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Maxing out on emotion.

Byline: Cheryl Mullin Games reviewer LIFE IS STRANGE (XBOX ONE, PS4, PC)

THE January gaming drought is about to become the February drought, but there have been a few drops of nectar to give us the energy to get through.

LIFE IS STRANGE A STATEMENT I think we can all agree with, but it's also the title of the game occupying most of my time this week.

This was actually released last year - drip-fed episode by episode to PC gamers a la The Walking Dead and Tales From The Borderlands.

But this is the first time Life Is Strange has been available in all its glory to console players - an undiscovered gem I can't believe passed under my radar.

You play as Max Caulfield, a student who has just moved back to her home town. Max can rewind time, an ability she discovers after she bears witness to a truly awful event. Her main focus is to help her friend Chloe, whose life has come off the rails - and try and uncover the fate of Chloe's friend Rachel.

The story takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions, as uplifting as it is harrowing. The gorgeous artwork, combined with a beautiful soundtrack and wonderful script, means you really feel connected with the characters - so you often feel torn when it comes to making a decision which will impact on them. Every single choice you make has a butterfly effect on the story as it unfolds - and it unfolds slowly and deliberately.

I'm usually a fan of fast-paced games that swerve unendingly from one challenge to the next. But there are points in this game where you just have to pause, and take stock.

In fact, there are points when players are actively encouraged to rest and take in their surroundings - triggering peaceful music and a panorama of the sublime environment.

Life Is Strange is beautiful, it's compelling and its essence will linger with you long after you've completed Max's journey. BARGAIN BUY: PS22.95 from zavvi.com

CAPTION(S):

| Max Caulfield's quest to help her friends is as as uplifting as it is harrowing

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Feb 1, 2016
Words:353
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