Life is Strange: Episode 2 Review – Emotional Punches (PS4)
A couple months ago, we played Life is Strange: Episode 1 and fell in love with the quirky characters, beautiful music, and emotional storylines. We hoped that Episode 2 (titled Out of Time) would be able to embody the spirit of the first episode and keep the game fresh, exciting, and wonderful. After playing through Episode 2, I am happy to say that although it isn’t quite as magical as Episode 1, it keeps most of what made the interactive drama so great.
It’s Getting Crazy in Here
Episode 2 begins a mere day after the crazy events from the first episode took place, although a lot has changed. Max, still amazed by her powers to travel back in time, has almost obsessively been looking up theories on why she might have received the power in the first place. A scandal, which was only briefly hinted at in the first episode, has now exploded into a major event at Blackwell Academy. And, on top of all that, Chloe now plays a huge role in Max’s life, and is fully aware of her powers and has begun trying to push them to their limits.
Coming from the somewhat relaxed feel of the first episode, Episode 2 can be a little off-putting. While it still features the same chill indie artwork and slow indie music, the events that unfold in this episode are much more intense than those that occur in Episode 1. Many of the choices we made in Episode 1 have come back to haunt us in pretty major ways, and many of the choices we have to make in Episode 2 have bigger, more immediate consequences. Almost every one of our decisions are brought up, and almost every one of them have consequences. It is nice to know that Life is Strange actually takes out choices seriously, and it left me kicking myself for some of the apparently terrible choices I made in Episode 1. But while it’s great that the game appreciates our decisions, at times it does so in unrealistic ways.
That’s One Way to Handle That
Without giving out any plot information, it seems like no one in Episode 2 knows how to handle huge pieces of news. Their reactions to things like violence or even death are incredibly bland, almost to the point of being completely unbelievable. This is easily Episode 2’s biggest flaw, especially considering a large part of what made the first episode so great was its ability to present realistic and relatable characters. While only a few characters react in such ways, their reactions are so shocking that it takes away from all of the other characters that really do seem like normal, everyday people.
Despite this seeming disconnect, Episode 2 is incredibly emotional. Even though some of the characters may not react to horrifying events in rational ways, I still did, and gave the game’s various interlocking plots some powerful punches. Like I said, I don’t want to give anything away, considering Life is Strange is entirely plot-oriented, but I will say that at the end of the episode, a little message goes by directing people to help hotlines in case the events in game got too personal or too overwhelming. And while I didn’t need the hotline, I entirely agreed that that message was needed at the end of Episode 2. Keep that in mind before playing the game.
Just as I felt after playing Life is Strange: Episode 1, I left the second episode wanting to dive right into the next chapter. Despite some completely out of place and unrealistic reactions to things, many of the characters still had that indie movie charm and relatability about them. The core gameplay, filled with tough choices, Max’s snarky comments, and artsy music and visuals stays the same, which sits just perfectly with me. While Episode 2 doesn’t feature that same magical feeling that the first episode exuded, it’s still a must-buy.
The review code purchased by the reviewer. For information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here.