Life is Strange 2: Episode 1 Game Review – Another Brilliant Beginning

Jordan Samuel Jordan Samuel
Expert Contributor
September 26th, 2018

Content Editor, Film Critic and Writer for ComiConverse.com, the Founder and co-host of the official Nerdcast Network Podcast


Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On September 26, 2018
Last modified:September 26, 2018

Summary:

Life is Strange 2 - Episode 1 feels like a more mature and well thought-out successor to the original. Excelling in slower paced storytelling, open level design which boosts immersion.


Reviewed by:
Rating:

3
On September 26, 2018
Last modified:September 26, 2018

Summary:

Life is Strange 2 - Episode 1 feels like a more mature and well thought-out successor to the original. Excelling in slower paced storytelling, open level design which boosts immersion.

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Life is Strange 2: Episode 1 Game Review - Another Brilliant Term

Square Enix

After an apparent supernatural incident leaves a cop dead, brothers Sean, 16, and Daniel Diaz, 9, go on the run and travel from Seattle to their home in Puerto Lobos, Mexico.

Life is Strange blew us away in 2016, with it’s approach to traditional high school problems and supernatural time shifting powers. Taking cues from hits Rob Thomas’ shows like Veronica Mars and 90210, it struck the right nerve with a coming-of-age drama. Merging a dialogue-heavy episodic title, with time jumping puzzle inspired gameplay that made players think logically.

But since Max Caulfield and Chloe Price’s wild adventure ended, the fanbase has grown and wanted more. So what is next for the franchise? Life is Strange two was announced out of the blue earlier in 2018. Focused on two brothers on their journey into Mexico - the game is all about player choice and growth with each character. These small changes make for a more dynamic game, as both Daniel and Sean learn from every single situation in different ways.

 Life is Strange: Episode 1 - Roads is the first episode of our new season and shows that Dontnod has the goods for another solid game. From the beginning, their signature hipster vibe can be felt, with intense indie music blaring out in the wind. Each one of the teenagers is rebellious, which reigns home that coming of age storytelling which made the first season so engaging.

This time around, players control Sean Diaz a confident young man searching to find himself in the world alongside being a big brother. His introduction is enduring and makes you care about him - something which took forever to be established in season one. Sean reveals himself as a strong, emotional and conflicted character trying to fit in the world. The story tests these qualities by presenting an everyday teenager with challenging dilemmas -- the results of which she can alter at will.

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Each one of his choices is hard locked this time, moving away from the time-bending stuff seen before - which makes design making all the more stressful. Throughout the first episode, situations come up where last-minute designs make all the difference. Mainly because as the big brother to Daniel Diaz, each moment teaches him something new. Daniel Diaz is your innocent, inexperienced little brother who tags along during the road trip and learns along the way. Having a buddy with you for the whole journey, makes everything feel alive and awoke that sense of adventure.

Gameplay

I loved each moment with this character as it reminds me of childhood road trips with my siblings in the British countryside. Dontnod does a good job making the brothers feel like real people, with different traits and personalities. It’s been forever since a game made me care about characters, but these brothers are on another level. The game is structured like a road movie, inspired by the film Into the Wild and novella Of Mice and Men. Treating the player to various wild moments, while truly being a game about development and forming bonds. It excels in that sense of being lost in the adult world. Dontnod delivers the promise of engaging players in rich story elements.

In gameplay terms, nothing is separating this sequel from the original. You control Sean in the third person, with objects and interest and other characters offering context-sensitive button prompts when you draw near. Progressing in the story usually involves the player finding specific objectives, solving small puzzles and talking up a storm with each non-playable character in town. Each choice in the game provides a warning, about future repercussions which fuels players to get the perfect possible outcome.  There is even a statistics screen at the end of the episode showing you how other players tackled the critical choices.

The Verdict

In many ways, Life is Strange 2 - Episode 1 feels like a more mature and well thought-out successor to the original. Excelling in slower paced storytelling, open level design which boosts immersion. Everything feels improved from the smoother frame rate, lighting all working together.

There are problems however which stem from the lack of deep gameplay system, including clever puzzles seen in the prior games. Sean Diaz lack of powers doesn’t make up for these changes; I wanted to see more of those smart elements return. I’m hoping future episodes will allow for more variety in that regard because it would be able to use both brothers abilities.

Dontnod has another hit on their hands. It doesn’t suffer from awful voice acting and writing seen in so many games in the genre. Instead of paints its charm with compelling characters, which makes us care about where the story goes next. Something which should be commended.

Life is Strange 2: Episode 1

Story continues below

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Life is Strange 2 - Episode 1 feels like a more mature and well thought-out successor to the original. Excelling in slower paced storytelling, open level design which boosts immersion.

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