Life is Strange is a new title from Square Enix, makers of games like Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy, and Dontnod Entertainment, known for their game Remember Me.
Life is Strange is an episodic game, currently on a release schedule of an episode every two months. The first episode was released this past January, and there are currently three episodes available to play.
It's less a 'game' than an interactive cinematic experience, though that still makes it stand out from the crowd. It is touted as an "interactive drama graphic adventure".
The story follows Maxine Caulfield, a high school senior in Arcadia Bay, Oregon. She discovers that she has the ability to rewind time after witnessing her childhood friend Chloe get murdered in their school's bathroom. She rewinds the event in order to save Chloe, and together they try to make sense of Max's ability.
A few things make this game stand out. For one, it puts less emphasis on gameplay and far more on narrative and decision-making on the player's part.
You can rewind time at any instance, potentially altering the way the game proceeds and the outcome of events. Branching dialogue trees allow for an array of options in every event.
Another thing is the focus on story over gameplay. This has roused some bad feelings from a minority of gamers (try not to read those youtube comments) but garnered some praise from critics. Increasingly, certain games have been moving more towards cinematic gameplay, encouraging an emphasis on narrative over the action. It makes the playing more of a player-driven filmic experience than a game to be "won".
Lastly, I think that the choice to make the protagonists young women is a step in the right direction for gaming. Too much emphasis is placed on the male gaze in videogames, even to the point that some "strong female characters" are just women thrust into typically masculine roles.
What's different with Life is Strange is that it embraces the youth and femininity of their characters. They do not need to take on masculine traits to be strong, they are strong because of their reliance on their own innate strengths, things like compassion and empathy. It makes for a more developed narrative and a more introspective experience.
Play this game. It will one day be considered a forerunner of the graphic narrative genre.