‘Life is Strange’ sequel falls short of hype


Photo from Google Images (fair use)

Katlyn Schwarz, Staff Reporter

When “Life is Strange” hit shelves in 2015, the game grew attention and hype for its episodic format, its navigation of dark themes such as death and loss, and its exploration of decision-making strategies.

Then came “Life is Strange 2,” the long-awaited sequel to the original. And despite the hype, this new feature in the game franchise has its ups and downs.

The sequel follows Sean and Daniel Diaz, brothers forced to run away from home after a tragic event occurred in their front lawn. Without spoiling anything, the event could easily be described as something that will haunt the pair forever.

The gameplay is only done through the character Sean Diaz, the older brother forced to become a father figure to younger brother, Daniel Diaz. For those who enjoyed the first “Life is Strange,” there are a few differences that a typical player might not be too happy with.

While the gameplay and features — choices affecting the game’s outcome, the ability to walk and explore specific objects, as well as hidden collectibles for the player to find — are the same, the game lacks some of the fan-favorite specifics.

In the first “Life is Strange,” the game was played through Max Caulfield, a senior in high school with the ability to manipulate time. Sean Diaz, our protagonist, does not appear to have any abilities of the sort. Rather, a secondary character that is not playable. This was something fans loved and looked forward to in the new game.

The first episode of “Life is Strange 2,” entitled “Roads,” was seemingly the longest episode in “Life is Strange” history with total gameplay time surpassing three hours. While many would argue that this is too much time, because they would have to pause the game and come back to it at a later time, it just might be better. For one, you’re getting more for your money. If the game continues like this, there will be more than 15 hours on gameplay once the entire game is released. Plus, since the whole game costs $40, 15 hours of gameplay is more than enough.

Oh, and for those of you hardcore Max followers, don’t get your hopes up on seeing her or her best friend, Chloe Price, at all throughout the game. Representatives from Dontnod Entertainment, the game’s developer, stated during an interview at 2018’s Gamescom that the entire franchise is about more than just these characters.

The only hint we ever get at possibly seeing Max or Chloe is toward the end of the first episode. When taking a break on the side of the road, Sean is overlooking either a nightlife scene of Arcadia Bay (if in the previous game you chose to sacrifice Chloe), or a forest preserve with a plaque that tributes the lives lost in the Arcadia Bay Storm of 2016 (if you chose to sacrifice Arcadia Bay in the game). Aside from that, it looks like Max and Chloe have been left behind.

So, there are quite a few pros and cons to “Life is Strange 2” that could either make or break the entire game. But, keeping in mind that Dontnod is trying to expand a gaming franchise with such a huge following, there are going to be a few ups and downs that fans might need some time to warm up to.