• Note: This review for episode 2 has been kept spoiler free as much as possible.

When episode one of Life Is Strange, Chrysalis, came out at the end of January it intrigued a lot of people, including myself. It didn’t only intrigue though, it impressed, with glowing reviews across the board. It had its issues, some of which cross over into the second episode, but through its core was a strong idea that kept people wanting more.

Out of Time kicks off the day after Chrysalis with Max; the games lead, waking up in her dorm room to infectious indie rock. The soundtrack remains a huge positive for the game. It fits the mood of it well whilst also adding another layer to Max. A lot of the soundtrack is her personal music and, as they say, music is a reflection of self (I’m pretty sure they say that). It doesn’t take long for decisions made in episode one to start showing themselves. In some cases it’s fairly small things, a line of dialogue that no doubt wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for what you did earlier. In other situations it feels like much more and you begin to realise that some of the decisions you made might not have been for the best.

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That is another home run for the game. The decisions feel like they carry a lot of weight and the rewind function will have you scrambling to figure out what is the best option, especially when the situation is not so black and white. Your decisions for the most part slowly chip away at the world around you rather than give you an instant pay off and this slow burn will leave you constantly doubting yourself. Episode two feels like it has a lot more variety in it than the first episode. The core idea of rewinding time and picking the right choice is still there but freed of the shackles of having to introduce the cast it can tell a much more focused story which delivers some great moments in different ways. Not all of them are as enjoyable as the other, but they help break up the game from becoming too repetitive whilst continuing to progress the story.

The game still has poor lip syncing but the team has definitely improved upon episode one, with some clever direction at points to show less of the mouth. The dialogue and acting also remains questionable with some characters, but when it needs to it can really pack a punch. Where it may fall down with dialogue it shines through with story and world building. The journals, posters, text messages and more help to add character to the town and the people that occupy it.

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It is also important to praise the game with its handling of the butterfly effect so far. The fact that even watering a plant informs you that your actions will have consequences will leave players being careful with what they do. It’s also nice that the game doesn’t force information about chaos theory and the butterfly effect through cutscenes, but instead through the previously mentioned world building. If you want more information you can find it, if you don’t then just push on. Out of Time needed to deliver. The second episode is where your mechanics need to shine through in place of character introductions and DONTNOD made sure that was the case here. It delivers something very human to something that could be a silly time travel game and it should be admired for that. Some of the things it deals with will affect some more than others but it is done in a way that not many games are able to match.

Life Is Strange is on an interesting path at the moment. Its second episode throws bigger decisions at you than the first and it will leave you racking your brain to try and figure out what the outcome will be in future episodes. Whatever may happen Life Is Strange is looking to be the kind of game that you will go back to more than once, just to see if you did something else would everything be OK. If DONTNOD can keep the game at this level for each episode then we really are in for something special.



Author

Brett Claxton

I like video games. That's why I write about them. I've played them for years and in that time I've found a love for creepy horrors, indie darlings and the oddities that come out of Japan. Although my main purpose on the site is to write up news and reviews I'm also one of the main Let's Play video creators of the team (or, as I call them, Brett's Play videos). You can check them out here: https://www.youtube.com/user/Bretteh2