After more than 14 months Life is Strange 2 (buy now for 39,99 €) finally complete. Already in September 2018, Sean and Daniel Diaz started their adventure along the US West Coast. The developers have taken almost half a year more time with the second season, so even for the predecessor, whose five episodes have appeared in the space of almost nine months. That these extended periods between chapters are a problem, we had previously described our impressions of Episode 2. With waiting periods of three to four months between the individual sections, a lot of momentum and tension are forcibly lost. But if you've been waiting for it, you can now experience the adventure in about 12-15 hours of playing time.
Reminder: Life is Strange 2 is not a continuation of the story of Max, Chloe and the coastal town of Arcadia Bay. Instead, we follow 16-year-old Sean Diaz and his nine-year-old brother Daniel, who live in Seattle with their father. One day, however, there is a tragic incident that drives the two boys to embark on a daredevil escape. Her goal is to reach Mexico, her father's home, where they think they are safe. This involuntary road trip causes us to experience our protagonists in different scenes in each episode. Varied game environments are taken care of.
Source: PC Games
However, this narrative structure also means that apart from the two brothers, we can barely build a bond with other characters. With most minor characters we have something to do only in one episode. Even important characters like the mother of Sean and Daniel gain little profile. However, this only applies to the player. Since there are always time jumps of several weeks or even months between the episodes, the brothers have had plenty of opportunity in the time to build relationships with the people in their environment.
For example, the protagonists between the fourth and fifth episode submerge in a dropout community in which their mother lives. As a player you are then confronted with the fact that Sean and Daniel already have a close relationship with the people of the community, but who are foreign characters for the player. When, after a short while, the departure approaches, it is difficult for us to sympathize with the farewell emotions the brothers are showing at the moment.
As is typical for the series and genre, we have countless smaller and bigger choices to make in the game. Above all, our role model function, which we have as Sean towards our little brother, is the center of attention. But since Sean is only 16 years old,
Source: PC Games
The situations often overwhelm him too, which can lead to exciting and hard decisions. To make matters worse, that Daniel has a supernatural ability that makes him move objects telekinetic. How do we deal with it as an older brother? How do we guide little Daniel to understand the scope of his abilities and the consequences for his actions? How do we prevent this power from going to his head?
Throughout the game, we take over so many influences on the character development of Daniel. In the end, how we have behaved will determine the outcome of the story. Although we end up like the first season again before a decisive decision, but the outcome depends on our moral education of Daniel. In total, there are seven different ends, four of which are basically different. This positive improvement over the first season is only marred by a rather unambiguous logic error at the end.
Source: PC Games
As children of a Mexican immigrant, they are primarily dealing with racist hostility. The developers take up the current mood of the divided American society, in which resentment especially against Latinos in the foreground.
Foreclosure projects such as the building of President Trump's wall are discussed as well as the prejudices of the white rural population that Mexican immigrants would only come to the US to sell drugs, steal and live from the pockets of American social systems. But other social issues such as Christian fundamentalism and excessive police violence are also taken up. Social criticism adds even more depth to the whole story. However, in some places we would have wished for a more subtle use of these topics.
In the playful area the game offers the usual mixture of dialogues and the exploration of the individual locations. In the often spacious areas in which we can move freely, there are again numerous objects with which we can interact. Feeling they have
Source: PC Games
Developers put even more emphasis on diversity and, above all, really interesting details that give us a deeper insight into the people and stories around us.
Added to this is the use of Daniel's power, with which we can move or influence objects over and over again. In action-packed scenes, his ability is then sometimes used for defense. Here it is again, often under time pressure to decide how far you are ready to go. Should Daniel use his power to harm others? Overall, however, the potential of the supernatural element of Life is Strange 2 is not always exploited. So we could have imagined quite a few tricky environment puzzles.
Visually, the developers have used the transition to the Unreal Engine 4, to create some chic lighting effects and an overall sharper appearance. On the whole, the game remains true to the watercolor style of the series. So Life is Strange 2 joins in behind the first season and the offshoot Before the Storm, without ever really reaching the same level or the same narrative goodness. Anyone will judge differently how much the topic of the two brothers, their escape and their relationship to each other. Just as not everyone could start with the high school drama of the first part.
Life is Strange 2 in the test. (Source: PC Games)
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