The market is currently flooded with episodic adventure games and for good reason. They tell emotional and exciting stories with the gamer making all the choices. But what if choice is just an illusion, your decisions in a lot of recent games end in the same outcome and that can be pretty frustrating with the idea of freedom and playing your way something you think you have.
Playing Life is Strange, a game developed by Dontnod entertainment and published by Square Enix, I really feel that this time your choices do matter. The outcome can be affected and by playing through episode two and experiencing the outcome of my many choices, Dontnod definitely got it right, or they hid the illusion very well.
Life is Strange episode two follows on with Max Caulfields story. A student attending Blackwell Academy and the many struggles she faces. In episode one she discovered she had the ability to turn back time after saving a girl, who turned out to be an old friend from being shot.
Pushing herself further she could use it on demand and exceed in class with the right answers, punish Victoria who takes a lot of joy in tormenting her and avoid awkward and dangerous situations. A pretty good ability to have.
Victoria at her best, tormenting others
Episode two starts with Max lying in her room, as she leaves and enters the showers she sees Kate who is in tears. A video of her clubbing is circulating the school and she is distraught, of course Victoria is involved. If you made the decision to intervene with the confrontation between her and David in episode one she will be ok with you, if however you just took a photo and didn’t say anything she is cold with you when you try to help.
You also meet up with Chloe and discuss Rachel Amber, the missing girl. Episode two really builds on relationships with the characters you are introduced to in the first part. It’s up to you how you choose to interact with these relationships and the consequences can be pretty brutal and shocking. It’s hard not to feel emotionally pulled into the story.
Episode two has different gameplay elements than the first. A section acts as a memory game where you have to remember events that are happening in order, rewind time and choose the right ones. It’s basic at best but a good way to implement the time rewind mechanic into the story in a different way than just changing decisions you think you’ve made badly. You’ll also find yourself hunting down objects with one very well hidden one, that took me a while to find.
Episode 2 really builds on relationships
Like the first, the game warns you that your decision will have impending consequences so it’s up to you to decide how you want a situation to play out, your rewind is unlimited so you do have the option of trying out multiple branches of events to find the one that suits you best.
Overall, Life is Strange is a welcome addition to an already packed market, decisions seemingly having more of an impact on the game and making a real difference depending on what you choose. The story is interesting and the characters definitely people you can relate to and maybe even learn to care about. The only problem being the wait in between to find out what happens.