Young adult novels and films have been a lucrative business for many years. As video game technology has advanced so too has the ability to tell increasingly complex stories through the medium, and with that complexity came the ability to cater stories to specific audiences. Hence, the rise of young adult video games was inevitable. Throughout 2015, the episodic Life Is Strange capitalized on the young adult market to great success, and after two sequels, one prequel, and a spin-off, the original game and its prequel have been remastered for PS4, Xbox One, Steam, and, most importantly, Nintendo Switch. Despite being labeled “remastered,” the recently released Life Is Strange Arcadia Bay Collection looks and performs like a seventh-generation game when played on the Switch. Luckily, the story-heavy nature of the game keeps the focus away from performance shortcomings and makes it more accessible for a new generation of players.
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At the core of the Life Is Strange experience is the branching choose your own adventure type storyline. The story of the original game and its prequel story, Before the Storm, is a perfect representation of young adult fiction, for better and worse. Characters are poorly written-caricatures of people that don’t actually exist in the real world. The dialogue feels stiff and awkward full of hip slang that is overused and reeks of a “hello fellow kids” type energy. And the levels of cognitive dissonance required for the audience to ignore the hypocrisy in one of the game’s main characters, Chloe Price, is nothing short of total insanity.
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Regardless of the poorly written dialogue and shallow characters, the completely absurdist plot that only becomes more and more over the top as each layer is peeled back is still extremely enjoyable seven years on. Max’s initial ability to turn back time required a significant suspension of disbelief on…