Today, for the first time ever, I will be ranking a video game franchise! I’ve done a lot of movie and book rankings here on the old blog, but never a game. I am going to share with you (in my personal opinion) my most favourite to least Life Is Strange chapters from the makers: Square Enix. If you didn’t know, this episodic series follows different characters with unique abilities. Some of the stories are related to one another, others are complete stand-alones. In each installment, you are required to make big decisions that affect the plot and overall outcome of the game. The choices are really intense and none of them are clear-cut. There are so many reasons why I love this franchise. The story-telling, the visuals and the way it manages to completely break you in parts. It’s not for the faint-hearted. In fact, it can actually be quite sad and confronting. There are a lot of trigger warnings, so just be aware of them before you start. Having said that, there is also a lot of love, hope and happiness. Without further ado, let’s get into it! Spoilers ahead!
1.) Life Is Strange
I feel like every ranking post I write, I place the first installment at the top of my list. In this case, I had no choice but to do so! Life Is Strange is one of the best games I have ever played…period! Maxine “Max” Caulfield, returns to her hometown of Arcadia Bay, Oregon, where she witnesses childhood friend Chloe Price, being shot in the school bathroom. The incident triggers Max’s abilities to rewind time, allowing her to save Chloe from the gunman. As the two friends begin to reconnect, Max has visions of a violent storm approaching Arcadia Bay. She also uses her newfound powers to help Chloe track down her missing friend, Rachel Amber. What they discover is truly horrific and it’s up to Max to decide whether she should rescue her town or her best friend. If you know me, you know my favourite movie is Back To The Future. I am obsessed with time travel and this game has it in spades. You literally get to reverse the clock whenever you choose, but as you can imagine, any choices made affect the storyline. Max also likes taking photographs, allowing you to capture images across the five episodes and gain achievements. The ending is WILD. I cannot even put into words what happens. You have to play it and when you do, absorb everything you can. This is an immersive game that requires your 100% focus. It’s completely worth it. Trust me.
2.) Life Is Strange: Before The Storm
As you can tell by the title, Before The Storm is a prequel to Life Is Strange. This time, you play as Chloe Price, three years before Max’s arrival to Arcadia Bay. Chloe is struggling with the death of her father, when she meets and befriends popular student, Rachel Amber. As the two develop an intense relationship, they uncover long-buried secrets within the Amber family, that lead Rachel on a search for her birth mother. Obviously, I put this installment second because it is very closely linked to the first game. There are a great amount of Easter Eggs to enjoy. I also die-hard love the soundtrack. The Right Way Around by Daughter is very reminiscent of summer nights and memories made with friends. In fact, this whole installment is about the bonds of friendship. Chloe does not have a unique ability but she does like to draw. You can gain achievements by tagging certain places/objects with her marker. Some people believe Chloe’s power lies in destruction and it’s her force that triggers the storm in Arcadia Bay when Max arrives. She’s certainly a rebellious character with a lot of personal baggage. However, you can’t help but warm to her, considering her past (and in a sense her future, knowing the events of the first game). This story is less action-packed and more plot/people driven. It will break your heart but also teach you something important. Play it and find out.
P.S: I’ve also played Farewell, which is an additional game within Before The Storm, about Chloe and Max as pre-teens. It was fun!
3.) Life Is Strange: True Colours
True Colours is the latest installment in the franchise. I was gifted it by my husband for Christmas, so I only just finished playing it earlier this year. It follows Alex Chen, who possesses psychic empathy powers, allowing her to read and manipulate emotions that appear as colourful auras. At the beginning of the game, she leaves foster care and travels to the aesthetically stunning town of Haven Springs, to reunite with her estranged brother Gabe, who has invited her to live with him. There, she meets all of his friends, including his girlfriend. When Gabe’s partner’s son goes missing, they travel to the forest to find him. They also put in a call to Typhon, the mining company, to cancel a scheduled blast in the area. However, during the rescue, the explosion happens anyway and Gabe is killed in the process. Following the tragic event, it’s up to Alex and her newfound friends to discover whether her brother’s death was an accident or intentional. Firstly, this game is just beautiful. The scenery is breathtaking. It’s also a lot of fun. It has mini-games! You get to play a jukebox game, a couple of arcade games, a foosball match and even participate in a LARP (Live Action Role Playing) tournament. Plus, there are plenty of achievements and side quests. You even get to decide if you want to be in a romantic relationship with Ryan or Steph (you may remember her from Before The Storm). Like any Life Is Strange story, there are hard-hitting moments and dark undertones. It’s filled with grief but also hope. I would say the twist was shocking but I guessed it halfway through. Either way, it’s in third place for a reason. I absolutely loved it and could relate to the highly sensitive, empathic protagonist. Also, it had great Asian, bisexual representation. Check it out!
P.S: I have not played the Wavelengths DLC.
4.) Life Is Strange 2
In fourth place, we have Life Is Strange 2. Sean Diaz, and his younger brother, Daniel, flee their home in Seattle, following their father’s death at the hands of a police officer. An explosion damages the environment and following the incident, Daniel develops telekinetic abilities. Now fugitives, the brothers embark on a cross-country road-trip down the American West Coast, toward their father’s homeland of Puerto Lobos, Mexico. As they meet friends and foes along the road, including their estranged mother, the decisions Sean makes shape who Daniel will become, and eventually the ultimate outcome of their journey. I’m not going to lie, I struggled with this one. The episodes were a bit all over the place. The boys camp in the forest, work for drug-addicts, wind up in a crazy church, stay in the desert and spend time in a snowy town with their long-lost grandparents. I preferred the other installments because they were much more linear. I also didn’t connect with the brothers. Daniel was so annoying and reckless at times. I know that was the point but he made so many stupid decisions, it irritated me. Having said that, it had one of the most satisfying endings of the franchise and it was fun playing with the telekinesis, particularly in the beginning, when it was just the two brothers surviving in the wilderness. I do not rate it as highly but it’s worth a try.
5.) The Awesome Adventures Of Captain Spirit
Last but not least is The Awesome Adventures Of Captain Spirit. Christopher “Chris” Eriksen, fashions himself into the superhero, Captain Spirit, to help his alcoholic father set up the house for Christmas. He imagines his various chores as super-villains to be defeated – including his arch-nemesis Mantroid, an embodiment of his feelings surrounding the death of his mother in a hit-and-run. After an argument with his father, Chris falls from his tree-house, but mysteriously levitates instead of hitting the ground and spots two boys watching from afar (Sean and Daniel from Life Is Strange 2). As you will see, he becomes a big part of their story too. It was much shorter than the other installments, hence landing fifth place in my rankings. It was also really depressing. I felt for the poor child, using his wild imagination to cope with the tragedies in his life. It’s worth checking out but it’s heavy stuff.
I hope you enjoyed this post! Thank you so much for reading. Have you played these games before? How would you rank them? Would you like me to do more of these posts? Let me know!
Peace & Love xoxo