‘Life Is Strange’ episode two leaves many doors open

 

Last week, episode two of the new series, “Life is Strange” was released after over a month of waiting, and rest assured it keeps the awesome train rolling on this fantastic series that has quickly earned its way into this reviewer’s top 10 games of all time.

The episode starts out where the previous episode left off. Max has had a good night’s sleep and has plans to meet up with Chloe for breakfast to discuss Max’s newfound powers, but things get sidetracked quickly when an apparent sex tape of Kate Marsh, one of Max’s good friends, and possibly the kindest character in the series, is spread around the Blackwell Campus. Max has the choice to either help Kate by doing some investigating into what happened, or ignore the issue completely and let what happens happen. Either way, this will lead to the series’ first major consequence.

Meeting up with Chloe later relaxes things a bit and leads to some, unfortunately, rather dull memory puzzles. I enjoyed this segment of the game quite a bit, however, as it allowed for some more in-depth exploration of the relationship between Max and Chloe, as well as introduced Chloe’s mother to the story.

Things then shift back to Blackwell for a short time to reveal the consequences of your actions earlier in regards to Kate Marsh, who is about to commit suicide off the roof of the girls’ dorm. If you chose to support her, you manage to talk her down. If not…you can guess what happens. The episode ends soon after that, having unfortunately opened a lot more doors than it closed.

While I really enjoyed playing the episode through, I have a lot of problems with it as well. I know it’s still early in the series, but being 40 percent of the way through and having no answers or explanations for anything happening is a bit frustrating. We haven’t even received a hint of how Max got her powers and why, or who’s behind the events of the series. Despite that, the game seems intent on continually asking new questions. For example, apparently the man living in a dirty RV by the diner is important somehow. The game doesn’t even begin to explain why, but makes it very clear that he is, through his appearance in the game’s credits and warnings from other townsfolk to stay away from him. I’m not expecting all the answers here, but at least a taste of explanation for anything would have been nice.

However, the episode is still a welcome addition to the series. Dialogue seems to have been much improved (although still a bit awkward at times when dealing with choice-dependent scenarios) and Max has lightened up somewhat on her faux-geek dialogue.

What hasn’t changed at all though is my love of the choice system that this game has built up. I couldn’t really talk about it before having a second episode, but DONTNOD Entertainment, the series’ developer, has designed a choice/consequence system that puts Bioware’s in “Mass Effect” to shame. As long as we don’t end up with one of three cookie-cutter endings at the end of the series, I’ll be perfectly happy.

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