more than welcome to disagree with how successful you think games like Life is Strange are or defend a game I am less favorable of. I'm not here to defend or tear down any one game. Even though I am going to compare and contrast some of these games, the main reason why I'm doing this is because I have played number of these types of games before, and I have various opinions on all of them, yet they aren't that radically different from each other.

Life is Strange, The Walking Dead, Mass Effect 3, Beyond: Two Souls, Until Dawn, these are all games that have character choices that impact the story. There are a few twists here and there to the formula: in Mass Effect you can Left Trigger or Right Trigger something in a cut scene; in Until Dawn sometimes it's better to not interact with something and continue the scene as is; in Life is Strange you can time travel and undo a decision and try something else. But you are still talking to people and choosing between more or less two critical decisions. Are you going to try and help So-and-So? Are you going to kill So-and-So? Are you just going to be an asshole? And like all of these games, you only have so much input into how the games actually end and what happens in the story.

Granted there are exceptions and games that do this better than others. There are visual novels that have completely different "paths" depending on which character you befriend or romanced. While it isn't beloved by everyone, Quantic Dream's Heavy Rain doesn't exactly have an ending to the overall story, but rather a number of different character specific endings that mix and match for each of the four main characters. But these feel like the exception. More or less the rule is we have games that offer and often publicize player choice, but only a set number of ways these decisions and actions impact the game's overall story and ending. Recently I even had some complaints about Until Dawn. While I wholeheartedly recommend that game, I was disappointed in how Until Dawn follows a critical path and some things are just bound to happen, no matter what you do. (If you look hard enough you can find me in a comments section of a certain Giant Bomb East Playdate making this case)

It ain't perfect, but I still love Heavy Rain. Especially from an interactive standpoint.
It ain't perfect, but I still love Heavy Rain. Especially from an interactive standpoint.

With that in mind, the question I've been asking is this: With games that are focused on player choice and consequences, what's the difference between a game where the lack of choices or number of consequences doesn't matter and the game is overall a success, while a similar game with similar types of endings and consequences is considered unsuccessful? Why do some games get a pass, while others do not? Generally speaking I think you can say it all depends on the quality of the game. Some games are simply better than others, or one grabs you more than another. If you dislike Until Dawn as a game, you aren't exactly going to praise its narrative and interactive qualities, right? Same thing if you can't stand Max and Chloe as characters in Life is Strange. However, since I almost always have a strong opinion on games like this--whether it is successful or not--I started to think that there might be more to it than that--at least for me if nothing else. My theory is a large part of this has to deal with how a game presents itself and how the player reacts to it.

These types of narrative driven games are unique for a lot of reasons. But one that sticks out to me is the fact most of them start off by saying "This story is interactive and driven by player choice. Every action you make will be reflected in the story." That's more or less the game pitching itself to you. How many first person shooters have you played where it opened up saying "This is a game where you run around with a machine gun. You're going to kill a lot of people, and it's going to be an entertaining experience"? Understandable, games like Until Dawn and Life is Strange are new-ish and it's just a heads up for the player. To me, I think that this type of logic doesn't need to be articulated and it can actually hurt a game.

Since games are inherently an interactive medium, if you sell the story based on that interaction, people are going to anticipate it. Before Heavy Rain came out, there was talk that you could have the four main characters killed off and the game would end. (Well, that doesn't happen. All of those characters could die, but the game isn't designed to work like that.) Before Mass Effect 3 came out, there was talk about how there would be wildly different endings and it wouldn't end with you picking an ending from a couple of different options. (The game ends with you picking between a couple of different options) The difference between the promotion and execution isn't the developers being deceitful to try and set up a twist to surprise the players. They just described their game how it isn't. That said, I think it only really matters if it affected your enjoyment of the game. This by itself is not necessarily the end of the world.

To give an example, I played through Heavy Rain a few too many times, experimenting with completely random things to see how the game ticked. There are times where the game can't let you fail, because that specific failure will break the critical path. (Sort of like how future events X, Y, and Z depend on this happening. Therefore that thing you assume you can do in the game is actually impossible) The game also doesn't have a scenario where all four of the main characters are killed and the game comes to an early end. However, almost every scene has multiple ways it could end. The climax of Heavy Rain can be radically different based on the actions you have taken earlier in the game. There isn't one single way to find out who the Origami Killer is.

A good example of me trying to figure out how Heavy Rain ticked is one throwaway scene where you cook eggs. You can cook them perfectly. You can undercook them. You can overcook them. Or you can stand around for a minute, have the other person walk back in the room and say, "Hey, I thought you were going to cook some eggs?!" Heavy Rain is by no means a perfect game and there are limitations to what the game promises. At the end of the day, in order to see most of those limitations you would need to try and break the game. Even if you did, I think there is plenty of variety between alternate dialogue options, scenes, and character interactions you would not see otherwise to make the game feel like your own.

Man, I still wish I liked Beyond: Two Souls more than I did.
Man, I still wish I liked Beyond: Two Souls more than I did.

In contrast, Quantic Dream's followup Beyond: Two Souls never felt like it had this balance. There are some memorable moments in the game--probably one of the most cited sequences is the party scene towards the beginning of the game. Large portions of the game had elements of interactivity, but lacked depth and felt limited. One chase scene where Jodie Holmes has to run from the police could end with her escaping freely or getting arrested. By the way, if she is arrested, she escapes somehow in the next cut scene. You can mind control people and manipulate objects. But only in the one way the programmers and designers told it to. In fact, I'm having a hard time thinking about the negative things that could happen to Jodie. There simply aren't that many of these events in the grand scheme of things, which is kind of odd in a game that is largely about the trials and tribulations she goes through. At that point, I just have to ask "What's the point of all of this anyway? Why didn't they just make a different game if they weren't going to go all of the way from an interaction standpoint?" When I look over the game, I think more about how the game is lacking in interactivity than anything else. Even with the game's final decision, it didn't feel deserved. Yes you have the freedom and player choice to pick your ending literally from a list that appear out of nowhere, but the importance of your choice needs to be felt through the story, not from a button prompt and a two minute cut scene at the end. Then again, this might be a different conversation if I actually liked the overall story in Beyond: Two Souls.

So what about something like Mass Effect? In that game, you can romance a handful of different people. The second game is basically all about you determining who lives and dies. The promise and the potential of the Mass Effect trilogy is something that hasn't really been attempted before and that's probably why it didn't live up to a lot of people's expectations. There have been plenty of crazy ideas for video games before and the idea behind the Mass Effect trilogy is kinda nuts. In fact, it makes more sense that Mass Effect 3 didn't live up to people's expectations than it actually succeeding. The more I think about it, the more I think that this problem really happened because of the promise of what the trilogy could be. I know I'm not the only one who replayed a previous Mass Effect game to import a save into ME3. If you search on YouTube, you can find videos of people creating a character to import in order to receive the worst ending possible. People like me didn't want to have one story. They wanted to see all of the stories. In the end, the people who went crazy for this kind of thing took the ending a lot harder than people who didn't.

Is this blog post is going to turn into another Mass Effect 3 sucks thread? <sigh> Oh no! Not again!! What have I done?!?
Is this blog post is going to turn into another Mass Effect 3 sucks thread? <sigh> Oh no! Not again!! What have I done?!?

As insane as it sounds, what I realized was the way I was playing Mass Effect was similar to how I played Heavy Rain. I replayed Heavy Rain over and over again to see what that game could do. When people talk about the gameplay in Heavy Rain, it is often about the Quick Time Events and the unconventional controls like how you open doors or even take a step forward. To me what sticks out most about "playing" Heavy Rain isn't those types of inputs, but rather toying with the story. It was me thinking, "What would happen if I did this to one character" or "How would the game change if this character never found out about something". I think with this mentality, you are also expecting more drastic changes with the story and the endings. If you are going to run an experiment, you want to see different results.

Even if other people don't feel this way, I believe this is why I and other people feel disappointed over a lack of choice in some games. Even for people who don't replay a game multiple times and want to see the flip side of their decisions from a previous play through, there is a sense that your primary action deserves an equal reaction. For me Beyond: Two Souls didn't do this. Until Dawn could have done it a little bit more with a few more consequences, but it is still a great game. Heavy Rain is very successful at letting you play as the game's director and do just that. But at the end of the day, it feels like most games simply aren't designed for this type of interaction.

Even if a game claims you can do this, sometimes there are either not enough paths, not enough choices, and not enough endings to live up to those types of expectations. Until Dawn opens with a cinematic talking about what the Butterfly Effect is. Mass Effect is literally called "mass effect" (get it). It's easy just to put the blame on the developers and say "They shouldn't do that", but maybe players should just expect something different from a lot of these types of games?

So, with all of that said and all of those other games out of the way, why is Life is Strange my favorite game of this type? One of the reasons is because I didn't care about any of that stuff.

Between Episodes 4 and 5, I briefly thought about hastily playing through Life is Strange again to have two save files ready for the Series Finale, so I could see "the other side of the story". I'm glad I didn't. I remember reading David Cage say that he wanted people to have one play through of Heavy Rain, in the sense that what you get during that play through is your Heavy Rain story. Playing through Life is Strange, I definitely have that feeling. In large part, this is because of the main character Max.

Between the voice acting, the journal entries, her internal monologue (when the option appears, always sit down for a second), looking at all of the objects inside her dorm room, reading text messages, and talking to the other characters, I don't think I have ever been in a character's shoes more than Max Caulfield's. I always felt like I was looking through her eyes and I never felt like Max was a blank slate for me or wondered off and thought about this side character more than the protagonist. Life is Strange goes out of its way to put you in Max's world. That's not to say it is exactly the most authentic of teenage minds. However, since everything is so realized with the surround characters and a richly populated world, it felt believable, even when it clearly isn't.

I don't care what anybody says, but "Splish Splash" is the best and realist line in that game. Hella Splish Splash!

The connection I had towards Max transferred over to the story as well. With these types of games, I usually play through the game making the decisions I would if I was in that situation. And while I did play Life is Strange in this way in the beginning, I started to play through the game as if I was Max. She isn't a traditional video game character in the sense that she is a blank slate or has an ambiguous past. I know who she is and what her thought process is. That lead me to have more and more empathy for her and her situation, which then lead me to agonize over everything other decision over the course of the series. I wanted the best for Max and Chloe, but the game doesn't give you that many great options to "Do the right thing". Max's story is about somebody who is a shy and reserved who has to step up and take action in order to deal with the extraordinary things around her, and when I walked away from my computer, pacing around wondering what the hell I was going to do, I felt that as a person.

When I finished Life is Strange, I didn't have endless possibilities laid out in front of me. Before the end came, I knew the ways this story was going to end. I still looked back over everything Max had to go through. From the carefree and funny to the dangerous and deathly serious. When I was approaching the end, there were situations that could have had a "better" outcome, but I was at peace. I played through the game as I saw it. I cared about so many of those characters that I wanted to do what I thought was right. Life is Strange isn't a game about going Paragon or Renegade and it is all the better for it. It doesn't matter that each choice you make adds up to a unique, one of a kind final act. If you connect with a story and its characters enough, if you have ownership over your actions, if you feel like you are creating your own path, you don't need any of that.

I enjoyed Life is Strange so much, I will absolutely play through it again someday. The thing is I don't know when. Maybe a year from now, so I can go back to Arcadia Bay and to interact with those characters again. If I ever had the opportunity, I would love to watch somebody else I know play through the game. Whatever the reason or whenever it happens, I can tell you this much: I'm not going to play through the game just to pick every alternate conversation option or to get another ending. Even if there were 29 different endings all processed by some line of code, I don't need to play through the game just to see it. I already had my Life is Strange experience and I loved it to death. <3

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#1 Posted by Cav829 (827 posts) -

Great read! I had some similar thoughts especially regarding comparing and contrasting this game with Mass Effect which I posted in the ending discussion thread. I think there are some very notable reasons LiS succeeded and ME 3 in particular didn't regarding player choice, but it of course require spoiling both games to discuss it.

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#2 Posted by clagnaught (1900 posts) -

@cav829: Thanks!

Yeah I'm not sure what the overall consensus is, but I saw a couple of comments in the ending discussion thread from people who weren't satisfied with the number of choices at the end. Seeing that actually was the start of me thinking, "Wait? Why doesn't it bother me with Life is Strange, but it does with others?"

It sounds like overall people enjoyed Life is Strange's ending from the comments I read.

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#3 Posted by Cav829 (827 posts) -

@clagnaught: From what I've read, the large majority did seem to like it. If nothing else, it certainly drew strong reactions out of those who didn't.

Maybe I'll write something up about my own thoughts on endings this week. I have referred to the algorithmically derived giant branching ending based upon dozens of choices throughout the game as a "White Whale." I'm just not sure even if a game ever pulled it off that it would amount to much. Games like Fallout and Heavy Rain pull off the illusion that they have a vast array of endings by having binary or close to options on individual outcomes for instance. Even when there are numerous outcomes like in say a Fallout where there are 6-8 different outcomes for a character or a town, it still amounts to a blurb of text and is the result of a miniature chunk of the game. it can't possibly add together to create some consistent theme or message delivered by an author though.

There are plenty of examples out there, though interestingly enough I think Mass Effect 3 is one of the very few examples of trying to derive endings based on dozens of choices. And it failed spectacularly.

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#4 Posted by stordoff (1293 posts) -

@clagnaught said:

@cav829: "Wait? Why doesn't it bother me with Life is Strange, but it does with others?"

For me, the main reason it didn't bother me that your choices prior to the ending ultimately don't matter is that the rest of the game builds to the that point - in previous episodes, you are shown that your choices do matter, and the outcomes of seeming minor choices are referenced or impact later in the story in a satisfying way BUT you are also shown that relatively small changes can have a huge impact on the rest of the game universe.

IMO, this means the ending pretty much comes down to a single choice - make the changes and risk dire unexpected consequences (i.e. the tornado or worse; the physical effects it has on Max rules out repeated changes AFAICT) OR do nothing and accept the "original" outcome.

The main thing that disappointed me with the ending was stuff that wasn't explained, not the lack of choice (e.g. Why was David fixated on Katie?; What was David doing with Nathan?; Why was so much wierd stuff pretty much ignored or just accepted by most of the town?; Why does Max using the time power lead to the tornado? Where did the power come from?).

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#5 Posted by clagnaught (1900 posts) -

@cav829:Yeah, I'm definitely getting the "White Whale" vibe when it comes to this stuff recently. I guess I still had hope for it being pulled off, even in the not so distant past. Realistically it could be done with something like a visual novel. While it would still take resources and time, it would be theoretically easier to do than a game that has a ton of voice acting, mo-cap, or going so far as to import saves into different games or episodes of a series. And I think the key to feeling like decisions matter is the effect. That's one of the reasons why I think Life is Strange works better than others. Characters talk about and reference your past decisions throughout the game, like....For me, I told David I was the one smoking weed. That came up later in Episodes 2 and 3. I also wasn't into Warren, and that showed up in Episode 5 during the big mind fuck section of that episode and again when Max reaches the Two Whales. These aren't the biggest things in the world but I appreciate the cause and effects. When games do the text blurb thing, yeah it does change the story, but it often doesn't have any weight. That's why I was bummed with the final choice in Beyond: Two Souls. When it comes down to that one thing and the game wraps up so quickly, who cares?

@stordoff: The tornado always seemed to be a realistic depiction of the butterfly effect. A lot of that stuff had a magical realism vibe going on, where something spectacular happens in an otherwise normal world, so it is beyond comprehension. Another take I heard the other day was when Max changes the past, it is like somebody re-rolling the dice. Under most circumstances, there wouldn't be a tornado or it would happen like 5, 10, 100 years from now. But if you re-roll the dice enough, then enough things could change where the tornado would happen on that day.

If I had to provide an explanation, I would say there are some parallel world stuff going on. Like maybe the snowstorm happened because it came in from another time and place? Maybe the moon that caused the eclipse came from the same moon but from a different time so it was in a different position? In Episode 4 you also see the second moon flicker in and out of existence. When Chloe said Oregon gets a tornado every 25 years, maybe the storm was one of those 100 year storms that just popped up from the past or future? This doesn't really bother me, but if I had to say where the storm came from, that's my interpretation. I actually kind of like how some of that stuff was in the background. Like I don't really need to understand where Max's powers came from or what caused the tornado.

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#6 Posted by Cav829 (827 posts) -

@clagnaught: Exactly. I disagree wholeheartedly with anyone saying choices in the game have no consequence. They constantly do throughout the game. There isn't permanence to those choices in one of the two endings. There is in the other, but saving Kate or covering for Chloe smoking weed is not in any way going to stop the mother of all tornadoes. To me, I think what many of these players are actually saying is they want it to have consequence on the ending itself. What I think these players are chasing is something Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. It'd take a good deal of delving into those two games for the unique way each of them approaches building endings based on small choices throughout the game. Even as a giant Silent Hill 2 fan though, that story is good because it's good, and the endings are good because they offer several different points of framing the game's events. They really don't result in a great deal of variation in the course of events, and honestly the way you arrive at your ending is great and innovative in theory, but in implementation was kind of poor and not intuitive.

@stordoff: Regarding the explanation for the game's time travel, here's my take: At the start of the game, we see Max take the photo of the blue butterfly. We later learn that the blue butterfly is Chloe's spirit or spirit guide. We also know that Arcadia Bay was originally founded by Native Americans. My take from early on was Max "stole" or "borrowed" the powers of a spirit when she took that photo based on Native American theology that one can steal another's soul in a photo. Both endings also show Max "releasing" that power when she tears up the photo. I don't think it's anything more complex than that, and the pieces were there if the player wanted to connect them, but if you're not into defining details like that, you can just ignore it all.

Thematically, I think the purpose of the whole game was Chloe and/or the town's spirits giving Max the power to solve the mystery of Rachel Amber's disappearance. Along the way, Max also tried to save Chloe and "improve" the situations of those surrounding her, which was never something she was intended to do. Typically in most works, a storm like the one in LiS is representative of nature restoring balance. Or on a much simpler literary interpretation, it represents the consequences of Max's constant alterations of time destroying the ideal perfect world she was trying to create without having to get into an expansive look at the consequences of every last action she took, because there's no end to that.

If you wanted to actually go so far as to say the two endings represent two entirely different views on the course of events, I think there is a legitimate take that the "sacrifice Arcadia Bay" ending is for the most ardent of Max and Chloe shippers and represents a willingness to sacrifice one's friends and family for their true love, something many in the queer community have to endure unfortunately due to the prejudices in society. I've seen that take put out there as well.

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#7 Posted by clagnaught (1900 posts) -

@cav829: I love Silent Hill 2 and I love the endings. However, I never played through the game just to see them. By the time I finally got around to beating it myself, I just pulled up the other endings on YouTube. The only ending I ever got was Leave. It's still a really cool idea and I think the three main endings, Leave, In Water, and Maria, are great ways to end the game from a story perspective. But as you said, it is not really intuitive. When I thought about it, I forgot how you trigger the In Water ending and had to pull up an old GameFAQs guide to remember how you were supposed to do it. My assumption is something like 90% of the people got Leave, since it is the most straightforward.

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#8 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (7046 posts) -

"....The way Life is Strange actually ends is pretty cut and dry, even for a game that starts each chapter with a reminder saying "This is a narrative driven game and your actions will affect the past, present, and future". This isn't to say the decisions don't mean anything. All of your decisions accumulate from episode to episode and impact the game as a whole. All it really means is there are only a handful of ways Max and Chloe Price's story could end"

I agree with you 100%, what follows is merely my response to people who say "well what's the point of no affecting the ending?"

So much of life is the journey not the destination. That is never more true than in games with the journey is foreshortened and the life in that game the player has is equally as short. No there are not a lot of choices at the end of LiS, nor can you screw up and not reach then end with major characters missing. But, I liked that I could always save this one girl every episode. I like the I could take the high road with the 'mean-girl' and had an easier talk with her near the end. I liked that the boy who asked me out got his date, and got his kiss. I liked taking to the homeless person, the trucker, the fisherman, the grounds keeper, and the other students showing them kindness is a rough world during a rough week.. The story is not just Max, Chloe, a killer and a storm; the story is the whole community and some of those story beat you solve earlier rather than later.

With all sort of game with choice, I relish the little things I change and do mid story. I like I can be a decent guy in Mass Effect even though saving someone minor story bump character doesn't change the universe ending outcome. As they say 'smell the roses', because it is the little choices in life that can mean something.

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#9 Posted by thatdudeguy (332 posts) -

Great article! I'm totally with all those saying that Life is Strange's journey was much more important than the destination. This game, more than any other I can recall, made me feel like my actions mattered beyond a simple toggle. One decision would permanently alter my relationships with many characters in both deep and subtle ways. Characters would often surprise me with their actions, but then make an offhand comment relating to a past decision that put that action into a perfectly understandable context. Perhaps because of this feeling of making a real impact on their lives, my decisions never needed to be min-maxed and I was okay making mistakes. It was hard to make decisions that would eventually harm someone, but when it happened it became just another piece of the story.

I look forward to seeing what Dontnod do next, because this came out of left field and blew me away.

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#10 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (7046 posts) -

After even more thought, I can honestly say the two games I just had fun with this year are Life Is Strange and Until Dawn. I'm actually thinking of picking up Game of Thrones (Telltale) next, because I like small segment games as a supplement to my other games.

I was just looking at the Dontnod site and I saw someone doing Mark Jefferson cosplay...creepy. Over the course of the past 10 months most of the students have been the obvious/iconic cosplayed subjects people have dresses as, but with this last episode I think Dontnod actually created a very memorable villain who is now interesting. The last chapter gives a ton of fodder for cosplay because they make Jefferson so much more psychotically interesting.