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Review: Linux gave me one of my best gaming experiences yet with Life is Strange

By Liam Murphy (Ashtasu) - | Views: 29,944
A few times in your life, you have a life changing experience. Maybe it’s getting married, having your first child, or finishing your college degree.

Well, I just had a life changing experience. And it was because of a video game. Not just a video game, but a video game that I played on Linux.

As I am sure many of you are aware, Linux gets the unfortunate notoriety of being a poor operating system for games (this seems to be changing in the public's eyes). Sure, we do have less games than other platforms, but that certainly doesn’t mean the games themselves are of poor quality.

I was reminded of this when I completed the recently ported game to Linux, ‘Life is Strange’ [Official Site, Steam]. Developed by Dontnod Entertainment, and ported to Linux by the awesome folks at Feral interactive. With the combined work on developing the game itself from Dontnod, and the wonderful port by Feral, I have just had one of my best gaming experiences ever. And it was all done on Linux.

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Life is Strange starts with an eighteen year old girl named Max who finds out she has the power to reverse time, an ability which becomes the game's main mechanic. Does it sound incredibly simple? Well, that’s probably because it is. This is not a game driven by mechanics, it’s made excellent by its story. Many would prefer mechanics to story, which I usually do myself, but Life is Strange, in my mind, is a rare exception.

Now that I’ve gotten some of the technical details out of the way, let’s get to my possibly overly emotionally charged point. That emotional part isn’t helped by the fact that I am listening to this song from the soundtrack:

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Perhaps this game was set to affect me on another level from the very get go. My place in life is very similar to that of Max. We’re both eighteen, and in my case, about to start college. Life is Strange is a true coming of age story. I feel that way as I am about to start my next phase of life, that I am coming of age.

All I’m missing is the ability to reverse time, damn.

This game nailed me with a feeling I haven’t had with a game before: being protective of the character I was playing, as if she was a family member or a dear friend. Whenever Max gets into a dark situation (which there are many of in this game) I almost feel responsible, and I feel a sense of duty to get her out of it. If a character harmed Max, I’ll make it my life's mission to deal with them.

This story of a girl going to school and finding out she has powers strangely hits home somehow. She is an ‘ordinary’ person thrown into an extreme circumstance. It’s a similar feeling I get when watching E.T. or Stranger Things. You think “Wow, I could actually see this happening.” Who knows, perhaps I’m crazy?

But what’s a Spielberg-esque story without a good friend or two? Well, the character of Chloe adds even more to this story. I won’t say more for the sake of spoilers, but the two main characters are in for one heck of a ride, and you’re going to be on the front seat with them.

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Thanks Gamespot for the image

The art style/graphics of the game truly surprised me. It all looks like a painting. Despite this, the characters look strangely believable. It makes you feel enamored with the characters, as if you are having a real connection with them in real life. Right in front of you.

Thinking about it now, this will be the last game I complete before I go to college. It almost feels like the last game that will make me feel like a kid, before I enter the world of adulthood. A bittersweet feeling, truly.

And if it didn’t come to Linux, I probably would never have played it. And if I had, it would have been at a different time of my life, where it wouldn’t hit me so hard up the head with emotions. Because of the timing, I can’t stop thinking about this game. I think that’s when you know you played the right game, at the right time.

The game may not affect you as much as it did me, but if you would like to try it, you can download the first episode for free from Steam, paying $20 for the remaining 4 episodes.

What about you, GOL readers and Linux lovers? Have you ever played a game that changed your life? I would love to hear your own stories. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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41 comments
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edo 17 Sep, 2016
the 1st episode is boring, but Im planning to get the rest to see if it gets better
liamphmurphy 17 Sep, 2016
Quoting: edothe 1st episode is boring, but Im planning to get the rest to see if it gets better

It is a flawed game, but it does indeed get better.
tobiushirogeri 17 Sep, 2016
This game is absolutely fantastic. One of the only one it this tipe of game that really got me hooked from the start.
MaCroX95 17 Sep, 2016
Not a lifechanging feature, but my Controller started working properly when I switched to linux :D now I don't have to plug out and back in the dongle so that Winsh** can properly load drivers... and Linux seem to give me better experience in everything that it is capable of. I might even give this game a shot one day but currently I'm so busy that I cannot even finish few old ones that I'd bought but haven't finished yet!
rkfg 17 Sep, 2016
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I just loved Life is Strange, finished it a couple of days ago. It gave me a strange mix of creepy horror, action and nostalgia for something I've never had, for someone else's life. Like I really lived that life and now it's all in the past and that was a hell of a good time. It also helps playing it in autumn so the mood matches your own outdoors. My own feelings should be different from the author's ones as I'm a decade older but still the university days are kinda fresh in my memory, I can totally relate to that time. Again, my dorm was absolutely different (it was mixed, to start with) so it's once again that strange nostalgia for something I missed. Maybe I lived somewhere close to Max but it was in an alternative timespace that I rewound and got here? Who knows.

But the game that truly made an impact on my life is Mass Effect. I know, I know, the name of the game is overused today (and is often said as a swear word) and it's kinda full of cliches. Whatever. It combines them in a unique way that feels like a massive, galactic-scale adventure with lovely characters you care about and a great story you can change and see the result of your actions. Our generation basically got our own modern version of Star Wars that has more characters and story depth and feels fit for the present time. Not a space fantasy but more like proper sci-fi. That's only my opinion of course, I'm not trying to start holywars with SW fans.

Well, it has its flaws like the endings, even if you haven't played it you surely heard about that shitstorm. Disregard that. A game is awesome for its content and not because it has a good ending (it can't be spoiled for me by a badly done one either). ME3 also has wonderful multiplayer (horde-style with missions) I've sinked tens of hours in with my friends.

Now for the bad parts. It's not available on Linux natively and I doubt will ever be. It's Electronic Arts we're talking about so no. The good news is that it works great on Wine, first two parts are available on Steam and ME3 can be bought in Origin which should work fine, too. It has a lot of story DLCs and my full 1-3 parts playthrough with all DLCs took about 100 hours. I've completed all of them on Linux twice as I don't have a Windows partition for 8 years already.

But I would understand if you hate EA and don't want to support non-Linux gaming and mess with Wine. Totally OK, I won't judge you. But I'd go as far as saying this is the only game that's worth installing Wine. Pretty bold statement, eh? But I mean it. Any other game not available on Linux just can't make me interested enough for that, I'd either wait for a port or just forget it. Now it's your call, I've already taken too many bytes in GOL's forum database.
Halifax 17 Sep, 2016
Oh, you're a more sensitive man than I am. I shove my emotions as deep as they can go, so I can take care of the dirty work a woman will need me to in a relationship - taking care of the dog when it dies and telling her it was peaceful and calm so she doesn't have to know the details, etc.

The sound-track I could only take five seconds of before turning off. The only emotional response I have is the picture of the girl is hot -if she was of age, I'd like to date her and possibly get some loving from her. Then I'd have to periodically endure this emotional kind of stuff she'd inflict on me as a toll for partaking of her feminine charms.

Plus, country music. Good god, what is it with women and country music. Someone give me a shotgun so I can suck-start it the next time I hear a warbling momma's boy sing some stupid country music song my woman makes me listen to.
slaapliedje 18 Sep, 2016
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Quoting: HalifaxOh, you're a more sensitive man than I am. I shove my emotions as deep as they can go, so I can take care of the dirty work a woman will need me to in a relationship - taking care of the dog when it dies and telling her it was peaceful and calm so she doesn't have to know the details, etc.

The sound-track I could only take five seconds of before turning off. The only emotional response I have is the picture of the girl is hot -if she was of age, I'd like to date her and possibly get some loving from her. Then I'd have to periodically endure this emotional kind of stuff she'd inflict on me as a toll for partaking of her feminine charms.

Plus, country music. Good god, what is it with women and country music. Someone give me a shotgun so I can suck-start it the next time I hear a warbling momma's boy sing some stupid country music song my woman makes me listen to.

You sir are my new hero!
DrMcCoy 18 Sep, 2016
Halifax, wtf. That comment is bad and creepy and just plain wrong on so many levels.
DrMcCoy 18 Sep, 2016
On-topic: I seriously loved Life is Strange.

Sure, the stealth sections at the end were annoying. Also, I have some issues with the final choice and how it interacts with the premise. And I have some strong opinions that several story bits could have been handled better in general.

That said...I enjoyed it. A lot.

Was it life-changing for me? Well, not in the way that it a singular turning point for me or something. But it will stay with me, just like other great games I played, books I read, music I listened to, movies and TV shows I saw, etc. I treasure them all.

And yes, I did get wet eyes while watching the ending video. Though, I must say, for raw emotional impact, the end of Dreamfall: Chapters, examining the memorabilia as Lady Alvane, hit me harder. I howled like a dog there. :P

As shitty as the year 2016 is, when it comes to games, the year was great. Life is Strange, Dreamfall Chapters, Pillars of Eternity, Shadowrun: Hong Kong (and that's only the big name ones from the top of my head; there's also several great Interactive Fiction and Visual Novel games that moved me). Yes, yes, they're not really new games of 2016, but were finished in 2016 or got a GNU/Linux version, so I played them in 2016 and I count them as 2016 games. Sue me. :P
neffo 18 Sep, 2016
Quoting: HalifaxOh, you're a more sensitive man than I am. I shove my emotions as deep as they can go, so I can take care of the dirty work a woman will need me to in a relationship - taking care of the dog when it dies and telling her it was peaceful and calm so she doesn't have to know the details, etc.

The sound-track I could only take five seconds of before turning off. The only emotional response I have is the picture of the girl is hot -if she was of age, I'd like to date her and possibly get some loving from her. Then I'd have to periodically endure this emotional kind of stuff she'd inflict on me as a toll for partaking of her feminine charms.

Plus, country music. Good god, what is it with women and country music. Someone give me a shotgun so I can suck-start it the next time I hear a warbling momma's boy sing some stupid country music song my woman makes me listen to.

bro.
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