One of the best and worst episode tends to be the first. Unlike later episodes, it’s tasked with setting up the stories foundation, while also trying to get people interested. This results in confusing, sloppy, dialogue heavy episode(s) that people might not like but need to see to understand where the story is going. This is also a core issue with reviewing episodic games. Life is Strange 2 is going somewhere, but before we can worry about the destination, the location needs to be fleshed out. This is the task of the first chapter, which moves away from exposition and quickly moves to a place of uncertainty. Given the success of the previous titles, will Life is Strange 2 match expectations or did the change result in them losing their magic?
Life is Strange 2 takes place after the events of the first game and gives players a choice of which route to take. Returning fans can select which ending they prefer from the first game and see how this game plays out, where as newcomers can do the same or simply opt out and have the choice made for you.
The story starts by showing a police officer arrive on the scene and then something happens that results in them being blown back and the car toppling over. Before this is explained, we’re introduced to Sean and Lyla, two fairly typical teens with a fairly close relationship. From here it’s clear that Life is Strange 2 might be different but it is not that different.
With the dialogue not being afraid to shy away from more common teenage subject matter, current or at least recent colloquialisms and a sense of realism make it easy to see happen. While they agree to go to a party, Sean is tasked with getting supplies, which is when we’re introduced to his family.
His father, Esteban Diaz, comes off as the same larger than life figure William Price is portrayed as. It makes it easy to see him as a loving parent who, might be a little unusual, but has their best interest at heart. As for his brother, Daniel, he is more your typical little brother. Even though he looks up to his brother, they don’t get along terribly well.
This story eventually leads to the event the game started with but before anything is explained, the two brothers flee the scene. At this point the story actually starts, with the focus seemingly being Sean stepping up and being taking care of his brother.
It doesn’t take long for him to accept his new role, with him withholding information like marks indicating a bear was recently there or what happened prior to them fleeing, allowing the two to grow closer. Sean comes to realize he wasn’t the best brother and Daniel gets to be with the brother he holds so dear.
Even though this is the start of their story, it will be interesting to find out what happened at the start of the game, along with seeing where their road takes them. Sean can only keep this up for so long, so it will be likely something that is address down the road, along with so much more.
Outside of story, Life is Strange 2 retains the point and click story segments. Players are given a couple choices, like you can take beer or cola or cookies versus chips, with a variety of items giving players insight into their world. Some of these are relatable, such as Daniel getting away with something, with others highlight who the characters are. So far the most interesting is showing Esteban is not over his wife leaving him, something that will also likely play a role sometime in the future.
These sections also take some elements from the first game and give their own unique twist. Where Chloe Price would argue her way out of situations, Sean is given simple choices. You can defend your brother or side against him, with the scene playing out from there. Drawings also return, though where Chloe used them as a way to rebel, Sean practices drawing his room or making a portrait of Lyla. Best of all, the two characters have seemingly different art styles, giving the games something similar, without making Sean into a male chloe.
Life is Strange 2 is a fantastic start to a new journey. While you can see elements of the original, Sean’s journey is different to the point where he isn’t another Chloe. Even though Roads establishes an unsustainable story, it will be interesting to see where Sean’s journey ends. Whether it’s something happy, sad or just simply discovering the importance of family and becoming the hero his brother needs, the journey should be quite interesting. Sure, right now we have more questions than answers and maybe some things won’t be explained but based off this episode it looks to be going in the right direction.
[Editor’s Note: Life is Strange 2 was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]