When a studio wants to revise an older title from its repertoire, the absolute minimum expectation is that the new version looks and feels good. probably play better than the original, take full advantage of modern hardware, and, where appropriate, integrate new features to match the modern gaming feel. Having said that, the results are often quite volatile; on the one hand, you have amazing works of art like Metal Gear Solid HD Collectionthis is supposed to improve the original games in every conceivable way, but on the other hand there are examples like HD Silent Hill Collection that’s definitely a reminder of why some games should just be left alone.
Life is Strange: Arcadia Bay Collection sit somewhere in the middle. It showcases two powerful entries from the growing franchise – Life is strange and Life is Strange: Before the Storm – in its entirety, but the Switch release doesn’t further highlight the shortcomings of both games, mainly in terms of presentation and visuals. It’s a really hard collection to recommend if you’ve experienced Don’t Nod’s creative process. If you’re completely new to the franchise, this is a decent way to experience the two games in a solid narrative direction.
For the uninitiated, Life is Strange stars Maxine “Max” Caulfield, a seemingly normal 18-year-old who returns to Arcadia Bay after a period of separation. At the start of the game, Max experiences a vision during class, she later discovers that time itself can be manipulated at will, allowing her to modify certain decisions and events that don’t work out. exactly as planned. Max tests his new-found powers by saving an old childhood friend, Chloe Price, from some kind of death, starting a story of friendship unafraid to solve dark problems.
On the other hand, Life is Strange: Before the Storm takes place before The events of the first game and starring 16-year-old Chloe Price focus on her relationship with classmate Rachel Amber. At three episodes (plus the extra DLC episode ‘Farewell’) compared to the five slightly bloated episodes in the first game, Before the Storm is definitely a more streamlined experience, cutting out some of the workarounds. More monotonous puzzles in favor of conversation and dialogue choices. Instead of rewinding time, you now have the ability to ‘go back in time’, which may not be as immediately appealing as manipulating time, but it’s a fun way to play with other dialogue choices are available to you and the concept is said to match Chloe’s volatile properties quite well.
The stories of both games have their highs and lows, but we’d say Before the Storm just about next to the first only because of the shorter length and the resulting focus. The first game includes many instances where you’ll need to find specific items or solve puzzles, and these really do nothing but bring the whole crawl rate slow. Before the Storm also has these parts, but thankfully they are less and more distant than in comparison.
In terms of presentation, going back to the first two Life is Strange games after playing through Life is Strange: True Colors may cause glare. While there are certainly aspects of the presentation that have been updated and improved, the Arcadia Bay Collection simply doesn’t look like a high-end 2022 release for the Switch. Textures often look muddy, content appears and doesn’t exist, and load times are comical Long; you are watching an average of 30 seconds each time you move from one scene or location to the next. 30 seconds on its own may sound annoying, but the frequency with which it happens makes the experience extremely uncomfortable.
Looking at the character models – Max and Chloe in particular – they have been changed enough that they still look like the original characters, but there’s a bit of a difference. Turn off about them, it’s almost like when you see an actor and their stunt double standing side by side. They look strikingly similar, but at the same time, no same. It’s a strange sight to behold, but one that we imagine most people won’t notice unless you compare the two side by side.
Similarly, facial syncing and motion capture for the first game was another aspect of the remake that Square Enix focused a lot on during its release, and although it certainly has been improved upon. improved to a certain extent, but it’s still nothing. close to the quality shown in Life is Strange: True Colors. There’s a ‘strange valley’ feel to the whole thing, where the animation mostly follows the dialogue pretty well, but there will be occasional instances where it just falls out, dragging you. out of the moment.
Having said all that, the actual moment-to-moment gameplay is fine for the most part. The frame rate isn’t perfect, but it runs fairly consistently throughout the game. The sound is just as powerful as before, with great musical choices and dialogue that, despite needing some TLC in terms of actual scripting, still works well; you really feel like you’re getting to know the main characters on a pretty deep level thanks to both their inner monologues and dialogue exchanges.
In the end, even though Life is Strange: Arcadia Bay Collection is billed as a full remake of two pretty powerful games, it doesn’t feel the same. It makes us wonder why the developer of the Deck Nine remaster was given this task when they could easily port games over in a simpler way and put more resources into creating something. completely new. With remastered games launching on other platforms earlier this year, the time it took for them to finally make it to the Switch feels a bit wasted. If you haven’t played these games before, the Switch version is a valid option if you can meet load times and picture quality, but we were disappointed.
Life is Strange: Arcadia Bay Collection is a strange release in that it doesn’t really feel like the games have been remade at all. Some aspects of the presentation have been improved, such as lip sync and overall tone, but at the same time you have some pretty unforgivable presentation drawbacks like textures and pops of content. up, muddy environment images and unreasonably long loading times. Considering how long it took for this collection to arrive on Switch, we really expected better. However, these games are well worth experiencing for the narrative alone, so if you’ve never played and you have no other way to access them, this still comes with a slight recommendation.