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Episodic Content

Life is Strange photo
Life is Strange

Life is Strange's final episode targeting Oct. 20

It could slip, though
Sep 21
// Jordan Devore
Polarized, the fifth and final episode of Life is Strange, should be out on Tuesday, October 20. "We don't normally announce a date until we know the game is 100% ready but in the spirit of Max’s birthday (today) we wa...
Life is Strange photo
Life is Strange

Life is Strange is being dubbed in Japanese

Ma-chan and Kuro-chan
Sep 07
// Brett Makedonski
Folks in Japan will soon get to find out what it's like to be a teenage woman with time-manipulation powers. Square Enix is releasing Life is Strange with a Japanese voice dub. This trailer was recently uploaded to Squa...
Minecraft photo

Minecraft: Story Mode release date leaked?

'This item will be released on October 27, 2015'
Sep 07
// Vikki Blake
According to, Minecraft: Story Mode will release on October 27, 2015. Playing as Jesse, you'll "embark on a perilous adventure across the Overworld, through the Nether, to the End, and beyond. You and your friends ...
Episodic games photo
Episodic games

How long is too long to wait for updates on episodic games?

Six months to a year and I lose interest
Aug 20
// Chris Carter
Episodic games can be a mixed bag. While there are many examples of some incredible successes, others fall by the wayside, partially due to the restrictions involved with the model. Take a look at Sons of Anarchy: The Prospec...

Telltale Borderlands photo
Telltale Borderlands

Tales from the Borderlands Episode 4 out next week

Have some screenshots
Aug 12
// Darren Nakamura
From the announcement of the "crowd-play" event at PAX Prime, we knew Tales from the Borderlands: Escape Plan Bravo was imminent. I figured the event attendees would have advance knowledge and the rest of us would get it the ...
Telltale Borderlands PAX photo
Telltale Borderlands PAX

PAX Prime attendees able to 'crowd play' Tales from the Borderlands Episode 4

Potential hints about its release date
Aug 06
// Darren Nakamura
With just a little over three weeks to go, PAX Prime is almost upon us. The full schedule isn't available yet, but Telltale sent over a snippet including its plans at the sold out gathering. On Saturday, August 29, Telltale w...

Review: Life is Strange: Dark Room

Jul 28 // Brett Makedonski
Life is Strange: Dark Room (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One[reviewed])Developer: Dontnod EntertainmentPublisher: Square EnixRelease date: July 28, 2015MSRP: $4.99 (Each Episode) Interestingly enough, Dark Room largely betrays the pacing set forth by the previous three installments. Those chapters had a tendency to meander as Dontnod built the world and its characters. There wasn't anything inherently bad about that. Actually, now that the game's nearing its conclusion, it's paying dividends. We're invested in the story surrounding Arcadia Bay. Still, Dark Room is always tugging at your sleeves, trying to guide you somewhere. The stakes in this episode have been raised to a degree that doesn't lend itself to killing time. Urgency permeates the entirety of Dark Room. Rushing from one location to another advances the plot as things escalate steadily, and there's not always a chair handy to take a mental breather. As quickly as things move, a lot of the brilliance behind this episode comes in the form of finally tying together past events and seeing how they cause everything to shake out. There's some resolution, even if it's not full resolution. Dontnod has proven that it expertly laid the framework to affect future encounters. One particular instance comes in the form of another spat with a familiar antagonist. The branching paths can lead to several outcomes, none necessarily more optimal than the next. [embed]296752:59714:0[/embed] Another prime example is very un-Life is Strange, and maybe the only time Dark Room just sat still for a minute. Max has a board of clues that she must use to put together some damning evidence against someone. Putting on Max's sleuthing hat, the puzzle requires carefully finding related documents and grouping them in a sensible way. Odd as it may have seemed, this section nicely conveyed a sense of inter-connectivity and broke up the episode's breakneck speed. The rest of Dark Room's high points were the bleakest moments the game has seen, none of which should be discussed here. This episode doubled down on grim material and somber social issues. The absolute best thing Dark Room does is that it still somehow manages to present most of this (and the characters tied to it) from a complex perspective. It's not dealing in blacks and whites -- even though it's completely expected by now, given the nature of the subjects. The more time spent in Life is Strange, the more obvious it is that this isn't the game we may have originally thought. The supernatural won't overshadow the social issues. The rewind mechanic often doesn't feel like an option because you want to live with your decisions. Somehow, Dontnod resisted the urge to lean on these aspects, even though they'd be the easiest to lean on. The game's immeasurably better off for it. So, after another cliffhanger ending, we're left awaiting the conclusion and with no real idea where the narrative might go. Dark Room has been the most masterful installment in Life is Strange thus far, and it sets us hurtling toward the finish line. If the first 80 percent is any indication, it probably won't be a "happily ever after" ending. Only one thing's certain, though: that ever-present throat lump will be along for the ride.
Life is Strange review photo
Super Max
I played the fourth episode of Life is Strange with a lump in my throat. You know, the sort of uneasiness that puts a slight pressure behind your ears. The lump waned and grew with the chapter's crescendos and decrescend...

Life is Strange: Episode Four Achievement guide

Jul 28 // Brett Makedonski
Dark Room: Finish Episode 4: Dark Room This is the only Achievement that's earned through story progression. Just finish the fourth episode. Easy peasy. Ambient: Take optional photo #1 in Episode Four: Dark Room The first photo op takes a while to get to. It's available as soon as Max has control of her camera again. Take a picture of Chloe while she's working hard at her computer. Time-Lapsed: Take optional photo #2 in Episode Four: Dark Room Fortunately, we don't have to wait as long for the second photo as we did for the first. Once in step-douche's garage, go take a gander at the bird's nest that's hiding behind the plank. Move the plank to the side and take a picture for Max's Arcadia Bay Wildlife Series. Make sure to move the plank back when you're done; drill sergeant David doesn't like people messing with his stuff. Balance: Take optional photo #3 in Episode Four: Dark Room You know that ominous totem pole in the corner of the Blackwell Academy courtyard? Well, now there's an ominous pile of stones in front of it. Go ahead and take a picture of the "Blair Witch" rocks for this episode's third Achievement. Rangefinder: Take optional photo #4 in Episode Four: Dark Room This one's also in the Blackwell courtyard. Go talk to Samuel -- he's sitting on the bench -- about animals, squirrels in particular. He'll throw a nugget of food, which attracts one furry friend. Use the box of food next to Samuel to lure another squirrel over. When they're snacking together, take a picture of them. Gamma Value: Take optional photo #5 in Episode Four: Dark Room Once in the boys' dorms, take the hallway to the right and look out the window. There are some footprints that Max finds photo-worthy. Dioptic Power:Take optional photo #6 in Episode Four: Dark Room Before long, you'll end up on the beach. This episode's sixth photo is the third beached whale from the right. Snap a picture for some of the saddest Gamerscore you'll ever earn. Fisheye: Take optional photo #7 in Episode Four: Dark Room This one requires some quick reflexes and possibly a rewind or two. Off to the left of the barn is a bird posted up on the fence. Take a quick photo of it. If our feathered friend flies away, reverse time until he sits still long enough for a picture. Manually Exposed: Take optional photo #8 in Episode Four: Dark Room The next one's owlfully easy to find. There's an owl hanging out in the corner of the loft in the barn. Once you're up there, do what Max does best. Slideshow: Take optional photo #9 in Episode Four: Dark Room This one's inside the End of the World Party. Go around the outside of the pool and up to where the VIP booth is. Go into the unmarked door. When in there, take a photo of Justin at the sink with his lower half lined up with the skeleton graffiti. Tripod: Take optional photo #10 in Episode Four: Dark Room In the pool area of the End of the World Party, move off to the right side and look up and out the windows. Find a place where you can line up a nice double moon shot. Wait. Double moon?! Shutterbug: Take all optional photos in Episode Four: Dark Room This one will unlock as soon as you pick up the last optional photo. Two Achievements for the price of one!
Life is Strange photo
Point camera, earn Gamerscore
We're inching ever-closer to the conclusion of Life is Strange. As we get nearer to knowing what the narrative holds for Max and Chloe, we find a bit of familiarity in the Achievements. Like always, episode four Dark Roo...

Life is Strange photo
Life is Strange

Life is Strange Episode Four will debut on July 28

One more episode to go
Jul 23
// Chris Carter
Square Enix has revealed the release date for the fourth episode of Life is Strange, titled Dark Room-- July 28. The above video is a teaser of sorts, but it does contain spoilers, so be warned. The episode is allegedly taki...
Life is Strange photo
Life is Strange

Life is Strange Episode Four is probably imminent, but not definitely

Achievement lists are telling
Jul 21
// Brett Makedonski
It's been a little while since we last heard from Max and Chloe in Life is Strange. To be exact, it's been nine weeks since the third episode released, meaning the next installment should be right around the corner. There's a...
Game of Thrones photo
Game of Thrones

Episode 5 of Game of Thrones will drop later this month

Here, look at some pretty pictures
Jul 16
// Vikki Blake
The fifth installment of Telltale's Game of Thrones series, A Nest of Vipers, will be released later this month. Good news if you've been growing impatient, particularly as we're already halfway through July. Yay. The confirm...
Dreadnought photo

If you lose your ship in Dreadnought, you get put in a dinky little jet

In one mode, at least
Jun 08
// Brett Makedonski
Everything we've seen of Dreadnought thus far has been relatively low stakes. Sure, your ships are big -- and it's not good when they blow up -- but you'll come back strong as ever after a short wait. That's how Team De...

Life is Strange: Episode Three Achievement guide

May 26 // Brett Makedonski
Chaos Theory: Finish Episode 3: Chaos Theory This is the only Achievement that's earned through story progression. Just finish the third episode. It shouldn't give you any trouble at all. Parallax View: Find optional photo #1 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory Break into Victoria’s room after finding out that she snuck off campus. She has a glow-in-the-dark action figure sitting on her desk. Shine your flashlight on it for a few seconds, then take a picture of it. Lenscrafted: Find optional photo #2 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory Awww, it’s our little squirrel friend again. He’s sitting on the bench to the right after exiting the dorms. Coming close will cause him to scurry away, but rewind time to get him to pose for a picture. The Reflex: Find optional photo #3 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory After meeting up with Chloe and entering the school, take a quick detour to the science room. Max wants a photo of the fish, so turn on the light in their tank and snap a quick pic. Histogrammar: Find optional photo #4 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory While you’re still in the science room, let’s grab another photo. Head toward the back and take a picture of the skeleton with a cigarette in its mouth. Smoking kills, kids! Bokeh: Find optional photo #5 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory In the principal’s office, take a picture of Chloe behind the bronze hawk. It’s not easy to line everything up; it pretty much has to be arranged exactly like this screenshot. Pinholed: Find optional photo #6 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory After getting dressed in Rachel’s clothes, stop off in the upstairs bathroom for a quick selfie. RAW Strength: Find optional photo #7 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory Just like the squirrel, our bird friend is back too. Before eating Joyce’s breakfast, scare the bird from the top of the cabinet, off of the fireplace, and out the window. Then, it’ll land on the fence in the backyard. Go take a picture of it. Viewfinder: Find optional photo #8 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory Try taking a picture of the big rig across the street from the diner. The trucker standing outside will stop you. Talk to him, rewind the conversation, and casually bring up the make and model of his semi. He’ll be so impressed that he’ll let you take a picture for real, as long as you also bring up Rachel Amber. Cross Processing: Find optional photo #9 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory Immediately after the last photo, move around the side of the diner. There’s an unfortunate birdie being swarmed by a million ants. Snap a picture of the carnage. Flash!: Find optional photo #10 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory Toward the end of the episode, Max will discover that her abilities range beyond what she previously thought. After a bit of revelatory dialogue, pick up the camera on the kitchen counter and snap this episode’s final picture. Camera Eye: Find all optional photos in Episode 3: Chaos Theory This one unlocks as soon as you nab all ten photos. Bonus Achievement!
Life is Strange guide photo
Point camera, earn Gamerscore
We're at the halfway point of Life is Strange, and while the story is moving right along, the Achievement lists remain similar. Ten optional photos to snap in every episode, and Chaos Theory is no different. This guide s...

Review: Life is Strange: Chaos Theory

May 26 // Brett Makedonski
Life is Strange: Chaos Theory (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One[reviewed])Developer: Dontnod EntertainmentPublisher: Square EnixRelease date: May 19, 2015MSRP: $4.99 (Each Episode) As Life is Strange plays out chapter by chapter, it's increasingly difficult to talk about with any degree with specificity. Doing so not only runs the risk of spoiling the many significant plot points that continually punctuate this game, but it also feels like a disservice to discuss Life is Strange's events in black and white when much of its brilliance lies somewhere else. It's not a linear story progression that makes this title worthwhile, rather it's the character building and continually changing relationships that constantly shine. While episode two felt like it meandered too much, it laid the framework for an effective third part. Just spending that extra time inside the head of Max, getting to know Chloe, and seeing the incessant vitriol at Blackwell made for characters who are easier to empathize with. It all pays off in a big way in Chaos Theory as the cast is finally at a place where the audience feels like it knows them and cares for them. At the forefront of this trend is Max's relationship with Chloe, as the duo is ditching the re-introduction stage and have hit a groove of sorts with their interactions. There are plenty of moments when Chloe's rebellious carpe diem spirit rubs off on Max in a charming way; likewise, Max's level-headed and rational demeanor affects Chloe, probably for the better. [embed]292750:58673:0[/embed] These conflicting personalities may have been most at equilibrium during a serene midnight dip in the academy's swimming pool. It's here that the two are at their most introspective and humble. It's here that they express that they lean on one another. There's an understated emotionality about it all that makes it one of Life is Strange's best scenes yet. Really, the swimming pool scene best exemplifies the quality that Dontnod's employed masterfully throughout the three-fifths of Life is Strange that we've seen: restraint. It would've been easy to highlight the moment with some sort of memorable event. But, the developer didn't. Instead, it let the two simply talk, which wonderfully lends humanity to them both individually and as a team. However, it's not just Chloe and Max that are further humanized. Almost all characters have some sort of sympathetic progression, as Life is Strange continues to prove that it excels at dealing in shades of grey. We get a glimpse at how scumbag drug dealer Frank has loved and lost. We see how "step-prick" David password protects his computer not with a nod to his army service or himself, but with a receipt that holds the date he met his wife. The latter of those revelations is discovered through a fetch quest-style puzzle. As painful as it is to admit, this element of gameplay is still where Life is Strange is at its very worst. The reason that's sort of tough to swallow is because it always encourages exploration and will often reward the curious. However, when it forces that wandering upon the player, the pacing drops from a self-imposed standstill to a mandatory one. It's enough to deaden the mood rather quickly. It's a rare instance of Dontnod eschewing that aforesaid restraint to somewhat negative results. Thus far, the developer has done a great job keeping everything in check so as to not go off the rails. The time-rewinding mechanic still doesn't feel as if it's taken over the game nor does it serve as a permanent crutch. Instead, it's mostly sparingly used, usually to glean more information from a tight-lipped witness. Similarly, Life is Strange hasn't yet gone full-out on the paranormal aspect that clearly hangs over the entire story. This reserved approach is appreciated, as it lends weight to the characters and their personal circumstances rather than spotlighting the supernatural. There may be an imminent deviation from that pattern in the very near future, though. In the waning minutes of Chaos Theory, Max discovers a new ability that could easily shift the narrative focus. Chaos Theory is effective in that it's the first time Life is Strange asks the player to evaluate the net benefit of Max's ability to alter time. Until now, it's mostly dealt in small affairs where the results are immediately noticeable. Episode three finds a way to work on a longer timeline and with more at stake. In all honesty, it's the first time I've felt that exact heart-wrenching emotion that I experienced eleven years ago when watching The Butterfly Effect. The cliffhanger that Chaos Theory ends on is so perfect for this portrayal of the fictional Arcadia Bay, Oregon where nothing's ever perfect. However, it's also scarily dangerous in that it very well might render most of the world-building a moot point. It'd be such an absolute shame if that were to happen. We have to wait to see if that's the case. But, Life is Strange now has me in its grips, and if I'm worried, it's only because I care. I finally really, truly care. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Life is Strange review photo
Tornadoes in Texas
I'm worried about Life is Strange. But, it's not the same concern usually expressed when a game's teetering dangerously close to mediocrity or worse. It's the type of uneasiness reserved for a title that's taken three install...

Borderlands photo

Ashley Johnson joins Tales from the Borderlands cast

'Episode 3 is bananas!'
May 22
// Vikki Blake
The Last of Us voice actor Ashley Johnson is joining the cast for Tales from the Borderlands. Johnson's involvement -- confirmed by Telltale's Laura Perusco and Job Stauffer on Twitter -- is said to concern a "very core chara...
Life is Strange photo
Life is Strange

Life is Strange looks like it's going to start heating up

And blowing up
May 18
// Brett Makedonski
The third episode of Life is Strange releases this week, and it appears as if the embattled-teen story will really pick up speed with this next installment. That is, if this trailer has anything to say about it. Thus fa...
Life is Strange photo
Life is Strange

Life is Strange Episode 3 uncovers secrets on May 19

'Chaos Theory' arrives next Tuesday
May 13
// Kyle MacGregor
Dontnod's next installment of Life is Strange launches May 19, Square Enix announced today. The third entry is titled Chaos Theory and sees "Max & Chloe ramp up their investigation to find out what exactly is going on at ...
Noir photo

Noir adventure Blues And Bullets on track for an Xbox One release next month

Currently on Steam Greenlight
May 07
// Chris Carter
For some time now, A Crowd of Monsters has been developing Blues and Bullets, and episodic noir adventure game. It will take place in the fictional city of Santa Esperanza, 20 years after Al Capone has been imprisoned, a...

Swery: D4 on PC is '100 percent bona fide D4'

May 07 // Brett Makedonski
The reason that Swery doesn't feel that the Kinect-to-mouse transition is a concession of sorts is because control method isn't what's at the core of D4. Swery elaborated "D4 is a game that doesn't derive its entertainment value merely from the fact that you can control it. My design has always been focused around the 'sensory replication' element. All input devices have their own special characteristics, and I feel that I've created separate control schemes that are all designed specifically for the Kinect, controller, and now the mouse." This "sensory replication" Swery speaks of isn't some marketable-sounding term that he tacked on to describe control schemes; it's something he spends a lot of time thinking about and crafting experiences around. In fact, further hypothesizing by Swery is the reason the PC port is even happening. He explained how D4 on PC came to be by saying "I started working on the PC version at the end of last year, through to GDC this year. At that time, I had made no plans about releasing it. It was just an experiment to help prove the contents of my GDC speech. To sum up [my speech]: 'Even without Kinect, the theory of symbolization and sensory replication through minute observations is still possible, and pieces that replicate sensations in this manner can enhance the overall empathy that people experience.' In order to prove this, I started making a sample version of the game that could be played using only the mouse. I revealed it to people at GDC and PAX East, and since people responded more positively than I had expected, I decided to develop an official release." That official release won't come as easy as one might think. This is Access Games' first time working on a PC title. (The poorly-received PC port of Deadly Premonition was controlled by another studio, and Swery says that Access wasn't able to exert control over the process because it didn't own the rights to the game.) Because of Access' inexperience developing for PC, Swery describes the process as including "a lot of unexpected surprises and problems." He went into detail by saying "Like I talked about earlier, we had to figure out how to create sensory replication with the mouse. Since we couldn't use Kinect, we needed to figure out how to make the PC version a game that anyone could easily enjoy with the mouse. Our game designers, programmers, and UI designers really had to rack their brains about this. Next, we had to think about adding user options and confirming minimum system requirements and recommended specifications that didn't exist in the console version. Since we created an original shader for D4 using our own code, it was hard to make it backwards compatible simply through changing settings in Unreal Engine, so we had to adjust the code and add new parts to it. Since we've only worked on console games so far, this was a brand new experience for us." Above all else, Swery's says he's dedicated to not letting the PC version of D4 go the way of Deadly Premonition. "The team that worked on the Xbox One version of D4 is in charge, and I've also been taking part in the adjustments. We're really serious about this, and intend to treat the D4 IP with the utmost care." One thing that he wasn't too serious about was commenting on his feelings about Microsoft announcing one year ago that it'd release a version of Xbox One without Kinect. After all, Swery had likely undertook this project with the understanding that Kinect would be something that's in every living room that an Xbox One is in. All of a sudden, that wasn't the case. Swery took the high (and humorous) road by simply chiming in "#ThanksObama." Temporary comedic relief aside, Swery seems very serious about D4 and its future. When asked about reading fan theories (a pastime that's dominated the Destructoid office at times), Swery said that he refrains out of respect for the fans. He clarified by saying "D4 is of the mystery genre. With this genre, the fun comes from 'enjoying' all the mysteries up to the end. I think it's natural for people to closely watch the developments, hypothesize, and then think up their own opinions and theories. That's what's so great and important about the mystery genre. With that in mind, I think I have no right to take part in those sorts of discussions." For all the transparency and openness behind the whole process of getting D4 to PC, Swery turned mysterious again when the topic on everyone's mind came up: Is a second part to D4 ever getting made? "I still can't talk about what'll be coming next. All I can say is that I'm working my hardest!," he said. Figures. But, maybe with the help of a PC audience pushing for more D4, we'll get the resolution we need. Or, maybe we'll get more fights with a cat lady. Both are welcome with open arms.
Swery interview photo
Kinect didn't make the game
To say that developer Hidetaka Suehiro -- or, Swery65 as most everyone knows him -- has a knack for creating unique and strange videogame experiences would be an understatement. He has a loyal cult following, as anyone that l...

Hella creep photo
Hella creep

Life is Strange's Warren is taking things too far

Life is strange (when you have a stalker)
Mar 26
// Brett Makedonski
Alright, dude. We get it. You're into the girl. All the nervous chatter and endless texts killed your cover. It's okay, though. She might be into you too. But, what she won't be into is finding you hiding behind bushes starin...

Life is Strange: Episode Two Achievement guide

Mar 25 // Brett Makedonski
Out of Time: Finish Episode 2: Out of Time This is the only Achievement that's earned through story progression. Just finish the second episode. It shouldn't give you any trouble at all. Field of View: Find optional photo #1 in Episode 2: Out of Time Simply take a photo of the bunny in Kate's dorm room at the beginning of the episode. Full Exposure: Find optional photo #2 in Episode 2: Out of Time In the courtyard right outside the girls’ dorm, there’s a garbage can with food in it. Take it out for a squirrel to eat. When the squirrel scurries over, take a picture. Processor: Find optional photo #3 in Episode 2: Out of Time This one takes a bit of placement. Position yourself by the fire hydrant outside of the Two Whales Diner, and look up at the giant sign above the building. Move around while looking at the sign until the prompt to take the picture pops up. Image Stabilizer: Find optional photo #4 in Episode 2: Out of Time Go around the far side of the outside of the diner so that there’s a fence between you and the ferocious dog. Snap a picture of the puppy from the safety of the chain link. Compressed: Find optional photo #5 in Episode 2: Out of Time Someone wrote “Firewalk with me” on the mirror in the diner’s bathroom. Snap a photo of it. Pixelated: Find optional photo #6 in Episode 2: Out of Time This is another slightly obscure one. There’s a school bus in the middle of the junkyard. On top of it is the number 142. Move toward it and a bit to the left until the prompt comes up to take the picture. Dynamic Range: Find optional photo #7 in Episode 2: Out of Time While on your junkyard beer bottle fetch quest, a doe will cross Max’s path. Follow it just a bit into the woods and take a picture of it. Colorized: Find optional photo #8 in Episode 2: Out of Time After again proving your superpowers in the bottle shooting gallery, take a picture of Chloe as she aims her gun at the heavens. Meter Made: Find optional photo #9 in Episode 2: Out of Time In the science room, talk to Warren about his science mixture. Neither Potassium or Sodium are the right answer; go up to Ms. Grant to find that out. Return to Warren and tell him to add Chlorine. Snap a picture of him with his new pink concoction. Resolution Revolution: Find optional photo #10 in Episode 2: Out of Time As you walk into the photography room, Alyssa will be standing in front of the window. Just like the last Achievement in episode one, take the final picture behind someone as she peers off into the distance. Lab Master: Find all optional photos in Episode 2: Out of Time This one unlocks as soon as you snap the last optional photo. Click, pop, Achievement unlocked!
Life is Strange guide photo
Point camera, earn Gamerscore
The second episode of Life is Strange has an Achievement set that falls right in line with the first episode's. Again, exploration is key, and taking some quirky photos will earn you some easy Gamerscore. The rules and p...

Review: Life is Strange: Out of Time

Mar 25 // Brett Makedonski
Life is Strange: Out of Time (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One[reviewed])Developer: Dontnod EntertainmentPublisher: Square EnixRelease date: March 24, 2015MSRP: $4.99 (Each Episode) This is a tremendous step in world-building, but Dontnod did too little with the time it had in this chapter. Episode two spends entirely too long plodding about and convincing others that, yes, Max's time-rewinding powers really do exist. Despite so much screen-time given to Max and Chloe, neither Max's personal narrative nor the relationship between the two was advanced significantly from the foundation laid in episode one. Major pacing issues plague most of this installment. While the tempo has problems, Life is Strange has no difficulty reaching incredible crescendos at the drop of a hat. These are the moments that will surely make a long-lasting impression. The final act of Out of Time holds an encounter that almost the entire episode builds toward. When it happens, it's tough to swallow the raw emotion of it all, regardless of which outcome you're saddled with. But, those type of pinnacles wouldn't pierce so strongly if they weren't slowly built upon. Small interactions accumulate as puzzles are pieced together across multiple sources. Out of Time deals heavily with subjects such as drugs, sexual abuse, and debilitating depression. That'd be daunting enough in its own right, but the player's given perspective of both the victim and those who are maliciously perpetuating the gossip. It's tough to stand by and watch someone that down and out, but it's heart-wrenching to see them relentlessly bullied. [embed]289314:57864:0[/embed] Out of Time's lasting mark will be that it's the episode where choices begin to actually matter. Those aforesaid peaks in action come to a head eventually, and many decisions made (no matter how seemingly innocuous they may have been) act as the winds of change that could very well trigger a maelstrom. There's just too much gray area between good and bad for everyone's arc to have a pleasant conclusion. Dontnod has done well so far to not telegraph a clear-cut route to achieving a desirable outcome. While Out of Time has a tendency to meander (like Max herself), it hits hard in its critical moments. This episode succeeds in that it's adept at creating sincere concern for most of the inhabitants of Life is Strange. That depth is appreciated, but Out of Time felt like a giant step to the side, as we aren't much further along than we were at the end of episode one.
Life is Strange review photo
The squirrels and the birds come
I just finished episode two of Life is Strange, and I've spiraled down a playlist of Ben Folds songs. Out of Time is Kate Marsh's story, but "Kate" is too cheerful; this tale isn't about daisies, dandelions, and butterfl...

RE: Revelations 2 photo
RE: Revelations 2

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 takes Raid online by end of month

Someone to (Terra)save you
Mar 16
// Brett Makedonski
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 has been a solid showing from Capcom thus far. The only real snag has been the approach to cooperative play, as it's not yet available for Raid mode. That'll change within a few week's time. ...
Telltale photo

Telltale's first original series is a TV show and videogame crossover

Lionsgate is an investor
Feb 24
// Brett Makedonski
Telltale Games has a propensity for surprising when it comes to revealing new projects. The news that it was creating a story-based Minecraft was so far out of left field, that it prompted us to wonder aloud what the nex...
Shadow Realms photo
Shadow Realms

Development on new BioWare IP Shadow Realms ceased

It will fade into the darkness
Feb 09
// Darren Nakamura
Shadow Realms had a very cool idea going for it. The tabletop RPG-inspired, four versus one gameplay reminded me of board games like Descent or Level 7 [Omega Protocol]. The modern fantasy setting seemed like a nice break fro...

Life is Strange: Episode One Achievement guide

Jan 29 // Brett Makedonski
Chrysalis: Finish Episode 1: Chrysalis This is the only Achievement that's earned through story progression. Just finish the first episode. It shouldn't give you any trouble at all. Macro Eyes: Find optional photo #1 in Episode 1: Chrysalis After Max gets up from her desk in the classroom, "Rachel Amber <3 4 Ever" is scrawled into the desk in front of her. Just take a picture of it.   Wide Angles: Find optional photo #2 in Episode 1: Chrysalis After some plot developments take place, Max will be forced to go to Blackwell Academy's outside courtyard. Directly in front of her is a statue in the center of a fountain. Walk around so you can see its face and snap a photo. Telephotogenic: Find optional photo #3 in Episode 1: Chrysalis This is the first photo that takes a bit of trial and error. In the courtyard, there will be a group of skaters. Talk to Justin. After he calls you a "poser," rewind time and tell him that you came here to noseslide. When he asks what trick you want to see, select a tre flip. Trevor attempts it and, well, things don't go great. Take a picture of him in agony. Then, maybe rewind time because that looks like it hurt. Close-Ups: Find optional photo #4 in Episode 1: Chrysalis Outside of the dormitories, there will be some football players playing catch. Next to them is Kate sitting on a bench. Across from Kate is a tree that's hiding a cute little squirrel with a can. Grab a picture to snag the Achievement. Red Eye: Find optional photo #5 in Episode 1: Chrysalis In Max's dorm room, there's a mirror on the wall next to her door. Just take a selfie for this Achievement. Focused: Find optional photo #6 in Episode 1: Chrysalis When going through Victoria's room, notice the collage of photos next to the door. Select to mess them up, and Max arranges them into an...umm..."creative" design. Snap a photo of Victoria's new decor. Zoomed In: Find optional photo #7 in Episode 1: Chrysalis After leaving the dorms, one of the jocks will spike a football and hit Alyssa in the head. Rewind time and warn her to move out of the way. The football will bounce past her and break a window. Take a picture of the damage. Focal Pointed: Find optional photo #8 in Episode 1: Chrysalis There's a giant, filthy RV in the school's parking lot. Go up to it and write "Clean me" in the dirt on the window. Snap a picture of your harmless graffiti for an Achievement. Maximum Aperture: Find optional photo #9 in Episode 1: Chrysalis This is the most nuanced of episode one's Achievements (and even it isn't too bad). Inside Chloe's house, wander into her parents' room when you're on the hunt for tools. A bird will smack into a window and injure itself. Rewind time to open the window. If you did it right, the bird will fly into the room and land on top of the large wardrobe opposite the bed. Then, when you and Chloe are in the woods walking toward the lighthouse, that same bird will be perched on top of a rock. Take a picture and bask in the warm fuzzies knowing that you probably saved that little guy's life. Light Leak: Find optional photo #10 in Episode 1: Chrysalis Right next to the lighthouse, Chloe takes a seat on a bench overlooking the bay. Simply take a picture of her from behind. Visionary: Find all optional photos in Episode 1: Chyrsalis This unlocks as soon as you find the tenth optional photo. Two Achievements for the price of one!
Life is Strange guide photo
Point camera, earn Gamerscore
It's always great when a game's Achievements exploit the mechanic or feature that the title does best. That's what Life is Strange's set does -- at least for the first episode. Almost everything in episode one can be unlocked...

Review: Life is Strange: Chrysalis

Jan 29 // Brett Makedonski
Life is Strange: Chrysalis (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One[reviewed])Developer: Dontnod EntertainmentPublisher: Square EnixRelease date: January 30, 2015MSRP: $4.99 (Each Episode) Life is Strange's first episode, Chyrsalis, is aptly named and hints at Max's transformation that the audience can presumably expect to see over five installments. She's in a transitory state -- not still a youngling, not yet a full-fledged butterfly. Instead, she's wrapped up hoping to simply survive. A hard shell is necessary because most everyone in Max's hometown of Arcadia Bay, Oregon is ruthlessly hostile. Blackwell Academy, the private school she's enrolled at (and where the bulk of episode one takes place), is filled with the clique-iest of cliques, all of them an over-the-top depiction of mainstream stereotypes. The jocks are brainless bros filled with piss and vinegar. The popular girls are mean as can possibly be. The artistic kids speak in try-hard, exaggerated prose. In almost all circumstances, secondary characters eschew any semblance of subtlety or nuance. Because Max doesn't really fit into any of these archetypes, she's excluded by almost everybody. There's an early scene where she pops in her earbuds just to walk down the hall. It feels less like an opportunity to listen to music, and more like a necessary suit of armor to protect her from incoming immature insults. There's even an anti-bullying poster along the way that she responds to by thinking "This must stop bullies dead in their tracks." [embed]285097:56689:0[/embed] That poster's actually indicative of Life is Strange's strongest characteristic: exploration. Every setting is littered with objects to interact with, should anyone want yet another tiny glimpse into the brain of Max or the culture of Arcadia Bay. There's so much to discover, but most of it's in the finer details. Occasionally those items will offer assistance in a later situation, but most of the time they're there to be the filler that gives the world depth. Always looking, after all. It's nigh-impossible to not be enamored by the hand-drawn world that Dontnod created. It has a wonderfully flawed look about it, maybe one that suitably reflects Max as a central character. The animations are similarly imperfect, with the mouth movements being the most detracting culprit. The dialogue and voice acting are a wild card, though. When they're good, they're really good; but, when they're off, they're noticeably bad. However, everything is generally charming enough to look past all that. As Life is Strange is all about exploration (self- and worldly), the gameplay has a twist that aligns nicely with that core tenet of discovery. Max learns early on that she's recently acquired the ability to rewind time. The reasoning behind this supernatural power isn't explained in episode one, but nevertheless, it allows for as much poking around as anyone could possibly want. The obvious draw to the rewind mechanic is to forge gameplay through puzzles. The earliest of these sections required Max to reverse a few seconds in order to keep her camera from breaking. Then, when she didn't know the answer to a teacher's question, she rewound after he reprimanded her in order to achieve desirable results. These are basic examples, but the first installment didn't delve into anything much beyond the most rudimentary of brain-teasers. But, the more intriguing prospect to time manipulation is to further explore. Branching dialogue options can all be chosen to see the immediate aftermath. If the effect is negative, rewind and try again. It also offers the ability to snoop without anyone knowing. For instance, a later area gave the option to look at some files, but grabbing them from a high spot would result in them spilling everywhere. Looking and then reversing until they're back at their resting place leaves Max with the information and no one else any wiser. However, all those choices that have to eventually be made might have far-reaching consequences. It's too early to tell, really. After one-fifth of Life is Strange, it feels like a love letter of sorts to Donnie Darko and, to a lesser extent, The Butterfly Effect. That's not to say it's derivative, though. It may draw inspiration, but Dontnod has crafted its own world worth trekking through. The plot that serves as the undertone to the introduction to the Max Caulfield Show is that of a missing classmate. There are fliers everywhere serving as notice of her disappearance, but strangely enough, so few people give a damn. One person who does is Chloe, Max's former best friend, who has wholly adopted the punk-rock lifestyle since Max last saw her. Once the two are reunited, it's obvious that rebellion is on the horizon. Presumably, future entries will center around finding Chloe's friend while the two learn a bit about who they are. For now, we're left with our first glimpse at Arcadia Bay, our initial look into the life of Max. It was a slow, yet well-paced initial chapter that set the table more than anything else. There's no telling where the story will go from here. But, as Chrysalis faded out, an indie song played that felt wonderfully at home in this setting, and served as a warning of things to come. It chanted "We will foresee obstacles, through the blizzard, through the blizzard." [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Life is Strange review photo
Always looking
"If I'm not looking through a viewfinder, I'm looking through a window. Always looking." Max Caulfield, the introspective protagonist of Life is Strange, spends her life searching, observing. Actually, it might be more akin t...

Life is punctual photo
Life is punctual

Life is Strange episodes will release every six weeks

An adventure game you can set your watch to
Jan 27
// Steven Hansen
Life is Strange comes out this week (January 30) on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC ($5 per episode, $20 for a season pass). Recent episodic adventure games have seen unclear stretches of empty time ...
Life is Sexist photo
Life is Sexist

Publishers wanted to change Life is Strange leads into men

Square the only one 'that didn't want to change a single thing'
Jan 11
// Steven Hansen
In the first developer diary for the upcoming Life is Strange, Dontnod (Remember Me) creative director Jean-Maxime Moris explained how difficult it was shopping the game to publishers, most of whom urged the company to turns...
Telltale photo

Telltale Games Collection wraps up five games for $55

Considerably more expensive for non-Xbox Live Gold subscribers
Dec 23
// Brett Makedonski
Unwrapping gifts has a special feeling about it that almost everyone can identify with. Digital presents aren't as satisfying in that regard, but sometimes a package comes along that's enticing enough to warrant buying yourse...

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