Episode 1 of Life Is Strange: Chrysalis left off in such a dramatic way, it had me anticipating for Episode 2’s release so much more than I expected. The first episode introduced us to some very promising new gameplay mechanics and a very deep, interesting story. We play as Max Claufield, a senior student at Blackwell at Arcadia Bay, Oregon. We learn that Max has obtained these new strange powers that allow her to reverse time and redo mistakes or help prevent things from happening before they do. Life Is Strange brings new mechanics to the original format of adventure games similar to the genre, but can it continue to keep players interested?
Starting off Episode Two, we are treated to a very well done intro. Music is utilized substantially well in Life is Strange to say the least, and both episodes 1 and 2 have some of the best music selections I could think of. The music fits the theme and gives the gameplay and story that extra oomph it needs. Max and Chloe are reunited and the great chemistry between these two characters are portrayed very genuinely. You can tell that they care for each other. Both these voice actors Max (Hannah Telle) and Chloe (Ashly Burch) play off each other’s energy very well. It takes a while before things get moving, but when it does you will be in for one emotional ride.
Last episode ended with a huge cliff hanger with Max getting a vision of a tornado wiping out Arcadia Bay while she and Chloe were at the lighthouse. This will come into play more as the story progresses, but first Max must prove to Chloe that she can actually reverse time. This is where the game reintroduces the reverse time ability and they make you do these little memory games to prove your new found powers to Chloe. This could get tedious if you don’t get it right the first time. Reversing time and choosing the correct answer could get annoying.
After a couple of mini games, Chloe now wants to play around with your powers, making the two of you go to a junkyard to shoot off some glass bottles. I should note that at the junkyard scene there is this part that will likely get you frustrated. We witness Max having a nosebleed and anytime time travel happens, Max gets a nosebleed, and this ultimately leads to nothing good. Max’s powers start to show some kind of restraint which starts to mess with her head, and consequently blocks her ability to replay time. This is when things really get interesting.
Throughout the entire game we get to reverse big problems or change major decisions to alter our story, but towards the end when that ability isn’t available to use anymore because of Max’ fatigue, the game instantly becomes tense as everything that happens next will be permanent. This could be considered the biggest difference between this game and other similar episodic action adventure games. With all the drama that goes on with Max and Nathan Prescott, we see the tension starts to build between them. Besides Max’s problems, Kate Marsh is also dealing with some problems of her own. The Vortex Party gets a little crazy and a viral video of Kate kissing multiple guys is uploaded to the internet. With Kate being a very religious teen, this is not good for her reputation. I would say Episode 2 is better than Episode 1 but to be completely honest, this episode only has a couple of big moments that really pushes the storyline further. These episodic games tend to have an episode like this which is a “filler” episode for filling additional groundwork to the story for the purpose of building up to the climax we’re all waiting for.
As good as the story gets, there are still major technical problems with the game. Lip synching is one of them. Each time you see a character talk it never matches up to what they’re saying. I was hoping by the time Episode Two arrived that they would have fixed this problem, as this was a major flaw in Episode One as well. Besides the lip synching, the body language also doesn’t match up. Many times you will see a character raise their hands in disbelief of a situation but the action is executed long after it actually happened. In addition to these synching problems, the textures of grass, trees, and the overall world look pretty bad. In Episode 2, the graphics definitely stand out. Minor things like this could keep you from being completely immersed in the story. It’s a shame really, as this game has the potential to be one of the best action adventure games ever made.
The technical problems can be overlooked, especially when Life Is Strange gives such great minor details that emphasize its gameplay and narrative. Chatter in the school hallways instantly takes you down memory lane as you remember your own high school experience and all the drama associated with it. The curious side of you wants to hear all the latest gossip. For my playthrough my story showed a good lesson on cyber bullying without ever addressing that problem. It makes you think of the possibility of it happening to other kids. These are the type of experiences one can have when playing Life is Strange.
Life is Strange Episode 2: Out Of Time is more proof of why you should be playing this series. The story arc gets more in depth and mysteries are waiting to be resolved as stranger things are happening in Arcadia Bay. Both episodes are promising and deliver excellently. Life Is Strange turns out to be one of the best games in the genre. With Episode 3 on the horizon, now’s a good time to jump in and experience this series for yourself. How do you guys like Episode Two? Are you interested in this game series? Let me know in the comments below and for all your Life Is Strange news and reviews, keep it locked to FGE!