Life is Strange 2 – Episode 1 – Roads Review (PS4)

Life is Strange 2

I’ve been waiting for this game since the release of The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit that came out after E3, you can read my review of that game here. This was supposed to be a complete 180 from the original Life is Strange and introduce the player to a new character taking a step away from Max and Chloe. While the game would take place in the same universe, this time everything is supposed to be different and even the whole rewind time thing is gone. Anyway, after one full playthrough and a collectibles run, I was able to get all of the trophies for this episode which means it’s time for a review.

In Life is Strange 2, you play as Sean. Sean is the typical high school teenager, which it seems like these games will revolve around, and all he wants to do is party with his friends and get the girl of his dreams. Everything is going as planned until his little brother Daniel gets into a fight with the neighbor next door. After that everything goes to hell as the police show up and Sean and Daniel’s father is killed in front of them. Daniel just goes crazy at this point and the game picks up again a few days later where Sean and Daniel are on the run. In this first episode out of 5, you’ll adventure with them as they try to tolerate each other in a way that two bothers do. Daniel worships Sean, while Sean is a moody teenager upset by the fact that Daniel is even around and bothering him. Sean will have to learn how to take care of Daniel since he’s all Daniel has now and try to find out what the hell is going on with his brother and this strange power he posses.

I thought this episode, while decent, started off really slow. The first half of the game will be spent helping Daniel get ready for a party that he’s supposed to be going to before the big event of his father dying, the second half will be them on the road doing various different things like camping out in an abandoned trail, going to a Gas Stop, getting abducted at the Gas Stop, and then getting away, and then the last half of the game is basically the two brothers coming to terms with the death of their father and what’s going on with Daniel. I thought this game did a nice switch up as you basically play as Chloe this time around. You’re not the one with powers and someone else is. This time it happens to be your little brother, which makes things even more interesting seeing how you have to take care of him since he also doesn’t know what’s going on with him. What kind of super powers does he have? You won’t learn anything about this in this episode as it basically ends on a cliffhanger leaving things open for the next episode. This was what I didn’t like about this episode. Where as in Life is Strange, you knew what Max’s powers were from the beginning, probably because you were playing as her, this game took a lot of time just doing random things and being left in the dark. The episode was also super long and at times boring as adventuring through the woods and the amount of cut scenes where you basically had to just watch went on for what felt like forever. That being said, the cliffhanger ending made me eager for the next episode.

The playability of this game is just horrible and wonky. Moving around Sean isn’t that easy as this game is basically just a walking simulator and that doesn’t even operate properly. When all you really do for most of the game is walk and the game can’t even do that right, there’s something wrong. While it wasn’t too bad in my initial playthrough, the collectibles run was just horrible. The camera wouldn’t follow Sean, Sean couldn’t move in certain areas, and Sean even got stuck between two logs and a rock at one point. This was just unacceptable, especially after the cost of this game which was a staggering $40.00. Other than that, the game played nicely. Because Sean isn’t the one with super powers, you’ll have other things you can do like gather collectibles from their journey and draw in your notebook to document your adventure. This all works fine as does the talking options, but it’s just the walking that really ruins it as times since it can’t even do that properly. Not to mention I did have a game breaking glitch in the game that while I was playing the game just stopped working at a certain point and crashed my whole system. System crashes are the worst and it happened at the worst possible time, which was while I was filming. Even if I wasn’t filming, this would have still annoyed me since anything that hard crashes my PS4 just really ticks me off.

The graphics for this game basically mimic the improvements to the graphics that were made in Life is Strange: Before the Storm. Since most of this game takes place outdoors, the scenery is nicely done and has a nice feel to it. The faces have made some major improvements as well and look more real like and less cartoon like. This is a big improvement and one that I was really impressed with. I really enjoyed the graphics and as always the music enhanced the environment and made the graphics just really fitting for the game. It’s funny how Life is Strange uses music to do this and I think it’s brilliant.

There are a total of 9 trophies for this episode which include completing the whole episode and getting all of the collectibles that are scattered around the area where Sean and Daniel will be exploring, as well as completing one drawing in Sean’s notebook. These aren’t hard trophies to get and while you’ll get most of them easily, you’ll probably have to go back and do a collectible’s run unless you use a guide while you play. I would suggest just playing the game for the first time and seeing what happens and then go back for the collectibles since it’ll only take 10-20 minutes tops.

There is no multiplayer for this game and that makes me happy. I could have seen this game trying to incorporate some kind of multiplayer where someone would play Sean and someone would play Daniel, but I’m glad that they didn’t. I do however could have seen the appeal of being able to choose which character you wanted to play. Maybe if the game made you play as Daniel the first time around and then the second time around you had to play as Sean and the decisions that Daniel made would impact Sean. Now that would have been interesting.

Overall I give this episode a 3 out of 5.

What’s Great:
+ This game takes a step back from Life is Strange and starts a new story in the same universe. This time you don’t get to play the one with powers, you get to play the one trying to figure everything out which is a nice turn of events even if you are left in the dark for the entire episode.
+ The improvements to the graphics were extremely noticeable in this game and well appreciated as the game looks amazing. This is only enhanced by the music that plays throughout the game as it just makes everything fit together.
+ The collectibles mode is a great way to go back and just grab the collectibles that you might miss in your initial playthrough allowing you to just play the game how you want the first time around and then going back if you truly want all of the collectibles.

What’s Not So Great:
For this being basically a walking simulator, the one thing that you can’t do right is walk. This is extremely annoying and ruins the game when it glitches and you can’t go where you need to go or you end up walking around in circles.
By the end of the second half of the game there was a major game crash that crashed my entire PS4. This was not good and makes me weary of the rest of the episode that are yet to be released.
This episode is extremely long and at times boring as you’ll spend most of your time wandering through the woods and some of the time you can’t even control Sean and it’ll just be like watching a TV show instead of playing a game. I understand the need for cut scenes that aren’t interactive, but the fact that they’re so long is at times unbearable.

While this was an interesting starting to Life is Strange 2, I’m still a little weary about this game even if I am excited for the second episode. The price tag for this game was high making the bar for this game even set higher because of the price tag. If the game ends up not living up to expectations from the first game, then I fear that this series will be finished after this game. I didn’t say this before, but I wanted to mention it here that this game is also very political. I understand the developers wanting to make a statement and I completely agree with them on the points that they made, but I think that video games aren’t the place to do that. I have to listen to this type of shit every single day and the last place I want it is in my video games where I’m trying to escape from all of this. I felt that this was unnecessary part of the story and because it takes place in a basically made up world, the fact that these political issues are there make no sense. Anyway, I’m going to say that if you’re a fan of Life is Strange that you’ll want to play this game, just don’t have that high of expectations for this game yet. If you were on the border when it came to Life is Strange and you weren’t sure about this game, I would say to hold off for now until all the episodes are released and the price is dropped.

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