Developed By: DONTNOD Entertainment
Published By: Square Enix
Reviewed On: PS4PRO
Time is the Enemy
Sometimes it just hits you and you can’t help but feel just a tiny bit sad that you never realized how much time has passed. One of those moments happened to me when I was looking up when Episode 5 for Life is Strange released. Give or take a month and It’s been almost 3 whole years since I last saw Max and Chloe together. I remember just really knowing nothing of the first game with it only getting my attention when the third episode released. I was reading online about games that should get more attention and there it was, again and again, Life Is Strange was getting pushed left and right. Luckily there was a sale and I decided to try out the first episode. At the end of that first episode, I hopped back on PSN and bought the whole season. Life is Strange will be one of those games that don’t feel like it has a lot going for it. It’s not the best looking game nor is there an original gameplay idea that blows your mind. It’s a game that slowly wraps its hands around you, making you care about its characters and what fates await them and by the end of it you just realize that you are in one of the best hugs of your life you never knew you needed, so you just rest and hug back.
Earlier this year The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit was released as a demo on PSN (though it is not available on the R3 store for some reason) and it was a brand new story about a boy and his imagination. It could be as short as 45 minutes but could stretch to as long as 2 hours if the player decides to really do everything. I found it to be one of the best demos I have ever played. It was just the perfect sized story. Not to mention the track “Death with Dignity” by Sufjan Stevens was brilliantly inserted and sticks with you long after the demo ends.
Family is Family
Life is Strange 2 is a brand new story set in the same universe. It stars Sean Diaz who is just a regular 17-year-old kid and his brother Daniel Diaz aged 9. Through a seemingly small and innocent act, their lives are thrown upside down by the ensuing rapid escalation of events. On the run and alone it is left to Sean to figure out how to keep his brother safe, teach him about life and figure out how they are supposed to live the rest of their lives.
I thought that capturing the essence and magic of the first game would be difficult for the developers but I daresay they have somewhat done it again. Although brand new characters, it doesn’t take long for the player to care about what happens to them. Even early on, just walking around the house reading and interacting with everything made me really invest in the Diaz family and in his relationship with Lyla his best friend. Although I do feel the sequence of events that led to them being on the run comes too early and way too sudden, I do think it was for the best to allow the player to be more invested in the brothers themselves.
What I Liked
- Graphics – It is a remarkable improvement over the first game. The lighting in particular is just gorgeous at times
- Story – Although because it is an episodic adventure the overarching story will probably only be revealed in later episodes it is somewhat of a good start. One thing in particular that I really like was how they did not shy away from real life issues such as ICE, racism and deportation. Time will tell if it’s merely a controversial inclusion or will serve a greater purpose
- New Characters – The brothers themselves are instantly likeable. The accompanying side characters such as Lyla & Brody are also memorable due to the amount of depth injected into their characters.
- Evolution of the Choice & Consequence System – It was quite good to see that the choices you choose to take will alter the path of the main character Sean but also have a knock-on effect for the choices and consequences that Daniel the younger brother will take.
What I Wished Was Better
- Music – The music was not bad but I guess after the excellent musical choices in the first game and Captain Spirit I was just expecting more. But hearing Bloc Party made me jump for joy.
- Bigger / Better Interactive Icons – This is also just a minor thing but compared to the first game it can get difficult to spot things (collectables). At times I had to constantly walk around for things to get highlighted and even missed the first collectable because I was supposed to look upwards for it to pop out.
- Pacing – I understand that the first half was pushed more towards just the two brothers together, but I felt like everything else that came afterwards felt rushed and then it ends.