Name: Life is Strange 2 – Rules
Developer: Dontnod Entertainment
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Reviewed on: PC/PS4
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided by a publisher for review purpose
Finally, the time has come, episode 2, Rules, of Life is Strange 2 has been released, and after some issues with the PS4-version, I am finally able to write about the new adventures of the Diaz’ brothers.
“Winter is coming”, that’s a pretty well known saying on the internet – and now, winter has come, for Sean and Daniel Diaz. It’s 1st of December 2016, and we start out by joining Daniel and Sean practicing Daniel’s telekinetic powers. The brothers have been lucky enough to find a cabin on their walk to Mexico and have been hauled up for quite some time. Now the time has come to move on, and visit Grandma and Grandpa.
Unfortunately, it does take quite some time for the episode to begin properly, and once I actually got properly into it, the episode felt mostly like a filler. Grandma and Grandpa felt shallow, and I’m not sure how to feel about them – part of me thinks they are mostly creepy and doesn’t want Sean and Daniel around, but I honestly don’t know that, because I never felt like I got to know them, as I did with Esteban and the boys in the first episode.
A plus point for the episode is the part that features Captain Spirit (from the demo game The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit). Both he and his father Charles feels well-made, and are characters I want to care about. And then there’s Cassidy – the purple-haired girl we meet during the episode – she’s definitely a keeper, and I assume she’s gonna return in episode 3.
(The rest of the sections is taken from the review of episode 1 – Roads)
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!
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.
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.
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.
Replay Value 9
All in all, the 2nd episode feels too much like a filler for my liking. The Grandparents are shallow and I don’t feel like I got to know them at all, and the episode is too slow-paced, right up until the ending. Misunderstand me correctly, it’s not a bad episode, it’s just nothing special. I really enjoyed meeting Chris (Captain Spirit) again, with his child-like optimism and non-racist thoughts about Sean and Daniel. I also loved Cassidy, and think she can be a great addition to the team in future episodes. Here’s to hoping for more greener pastures when we close in on Mexico!
- Looks good
- Seemingly more consequences
- Good replay value
- The episode is a bit slow
- I sort of miss some super-natural powers to play with myself