Life is Strange Remastered Collection Review – Turn Back Time
Life is Strange Remastered Collection Review
The Life is Strange Remastered Collection is a curious release, remastering both Life is Strange and Before The Storm into one package. Both games were released in the previous console generation (PS4 / Xbox One), so it was quite a puzzling decision to remaster it so soon. Having completed the original Life is Strange release before but skipped Before The Storm, playing it for the first time in the Life is Strange Remastered Collection was quite the treat.
In Life is Strange you take the role of Max Caufield, an awkward but talented teenager studying in Blackwell Academy pursuing her photography dream when, after witnessing a murder, her powers of manipulating time is unlocked. She discovers that the girl she saved was her former best friend Chloe Price, who she has grown estranged from. Her choices throughout her adventure would center on uncovering a harrowing mystery as well as preventing a cataclysmic event as a result of her tampering with the fabric of time and space.
In the prequel, Before The Storm, you take the opposite role of Chloe Price, a troubled teenager recovering from grief because of her father’s accidental death. A chance encounter with popular girl Rachel Amber sets into motion long-term repercussions that will set up the events of Life is Strange. Both titles have their individual charm, and the Life is Strange Remastered Collection compiles them into an easily accessible set, ready to peruse.
Having played the original episode of Life is Strange, Chrysalis, multiple times – it’s peculiar how your eyes quickly adjust to the present look while your brain fills in all the other details from what you remember. It’s easy to dismiss Life is Strange Remastered as appearing exactly the same as its non-remastered edition at a glance. To be safe, I played through the original version of Life is Strange and realized that yes, there is a difference between the two, albeit distinctly subtle.
One thing you’ll recognize if you look close enough is the difference in textures and hair. There is a lot more detail in Life is Strange Remastered (as it should be) especially when it comes to certain textures compared to the original. Life is Strange, as a whole, doesn’t exactly have the most realistic visuals because of its art direction, but it has a certain charm to it that fits the whole game thematically. Making it more “realistic” is something you’ll have to figure out if it fits your taste or not.
One obvious improvement though would be the character animations, especially with the facial animations syncing with the character dialogue. There’s quite a bit more detail applied towards the facial expressions, and you could really see the difference between the overly smooth faces of the original games compared to the more detailed faces of Life is Strange Remastered.
Across both games in Life is Strange Remastered, movement is also more natural thanks to “additional bones”. There’s literally a patch note that says that, no kidding.
Compared to the original game, the improvements in Before The Storm are a lot more subtle and almost unrecognizable, and you’ll really have to look for them to notice the difference.
However, I noticed some minor glitches and hiccups surrounding the Life is Strange Remastered Collection. In Life is Strange, there is a glitch in that when you hold down the rewind button too long, the text would remain on-screen even after the fact. It becomes a problem because it overlaps with other text that will be displayed while you remain within that checkpoint.
In Before The Storm, there’s this lens flare effect that I dismissed for a while but became a regular and annoying occurrence that did not exist in its original version.
Return to Arcadia Bay
For the most part, there’s almost no difference between the experience from the original games to Life is Strange Remastered. It’s a great way for newcomers to experience the title as well as older fans to return to and enjoy. However, “upgrading” to this remastered collection doesn’t provide a lot of value, especially for older fans who probably already own the games from before.
Before The Storm is a first-time experience for me, and it really seals the deal for Deck 9 being the successor to the franchise. The pacing differences between them and Dontnod are significantly noticeable, with the former being more meandering and meditative. Deck 9 maintains the look and feel of the original, but adds some of their signature wit, also seen in Life is Strange: True Colors.
It’s heartwarming to see Steph in the game as a supporting character, dishing out her beloved tabletop RPG experience in this game as she has done fabulously in Life is Strange: True Colors. If you’ve played True Colors prior to this, don’t expect the same production values, but her charm and joie de vivre still remain. Chloe and Rachel’s relationship throughout Before The Storm juxtaposes Stephanie and Alex’s future relationship in True Colors, so there’s a neat little parallel in that.
At the end of the day, stepping back into Arcadia Bay in Life is Strange Remastered is still a treat, especially with the subtle cosmetic differences applied to each title. The characters along with the overall writing and story are still great, so I took my time making Nathan Prescott’s and Victoria Chase’s lives a living hell in BOTH games. Ah, life’s simple pleasures.
What we liked:
- Improved textures and character animations.
- Mostly polished remaster ports that have the similar gameplay we knew and loved as the original.
What we didn’t like:
- Premium price and no additional content save for subtle cosmetic differences.
- Minor glitches and hiccups.
Verdict: Wait For It.
Life is Strange Remastered Collection is a curious case that begs the question – was this really necessary in the first place? Fans of narrative adventures will find much to love with the game, especially if you are a newcomer to the series and will be experiencing the games for the first time.
However, if you’ve already played the original versions from years back, there’s very little reason to go back and purchase this at a premium day one price. A few minimal cosmetic changes won’t sway you into shipping Max and Chloe despite the upgrades. The experience is mostly the same, and by playing the original you can save on a few bucks to shell out for some of the bigger releases this month.
Making life a living hell for Nathan Prescott and Victoria Chase is a fine proposition, and I’d gladly do it again and again, but I think the original games can already fill your need to do so over Life is Strange Remastered.
*Life is Strange Remastered was reviewed on a PS5 with a review code provided by the publishers.