In February, I decided to pick up the first episode of Dontnod’s time-bending adventure game Life Is Strange. After blasting through it in around 3 hours, I decided to review it as well. But, suffice to say, I thought the game has a lot of potential and I did think it was worth getting the Season Pass so I won’t miss a future installment of this five-episode adventure. Now, two months later, I finally downloaded and played through Life Is Strange’s 2nd episode, Out Of Time. So, I may as well give my thoughts on this episode as well.
Episode 2 picks up a day after the events of the first one. Eighteen-year old aspiring photographer Max Caulfield just just discovered she has the ability to rewind time from her own point of view. She discovered she had that ability when she saved her childhood best friend turned troubled teen, Chloe Price, from being murdered by Nathan Prescott, the scion of the family that runs the town of Arcadia Bay. Now, Chloe asks Max out so she can get a better demonstration of our hero’s new found powers…
…well, that’s all I’m going to say since saying anymore will spoil a lot! And I’m trying to make this review as SPOILER-FREE as possible.
As shown in the first episode, one of the strongest elements of Life Is Strange, in my opinion, is its story and character progression. And the second installment of the series pretty much enforces my assessment. Episode 2 focuses a lot on one of the side characters, Kate Marsh. While Max saw her being bullied in Episode 1, the harassment has become much more abusive this time around. Essentially, you see the psychological beating she’s been dealing with from pretty much the entire school as well as some of the faculty. Kate’s reaction to all of this is pretty realistic and draws you in.
Although the dialog is still uneven, the voice acting is still mostly good, overall. There are a few flat lines from the actress that does the voice for Max Caulfield but they are few and far between. Standouts continue to be Chloe Price (who manages to still give a believable performance despite a lot of groan worthy lines) and Kate Marsh (who may come off as too sad but… well, I think it does fit the character’s mood at the time). I even like the performance of the “evil” Nathan Prescott because he comes off as so stereotypically demented! But the less I hear from Warren and Alyssa, the better!
While the story and characters are pretty awesome in Episode 2, I can’t say the same for the actual gameplay! In the first episode, I felt the concept of rewinding time was severely underutilized. This time around, Dontnot amped it up by actually giving Max the opportunity to flaunt her new ability. This part is just genuinely fun and the few minutes that let you actually just play around with your time travelling powers are pretty much the most fun I had in Life Is Strange so far.
Unfortunately, Dontnod still doesn’t seem to know how to create a good “adventure” portion in their games. During the middle portion of the game, there is this long search “mission.” A very trivial one, mind you… and one that shouldn’t utilize your time ability. It took me 1 hour and 30 minutes just to complete this part of the game! And it only took me 3 hours to finish this episode! This means that half of my entire playthrough was taken up because of this idiotic “quest.” It really felt like the devs were looking for ways to extend playtime and this was the best they came up with! It is a good that that, after this really crappy part was over, things picked up again.
And things really picked up by the end of the game! Life Is Strange and other games like this love to say that your choices do matter and will change the story. Well, by the end of the second episode, I’m glad to say it does! Things really come to a head and the decisions you made earlier as well as way back in Episode 1 may come back to haunt you. And while you may not think it’s a big deal because of Max’s powers, let’s just say Out Of Time is a pretty apt title for Episode 2.
Overall, I have to say Episode 2: Out Of Time is still an excellent episode. While I really hated that awful search portion of the game, the rest of Life Is Strange still does a great job of telling a compelling story. And, after the events that happened here (especially the ending), I’m really excited to see what my actions have wrought against Max Claufield and the rest of the citizens of Arcadia Bay.
Guess I have to wait another two months then.
Have you played Life Is Strange’s 2nd episode yet? How do you think Out Of Time shaped up against its first episode? Let me know in the comments section!