Life is Strange 2 – Wastelands – Review

Name: Life is Strange 2 – Wastelands
Developer: Dontnod Entertainment
Publisher: Square Enix
Released: 09.05.2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Reviewed on: PC/PS4
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided by a publisher for review purpose

SEX, BOOBS, and WEED!

Now that I have your attention, let’s begin; Episode 3, Wastelands have been out and about for almost three weeks, and somehow I wasn’t able to play it until now. That being said, I have definitely missed the Diaz’ brothers. And of course, Cassidy, the cute girl from the last episode! Was it worth the wait though? Well, only one way to find out!

Story

Wastelands is set about two months after the happenings in Rules. And Sean and Daniel have now joined Cassidy, Finn and their gang of dysfunctional people in their camp in Humbolt County, CA. And pretty much immediately the episode shows that this is not for the faint of heart. A couple of boobs, some weed and some missing teens (Hello Rachel Amber!) later and suddenly the game has taken a turn from being “just” a walking simulator with a couple of interactions along the way, to a full-fledged story about family, love, politics and growing up in a not so friendly USA.

Well, enough with the spoilers, who likes them right? All I can say is that all of a sudden, the magic touch of Dontnod is back in the game, with a story that, although starting a bit slow, cranks the volume to 11, and doesn’t look back, or allow players a break. And you thought your actions didn’t have consequences in the previous episodes? Think again, now Daniel starts making his own decisions, there’s possible sex to be had (and who doesn’t like that?) or even a cute kiss from the guy of your dreams (?). I can’t wait for the fourth episode, and I am very certain you’ll feel the same way once you’ve played Wastelands too!
9/10

(The rest of the sections is taken from the review of episode 1 – Roads)

Graphics

I really like the style that Dontnod keeps with the Life is Strange series. It’s not realistic, but it has charm and almost a cozy feel to it. It sort of feels like a good memory, if that makes sense? Life is Strange 2 builds on that experience, now running more smoothly than its predecessors. The facial animations too are better than before, and the textures too have gotten an upgrade. In addition, there’s the whole world building – the world around Sean and Daniel feels real and is believable, even though there are some supernatural powers at play. Most of all though is the amazing character design, it literally took me two scenes to fall in love with the Diaz’ brothers, and I immediately felt strongly about each and every character they met. Kudos Dontnod, kudos!
8/10

Gameplay

Already here I have a huge dilemma. The gameplay in Life is Strange 2 is technically very sound, it works like a charm and now you have more than two choices each time. What I don’t like though is the lack of time travel. Sure, Max (the main protagonist from Life is Strange) should be the only one to have those powers, as it’s a rare occurrence. However, I feel like, without a mechanic like this, Life is Strange 2 becomes just another “choose your adventure”-game. Whereas the first game let you choose something, see its short-term consequences and then rewind to check the other options, Life is Strange 2 only allows you one try. And often times I found myself disappointed with what Sean actually said when I chose something.

Fortunately, the rest of the gameplay is really awesome. Your actions truly seem to have consequences, and each choice has to be thought through properly. Sure, it might seem like a good idea to steal a tent now, but later on, that might come and bite your behind. All in all, I am pleased so far and hope the developers might add in some cool feature once the story progress.
8/10

Controls

One thing’s for sure, story-heavy games don’t need the most advanced controls. Fortunately, this is something Life is Strange 2 has learned. You don’t need the most buttons to get things done, and the little controlling there is feel precise and to the point. Sure, there are some things what could be better, for example, I occasionally got stuck navigating the world, but it happened so rarely that I never really got annoyed by it.
9/10

Replay Value

Now, it is a bit difficult to say how good the replay value is after just one episode. The long-term consequences of my actions are yet to be seen, but on a short-term basis, I constantly felt like replaying the episode to see how Daniel would react differently. Obviously the game has a story to tell, so some things are bound to happen regardless of your choices, but all in all, I must say this feels like a more solid game than for example Telltale’s The Walking Dead, at least when it comes to replay value.
9/10

You can check out our review policy right here, if you wonder how we set our scores.

Overall
8.6/10
8.6/10
  • Story - 9/10
    9/10
  • Graphics - 8/10
    8/10
  • Gameplay - 8/10
    8/10
  • Controls - 9/10
    9/10
  • Replay Value - 9/10
    9/10
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User Review
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Verdict

Generally speaking, the third episode is the strongest so far in the season. Sean and Daniel are now hanging out with our friends from episode two, Finn and Cassidy. And the consequences from the previous choices are coming in to play. The episode shows how Dontnod are among the best in making believable (although with supernatural powers) stories, and the characters feel almost life-like. You haven’t played Life is Strange 2 yet you say? Well, time to go to Steam, open your wallet and get playing!

Pros

  • Looks amazing
  • More consequences
  • Great replay value

Cons

  • Somewhat slow start
  • I sort of miss some supernatural powers to play with

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