LIFE IS STRANGE / AGENTS OF MAYHEM [E3 2017]: Square Enix, Deep Silver!
Released back in 2015, Life is Strange was an incredible success. An episodic adventure that gripped players through relatable characters and believable storytelling. During this past E3, I was able to view a behind-closed-doors demo of the upcoming prequel, Life is Strange: Before the Storm. Life sucks when you’re a teenager; there’s no denying that. “Before the Storm” brings players back to that horrible point in time, and asks you to experience it through Chloe Price’s perspective. Traveling back three years, we’re able to see where this rebellious, stubborn, blue-haired girl got her spunk. There’s no denying that LiS’s strong points reside within its writing.
In “BtS”, the 16 year-old is finally coming to terms with not only the loss of her father, but the loss of her friends as well. The demo began in an abandoned lumber mill which now housed illegal rock concerts. It’s here that Chloe meets Rachel Amber, the “most popular girl in school”. Of course it wouldn’t be Life is Strange if Chloe wasn’t faced with some sort of ethical dilemma. Players have the option to steal a band shirt, buy weed, and attack some creep. Of course our group decided to release the brake on the car to steal the band shirt, steal money to buy some weed, and.. punch some creep. Each choice you make throughout the game could have lasting effects, so it’s wise to make your choices carefully.
In a later scene, players are introduced to yet another new location: The Overlook. Chloe and Rachel meet up, peeking through a set of binoculars. As they people watch, and poke fun at strangers, we witness their bond forming. It’s through this scene that players receive a glimpse at the personalities of both characters. While “Before the Storm” may lack its original developer, Dontnod, it still charms the hell out of you from the beginning. A story rich with teenage drama, and emotionally gut-wrenching instances, this Life is Strange prequel is far from a let down. 4/5 Bibles. 3.75/5 Bibles.
At E3 2017, Agents of Mayhem won my “Dark Horse of the Show” award for its outstanding comic book style, Saints Row level antics (AoM is created by, Volition, the same folks over at SR), and seemless combat. After playing the Crackdown 3 demo this week, Agents of Mayhem appears to be the far more enjoyable alternative. That’s high praise, considering that C3 is one of the most anticipated launch titles for the Xbox One X console. The chief difference? Not only does AoM let you switch characters in the middle of combat, there just feels like there’s a whole lot more to do in this alt-reality Saints Row-shared universe (see: Gat Out Of Hell; hell, Johnny is now a special pre-order addition).
Now that I’ve got to play a second go-around, AoM‘s graphic novel art style is prettier than the Xbox exclusive, NPC’s have more life to them, and vehicles feel like they have more purpose. Crackdown 3 has a few ridiculous guns; Agents of Mayhem has nothing but ridiculous guns. One weapon can turn everyone into rabbits, damn it! The 1-hour demo allowed us enough time to try out more characters (there’s now 14 total), and comic geeks will be especially psyched to see some of the available Agent skins. My fav new character was Oni, an ex-Yakuza thug you can also prop in the purple and green dress of everyone’s favorite maniacal laughing psychopath. Oh, and a new underboss, August Gaunt, makes for a nice VR-happy Bieberesque follow-up to the Tokyo-pop nutjob that was seen last. 3.5/5 Bibles.