“It’ll be fine, Daniel. There’s nothing we can’t do… as long as we’re together.”
Title: Life is Strange 2
Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One (Played on PS4)
Developer: DONTNOD Entertainment
Publisher: Square Enix
Genre(s): Action Adventure, General
At the time of this review only episodes 1 & 2 are available.
It has been years since the adventures of both Max and Chloe in the first game of the Life is Strange franchise. I remember playing through that game and absolutely loved the characters and its story so I was excited to hear details of a sequel featuring a new setting and a new cast of characters. But honestly, the game fell off my radar when the release date was announced. While I was willing to pay the fee of entry (Even if it’s more expensive than its prequel), the game came out when I wasn’t interested in playing any video game. Eventually, I picked up the first episode and the season pass during a holiday sale and jumped in.
For those who do not know, Life is Strange is a point and click adventure title played in third person. Players must interact with their environments, get items and talk with NPCs (non-playable characters) with a dialogue tree throughout conversations. The game stresses that your choices and actions affect the storyline so it would be wise to consider that while playing.
WARNING: THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD.
Life is Strange 2 stars 16-year-old Sean Diaz and his nine-year-old younger brother Daniel Diaz. The two are forced to flee from their home in Seattle Washington after an event involving the death of both their father and a police officer. Because of their reluctance to speak to any authority figure, the two are labelled as fugitives and blamed for the death of the police officer.
Sean convinces his brother that to survive, they must travel to their father’s hometown of Puerto Lobos in Mexico. But it’s not all smooth sailing. They must camp out in the woods, harvest food, avoid law enforcement and above all, survive.
At one point in the first episode, Daniel awakens to a new and powerful telekinesis ability he quickly learns to abuse. It’s the player’s choice that affects how Daniel will behave with this new gift and that’s something I will applaud the game for.
Out of the two episodes released so far, I felt the first was the strongest. It had a clear direction, intriguing conversations, and a fine introduction to our conflict and characters. What I especially liked was the racial profiling the game seemed to be going for. The police shot the Diaz’s father because he assumed the man was dangerous. Sean is kidnapped by a store owner because the owner assumed that the children are the cop killers. And while the writing can be sloppy in areas, I appreciate them for giving me a story centered on these issues.
Unfortunately, that’s where my praise stops. Episode two was dull and aimless. It felt like this season screeched to a halt and unsure where to go next. During my 3 hour playthrough, I was hoping for something interesting to happen and while there are bits and pieces there; they were never enough to hold my attention. I had high hopes after the first episode and the second did not deliver.
Maybe I’m jumping the gun here and things will pick back up in episode three. Whenever that is available. I’m not completely off board with this sequel, but I hope the developers and writers can deliver something on the quality of the first episode again.