Friday, June 26, 2015

Life Is Strange Episode 2 Review

The second episode of Life Is Strange, Out of Time, finds Max discovering the limitations of her powers, making the choices she makes in this episode matter much more than ever.

The episode begins where the last left off, with Max finding a confidant in Chloe.  The two decide to test Max's powers, at which point Max discovers that her powers have more limitations than she had previously thought.  To save more lives of the people she cares about, Max must push her powers past their boundaries.  In doing so, however, she'll have to use her own natural powers of persuasion, as she finds that she can't always rely on her new-found abilities.

The limitations present a different feel in this chapter than before, as, while most of the decision making is leisurely, once her powers reach their limits, Max will have to make decisions on the spur of the moment without the ability to rewind.  Luckily, the decisions aren't quite as spur of the moment as those in Telltale's games, as there isn't a timer forcing Max to think quickly.  The decisions can still be made at a slower pace, however, once they're made, they're set in stone.  This adds a much more emotional impact to those decisions that can't be changed, as they seem much more real now that the ability to change them on the fly isn't present.  There are also puzzles in this game, although some are a bit tedious, as they revolve around recovering a specific number of items.

The dialog still has some awkward moments of slang usage, but, like the first chapter, the rest of the story is excellent.  The voice acting continues to be supurb as well, with the actors getting a chance to really show a range of emotions here.  The music, once again, is subtle, but helps to set the tone of the game excellently.  There are quite a few new locations in this chapter as well, and they are all interesting, and fit within the art style of the rest of the game.  The new characters we meet in these new locations are equally as interesting, and are all voiced as well as the returning characters.  There are invisible barriers in this chapter, but they are handled much more realistically than simply restricting the character's movements.  They're reminiscent of those in the L.A. Noire crime scenes, as the player character in both games will comment that they don't want to leave that area, for reasons that fit in both games.  It's a simple solution to the invisible barrier problem, but it works well.

The second episode of Life Is Strange has given the series a bit of a shakeup, with limitations to Max's powers that make some of her choices much more finite, and thus seemingly more meaningful, than those in the previous episode.  The occasional moments of awkward slang in the dialog reappear here, and some of the game's puzzles are tedious, but the rest of the game makes up for it.  Max's choices are beginning to have visible consequences, the voice acting is excellent, and the music still remains a wonderfully paired with the vocal performances. The story of the second episode ends on an exciting conclusion, making this episode feel fulfilling on its own.  However, one can't help but wonder how the next episode unfurls.

Final Verdict:
4 out of 5

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