The first episode of Life Is Strange was originally released all the way back in 2015, when it was en vogue to make your player base wait an eternity for each episodic chunk of the game to be released. But Life Is Strange is one of Dontnod’s seminal games. It served as an outline for the type of experience the Francophone company wanted to bring to the table moving forward, and each iteration and new IP since has had a unique angle or strong message.
Now with the upcoming remaster, which gives the series a sparkly new lick of paint, we have a chance to experience the whole thing all over again — and it looks mighty fine.
Square Enix has today released new screenshots from the remaster, showing you the difference between the original and the upcoming remastered version of the game, which hits shelves on February 1, 2022.
This early bathroom scene from Life Is Strange has Max entering the toilets, which might seem innocuous to the uninitiated, but fans will know the significance of this room.
The first thing to notice here is the lighting upgrade, which is visible on the toilet doors. The original shows these as dark and flat, but they’re reflective and lit by the mirror lights in the remaster. The same can be said for the floor tiles, which exhibit a more refined 3D look in the remaster.
Look, we know this is just a picture of a bucket, but that remastered bucket looks mighty fine. The enhanced lighting is at play here too, visible in the subtle reflection of the remastered bucket. But we can also see differences in the models themselves. The butterfly’s colours are slightly richer and better defined, and the bucket in the remastered version has a new rust effect added.
Max’s smashed camera is another example of the remaster upgrade. The camera itself is a whole lot sharper and more defined, while there is now the addition of more explicit shattered glass surrounding the camera body. The whole scene now has more depth, and again, shows off the new lighting system by reflecting the sun’s rays. And look at that shoe! From knock-off to Converse.
Now we’re onto the good stuff. It might not appear obvious at first glance, but Chloe Price has more facial detail in Life Is Strange Remastered, like the freckles for example. Note that she also appears to be wearing a beanie hat now and not a rubber shower cap. Her hair also looks like hair now, compared to the blue H.P. Lovecraft-esque tentacles of the original.
Max Caulfield also gets a similar treatment. Her facial features have more detail and are more defined, and there is a definite upgrade in her hair model. She also appears to have proper eyelashes now. This close-up makes it more obvious how the lighting interacts with the new models. The original’s Max Caulfield, while artistic, suffers from flat colours and shading. Remastered Max Caulfield looks suitably dark and moody, fitting with the game’s themes.
In a more emotional scene, Max shows off a lot more of these added details we’ll see in the Life Is Strange Remastered Collection. For example, her tears are actually visible now — something that wasn’t overt in the original — and they even reflect the light. On top of that, it turns out Max has zips on her hooded jacket. Who knew someone being upset would look so good?
Nathan Prescott may be one of the most hated characters in Life Is Strange fandom (He’s misunderstood, we get it), but in these screenshots at least he looks great while he’s being villainous. His jacket has subtle texturing in the remastered version, which is in stark contrast to the original’s nylon-like sheen. His gun also has more reflections now, his face has nuanced shadows cast across it, and, like Max and Chloe, his hair looks like well-defined hair now. He did open his eyes in the original, we promise; that’s just the screenshot.
Dontnod’s classic is sure to ruffle some feathers in its remastered form. There will be purists who no doubt think that being able to see every pixel or enhanced lighting will change the original artistic intentions of Life Is Strange — and they might be right. But Life Is Strange Remastered does look good, doesn’t it?