The Eagle Angle

Life is Strange 2 Review: More Than a Walk in the Park

Stephanie Scarano, Staff Writer

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“Life is Strange,” the 2015 award-winning game by DontNod Entertainment, has recently released a new installment to the series, cementing its name as an official franchise.

 

Episode one of “Life is Strange 2” leaves behind the characters previously seen in the original game to focus on a new cast. With such a stellar track-record, I was worried this new game would struggle to meet the standards the previous game had set, but “Life is Strange 2” blows the expectations out of the water and is a solid contender for game of the year, just as the original “Life is Strange” was.

 

“Life is Strange 2” follows main character Sean Diaz and his nine-year-old brother, Daniel, who are abruptly torn from their normal, suburban life when their father is shot and killed by a police officer. A supernatural gust of wind knocks the brothers and officer out, and the game picks up with Sean running away with his brother and backpack, which is all the two have to survive in the woods. The player controls Sean’s actions as he tries to keep himself and his brother safe. The two hike and camp in the woods to avoid the police, who have sent out a search warrant for them. The high stakes in this game, as well as its masterful storytelling and wonderful music, make this game excellent.

 

However, it is not without its flaws. The opening of the game is a chilling police recording of the events just before and after Sean’s father is killed. Immediately after the clip plays, a light-hearted song kicks off the gameplay. This creates a very abrupt and jarring shift in tone. The opening gameplay seems also mildly tedious, as the player collects miscellaneous items for a Halloween party, even though this task becomes important later on when the two try to survive in the woods. The dubious voice acting that pervades previous “Life is Strange” titles returns again in “Life is Strange 2.” While the voice acting for the main character and his brother is incredibly authentic and well done, some side characters come off as sounding strange, most notably Sean’s father. While it’s not robotic like it was in “Life is Strange: Before the Storm,” it does come off as a little awkward.

 

Despite it’s questionable opening moments, “Life is Strange 2” tells a beautiful story that nearly moved me to tears and had me laughing aloud many times. Sean’s relationship with his brother so perfectly captures what it’s like to have a sibling, and Daniel’s annoying yet adorable character made me want to protect him at all costs. This story handles sensitive subjects like police violence, racism and dealing with grief with careful consideration. Sometimes when these subjects are addressed in the media, they come off as overly preachy or obnoxious in how obvious the moral is, but “Life is Strange 2” is anything but. Aside from the incredibly moving story, the gameplay was fun and added a new mechanic; the player has to keep tabs on Daniel to make sure he doesn’t get in trouble. They also have the option to teach him lessons along the way. The small choices you make in the beginning affect how the self-proclaimed “wolf brothers” survive the first few nights, and the small lessons throughout are sure to come into play in future episodes.

 

Overall, I felt that despite the jarring jump cut in the beginning and the awkward opening dialogue, “Life is Strange 2, Episode 1” was an amazing game for its carefully crafted story, incredibly human characters and interesting mechanics. For these reasons I would rate “Life is Strange 2, Episode 1” an A-. The next episode of the game releases soon this year, and I, for one, am looking forward to the next adventures of the “wolf brothers.”

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About the Writer
Stephanie Scarano, Staff writer

Stephanie Scarano is a senior with a passion for gaming, obscure theatre and the X-Men. She plans on studying Hospital Administration.

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