“Once upon a time, in a wild, wild world, there were two wolf brothers living in their home lair with their papa wolf. They all lived happily together, but one day hunters took their dad away forever, so now the brothers were alone and they had to find a new home. They went started a new journey…”
“Life is Strange 2,” the sequel to the original and amazing “Life is Strange” developed by Dontnod Entertainment tells the story of a 17-year-old Mexican-American boy named Sean Diaz who is accompanied by his little brother Daniel.
While Sean is protecting Daniel from a rowdy neighbor, a policeman shows up and instantly flashes his gun nervously. Their father comes out of the house, and while attempting to calm down the officer, is shot in cold blood. Daniel then explodes with his mysterious power (that suspiciously looks like telekinesis), turning over the police car and showing a possibly-dead policeman.
“Sean, am I a monster?”
After this incident, Sean instantly carries his brother out of there, knowing that they had to run in order to stay free and out of the system.
Sean does not feature any superpowers such as Max Caulfield’s ability to reverse time, leaving the player with choices that cannot be reversed like the previous game.
This leads to higher stakes and irreversible choices, which made me really think about every single decision I made: from choosing to steal money from the “drug money” jar to my choices leading me to get kidnapped by a racist redneck.
“There’s nothing we can’t do, as long as we’re together.”
Sean does his best to comfort his little brother Daniel as they decide to begin their journey to Puerto Lobos, where their father grew up in order to hopefully find family and protection. Along the way, Sean learns to do more than simply look out or protect Daniel: he learns to become a real brother and raise him by being supportive, calm and understanding compared to how harsh and stingy he was with him in the beginning of the episode.
You will experience harsh politics and racism come into play again against Latino immigrants. A man owning the gas station, even after I chose to simply buy the food and not steal it, assumes I stole it anyways and kidnaps Sean and ties him up in a room. He mentions calling ICE to make sure they were “legal immigrants” and that he wished they would build a wall to keep people like the Diaz brothers out of America.
“Injustice is everywhere, and you’re taking the brunt of it right now,” Brody said.
This was a situation that could have been handled very badly by Dontnod Entertainment, but they executed it almost perfectly and it added a new dimension to the “Life is Strange” universe.
In the original “Life is Strange,” the story focused on more of a friendship/emotional impact and did not care about any outside influences. Now, Dontnod Entertainment is taking us in a different direction, attempting to bring to light relevant problems happening now in America. It shows us lives that maybe the viewer can relate to, and maybe they can’t but they can still sympathize and understand. The emotions in this game will really depend on the viewers personal situation in their own lives.
Normally, you would see boys and think, “this game won’t have any emotional impact.” But this is not the case at all. Talking to Brody, a traveling journalists who helps Sean and Daniel escape the shop, Sean let’s his tears out as he mourns the death of his father and his life, and you can’t help but to sympathize with them.
Dontnod has always excelled in telling teenage angst stories that no other game ever could, and despite the original “Life is Strange” being “hella” cringe in many instances, I have to admit that I bawled my eyes out in certain emotional scenes. In “Life is Strange 2,” I guarantee you by episode five my face will be drenched with tears yet again.
Let’s talk about those graphics though: stellar. That’s all I can say. It’s not hard to compare the 2013 “Life is Strange” to the 2018 version and instantly see the quality differences that are separated by time and the evolution of technology. There are also no awkward cutscenes that make no sense, and the choices you make don’t simply lead you around in a circle again like the prequel.
Another thing to compare to the prequel is the length of the episode. For the first episode, “Life is Strange 2” took me nearly three hours to complete, while the original “Life is Strange” took me merely an hour and a half to complete. This is a significant amount and makes me wonder how long the remaining episodes will be and makes me ecstatic to see the extra amount of plot and story we will get to experience.
For the people who like games with side quests and other aesthetic things, similar to the original “Life is Strange,” players have a journal and other options to see art that Sean has drawn, his phone messages, his backpack and other things.
These aren’t as important as they are aesthetic, but if you’re attempting to emotionally invest yourself into the game then I highly recommend looking at the journal. The journal gives you a real insight into the agony that Sean is feeling over everything going on, even if he won’t say it outloud.
“Life is Strange 2” does not currently have an official release date for the next episode, so I will impatiently wait. If you have not played this game, I highly recommend it: the cringe is mostly gone, the cutscenes are great, and the story itself is sure to tug at your heartstrings.