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Some spoilers for Life is Strange, episode 2

Butch:

Well, this’ll be the only big email cuz Mrs. McP is stealing the laptop today. Sigh.

Which sucks cuz I played! I did! Got through the train bit with Chloe. Which was pretty harrowing despite the fact that I knew I could redo time. I thought that was a good touch. Max would’ve been freaked, I was freaked, even though neither of us had reason to be.

And I did “fail” a couple of times. I found it slightly interesting that they never showed the train HIT Chloe if you failed. There was no gore, no visual sign of what it is your failure meant. I think that made it more harrowing.

I would have done more, but I could NOT for the life of me find that fifth damn bottle. I wandered around that junkyard forever. Wasted time. Annoying. I actually did look it up on the webs.

But, choice wise, answered Kate’s phone call in the diner, pulled the trigger on the bad guy and kept the gun. I’m not happy about either one.

The blurry screen choices seem to be getting harder. Like, much harder. By episode five, there’ll be no good choices, will there?

One nice touch on the collectible pictures: in the junkyard, there’s a collectible picture of the deer. Did you take the deer’s picture? Then did you LOOK at the deer’s picture in the journal? Nice use of collectibles, game.

Feminina:

New tech needed! Buy another laptop!

Or just talk to your phone, I suppose.

The train bit was harrowing. I lost two or three times before I got it, and I agree, it was better that they just faded out when you failed: a graphic train death scene would have felt out of place here. There’s spookiness and fear in this game (having a gun pulled on you, terrifying visions of giant storms…other stuff later…) that can be genuinely disturbing, but is also a bit muted, at least as much in our own minds as shown onscreen. I think this is effective.

And I also spent way too much time looking for that last bottle in the junkyard. I think I found it eventually? I can’t remember. I do remember it took forever. There was one that I had to build a ramp to get up to the top of a refrigerator for, or something? Details…already faded…

I did take the picture of the deer, and saw it in my journal, but I guess I didn’t LOOK at it in my journal, since I don’t know what you’re talking about.

I believe I also answered Kate’s phone call, pulled the trigger, and kept the gun. Sometime we should really try NOT being the same person when we play games. On the other hand, we’ll have plenty to discuss later because we’ll see the same results!

Butch:

Oh why do you have to go tell me to get a new laptop? The weird ads on Hotmail already doing that. Or they will soon.

But you’re right, I can talk to my phone! That is so cool.

The last bottle was by this bonfire they used for parties. Max kept even saying there’s a bonfire they party around around here somewhere. And I kept saying Max, if you know that find it! Gotta love useless hints.

As for the deer picture, you take the picture of the deer. If you look in your journal, and you look at the pictures you’ve taken, there’s no deer in the picture. It’s not there. It’s just a picture of the woods with nothing else in it.

Which is just subtle enough to be creepy as hell.

Much like Catcher in the Rye, there also seems to be an undercurrent of “is Max sane” in this game. Catcher spent a great deal of time wondering about Holden’s sanity, and I think this game is doing the same in that really subtle way games have. Max may well be nuts, right?

But she did save Chloe.

We did something different in one. You told on Nathan. Boom.

Feminina:

Oh yeah, I did tell on Nathan. Yay, we did something different!

I got anonymous (but clearly from him) threatening text messages after that. Have you gotten anonymous threatening text messages?

Interesting…no deer in the photo? I did not notice that. Although I do remember there being something weird about the deer, I just can’t think what. I feel like there’s a point where you see it, but then it disappears? But I can’t remember what context that would have been in. Something about timelines having changed? Maybe you’ll notice it later on, and your keen eye will have caught the foreshadowing I missed–like, maybe Max is seeing into another timeline, but her camera can’t capture it (even though, in other instances, we’ve taken pictures in one timeline and kept them in another).

Or maybe I’m completely imagining things.

Speaking of imagining things, sure, Max COULD be nuts, but if so then Chloe is too, right? Because they did that whole “demonstrate your powers” bit in the diner. So Max is believable enough to convince Chloe, who doesn’t seem particularly credulous. Although maybe she’s more credulous than she appears, or desperate to believe in superpowers because she’s hoping it will help them locate Amber, or something. That’s reading a lot into it, though (spoiler: this half-baked theory is not supported by any further evidence later on as far as I remember).

Or else Chloe is part of Max’s delusion, which is possible but gets very complicated since it basically falls back on a “this was ALL a dream!” explanation which–spoiler–is also not particularly supported by the later development of the story as far as I remember.

Man, now I kind of want to replay it, but I really need to finish Blood and Wine. And to do that, I will need to play, which I didn’t do last night.

I left off in the middle of a battle. I have to defeat the Big Bad Wolf. Obviously.

Butch:

I did get texts! They started after he beat up poor warren, who I agreed to go to the movies with to make it up to him.

The deer did sort of shimmer when it was there. It’s also the same shimmery deer in the dreams.

What is a really nice touch is the drawn hint in the journal, you know, the “look for this” thing before you get the picture? A deer. The real picture? No deer.

Max is also wearing a shirt with a deer in this episode.

The big bad wolf? I hate the universe for not giving me enough time to play that. So awesome.

Feminina:

Interesting…so Nathan was just going to be mad at Max no matter what. I thought maybe he wouldn’t be quite as threatening if she kept his secret.

“Sure, you didn’t tell on me about the gun, but you DID hassle me about beating people up, so I still hate you.”

There’s no pleasing some people.

Yes, the shimmer…I seem to remember there’s another point where you see the deer shimmer, and it disappears. Or, as I said, I could be completely making that up.

Things do get pretty surreal at various points as the game goes on, either because Max is sinking deeper into delusion, or because messing with the fabric of space and time has unforeseen consequences for reality. I took it as the latter, and there are indications that some of the weird stuff she sees is also seen by other people, with news stories on strange phenomena, but…she could have made those stories up along with everything else, and if you keep on the lookout for more subtle hints that she’s just delusional, you may find them.

Butch:

Well, catcher liked to play with the whole “is Holden insane or the only sane one?” And subtlety is lacking here.

The nosebleeds are kinda creepy. I’d stop rewinding cuz nosebleeds. I mean, doesn’t anyone watch the x files? Anyone?

Nathan seemed upset that I knew his murderous secrets. I not sure why he cares if he owns everyone.

Feminina:

The nosebleeds are kind of creepy, but no, Max and friends probably didn’t watch the X-Files. You’re thinking 1995 again!

Old fogeys like us watched and therefore think of the X-Files. (And, come to think of it, Twin Peaks. Even though neither of us actually watched it, we were in the time period where we could have.)

Kids these days are on to other things. Like various YouTube channels. On which nosebleeds are probably presented as harmless! (I’m just guessing here.)

But yeah, I would definitely start to have doubts about a power that gave me nosebleeds, but would it make me stop using it? For trivial stuff like telling Chloe what music was going to be on the jukebox, maybe, but for saving her life? No way. I would use the heck out of that power, nosebleed or no.

Mind you, I would suspect it meant the power was giving me a brain tumor, but I would use it anyway.

Maybe Nathan senses that Max is one of the few people he doesn’t own, and that’s why he feels threatened by her. But man, his family connections to the school and the town there…they are intense all right.

Butch:

Right, right. Same Oregon, same angst, different time. So hard to keep track when everyone is so earthy.

Feminina:

Video-game Oregon never changes. That’s its charm. It’s a restful haven in a chaotic world.

Except for the giant storms and terrifying visions and inexplicable but menacing nosebleeds, that is.

Butch:

And evil uncles. And hyper Christian parents. And bad punk music. And irony.

Feminina:

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