Originally published 10 October, 2018 at Doublejump.co
Roads, the first episode of Dontnod Entertainment’s Life is Strange 2, starts off slow and probably won’t grab you as strongly as you’d hope. Though the opening scene means to show ‘the norm’, you won’t find yourself very invested, and even after its story really kicks off, Life is Strange 2 is still a slow burn. But it doesn’t take much longer for Roads to prove itself as a powerful introduction with the potential to grow into something even better than the original.
Beginning in Seattle, Washington, Life is Strange 2 follows 17-year-old Sean Diaz and his younger brother Daniel in the wake of a mysterious, destructive explosion on their doorstep, leaving their father and a police officer dead and themselves alone. On the run as fugitives, the only suspects and witnesses of whatever happened, Sean and Daniel start a journey to their ancestral home in Mexico, homeless and severely unprepared.
In a way, Life is Strange 2 reverses the original game’s setup. Where Life is Strange gave you a godlike power over the game itself, the sequel burdens you with power you have no control over or awareness of. Where Max Caulfield dealt with isolation and a lack of direction at that game’s opening, Life is Strange 2 makes you the guardian of a young child, your younger brother, in the wake of a major accident. Where the story of Arcadia Bay progressed with a relative ease and flow, Life is Strange 2 haunts you with an ongoing manhunt, Sean’s grief over his father and his younger brother’s wellbeing – a stark and heavy contrast to the easy-going original.
As dark an opening as that is, Life is Strange 2’s first episode focuses squarely on Sean’s relationship and journey with Daniel. The game is built around the bond and dependence between these two characters and your newfound guardianship takes first priority; it’s not just about finding food or money to keep Daniel healthy but keeping track of the second-hand impact of your actions, like begging or stealing. Your choices are significant not just in how you survive but in how Daniel grows and changes over the course of the five episodes.
Read on at Doublejump.co!