Apologies for the lack of a video review. I'm graduating from college in three weeks so my life is very busy at the moment. I did find some time this evening to run through episode two of "Life is Strange" and, even though I didn't record any of the footage, I still felt like talking about it.
Episode two of DontNod Entertainment's "Life is Strange" has been out for a few weeks now but I just recently found some time to sit down with it. Episode two starts the day after the events of the first episode, as Max received her powers and a strange snowfall occurred. Episode one also introduced us to Chloe Price, Max's childhood best friend, and a grave threat which will hit the town in the coming days.
Surprisingly, episode two doesn't focus too heavily on this threat. One would think a giant tornado destroying your town would allow for a more "how do we stop this" kind of next chapter. Instead, "Life is Strange" continues its story by focusing on the supporting cast, particularly Chloe Price and Kate Marsh. The episode begins with a viral video of Kate making out with a bunch of guys at a party going viral online. Kate, being a very religious person, is horrified by this and the evidence of depression is clear from the start. I was actually somewhat impressed by how well DontNod focused this episode around Kate and made me feel like I needed to look out for her. For example, there is a point early in the episode when you can choose to answer a call from Kate or to ignore it. Having seen her earlier, I felt compelled to answer it, which had payoffs later. Oftentimes the choices in these types of games seem generally important but ultimately not very consequential. "Life is Strange" made me feel the importance of these small decisions as it led into the final scene.
In between the Kate Marsh drama, Max spends some time with Chloe. It's somewhat surprising just how much freedom these students have to wander throughout the town if Max's time off campus in these first two episodes are any indication. You first meet up with Chloe in a small diner in which her mother works, allowing the player to see Chloe's interactions with her other parent. This is also where Max has to prove the existence of her ability to Chloe, which proves to be fun once executed correctly. You next go to Chloe's secret hangout place and get to collect five bottles for target practice. This was fine and none of the bottles were too terribly difficult to locate, but it felt a tad unnecessary and like a way to stretch the episode's length. There is a very tension-filled scene towards the end of Chloe's part of the episode which works very well, although it does seem to be foreshadowing the inevitable fate of Chloe Price by the end of episode five.
In regards to story, it works well enough. It's not nearly as exciting as the pilot, but it's not necessarily dull either. It simply takes a new approach on the world and ends with enough intrigue and anticipation for the next episode that I felt satisfied by the events which had played out.
The graphics are pretty much the same as in episode one and still have the same issues. The character models themselves look fine and fit the style DontNod is going for, but the lip-sync is still an issue as oftentimes what is being spoken doesn't match the mouth movements. It can be distracting at times but is forgivable as this is the first game of this kind from this studio.
The gameplay is also similar to episode one with no new features. Max can rewind time at her will, to an extent, which proves helpful when trying to locate items in a certain amount of time or to watch various situations unfold. However, I didn't really find myself playing out every scenario all that often this time around. Many of the choices which I made seemed to fit the outcome I'd like from the get-go. The only real issue with this feature is that there's no real way to lose like in the Telltale games. Players can always just reverse time to fix a mistake or do something over. Even abusing the time reversal has no real effects on Max outside of cutscenes, which seems somewhat unrealistic. The choice system is also back but is pretty much the standard of what we've come to expect by this point.
In regards to overall enjoyment, I did have fun with "Out of Time." It wasn't quite as big of an episode in regards to reveals as the first one, but it did allow for some character development for certain individuals and left many doors open for the remaining three episodes to explore. This is a series which is starting off very well. The concept is interesting and the story always leaves me wanting more by the end credits, with "Chaos Theory" looking to be even more exciting than the first two episodes. Check out episode two if you haven't already.