Life is Strange – Episode 2 “Out of Time” is the second instalment in the 5 part story that sees you continue your adventures with Max Caulfield. You will trip, stutter rewind and get frustrated at some mindless dialogue however the game evolves the rewind time mechanic and introduces a powerful ending that will have you wanting to play more.
Episode 1 seen Max discover her power and episode 2 begins a day after those events. However the early exchanges and slow start don’t progress in the direction you would expect. What Episode 2 does achieve is the re introduction of many of the sub plots that are at work in the story continuing to deal with real life issues such as segregation, privacy and bullying amongst its many characters. New characters are also introduced and offer up even more choices that times will have you making what feels like huge choices.
The evolution of utilising your powers is challenged by your characters friends and sets up a scenarios where you are tasked with using the powers to prove your ability however in many of these instances they are not doing anything other than simple puzzle solving. Although they range in difficulty most notably the diner it is worrying how far DontNod can stretch this mechanic out across the five episodes. The diner scenario was fantastic challenging you to point out happenings in a ground hog day like scenario.
This episode will also see you explore some familiar areas as well as some new ones which appear to be a bit wider and free to explore but the immersion is lost when you walk a tad too far and are automatically turned and directed back. amongst the new areas are photo opportunities and NPCs to interact with. The NPCs will help flesh out some of the games story lines but many are fillers and don’t add any value so by episode 3 I wouldn’t waste time interacting with many of them unless you know you need to. IF you want to uncover more history, character behaviours and general tit bits about the world your in then interacting is the way to go.
The power in Life is Strange is still its ability to wrap together great story telling in a modern world with its edgy but modern graphics. Again tools such as the journal, mobile phone and laptop experiences are brought out which help build the world around Max and offer more ways to interact with the characters in this world. its also a neat feature for keeping tabs on who everyone is. Included in your journal are tips on where photo opportunities are, character bios diary entries and other nice additions. These all combine to offer a rich experience that other story telling games of this genre haven’t achieved.
Puzzle solving is unique in this game as a result of its use of time but in undertaking the most enjoyable parts of this game is where you may see some of its little glitches. Such as rewinding time in the train section I found the crowbar would float in mid air. On my second playthrough I didn’t encounter this but when your trying to act with speed little issues can hamper your experience. Although the puzzles are challenging the rewind function does make it a bit easier and the sense of disbelief is lost at moments. I can pick up a crowbar walk up a hill rewind time to the moment before I picked up the crowbar and yet I still have a crowbar?? These are some of the weird goings on in a game that is most certainly strange. None of these issues however dampened my experience and these events are welcomed and fun ways of energising the story and keeping you wanting to play more.
Episode 2 will forever be remembered for its incredible ending. There’s some unique developments with Max’s power which will add a new dimension to how and when you can use your power. This is demonstrated in an unavoidable way in the last part of this episode. We wont spoil it for you but its awesome and there’s other games coming out that will look at this and smile. The graphics and sound continue also to be top notch with little frame drops and despite some weak dialogue to voice acting is still decent. The sound shines however through its use of in game music which continues to boast a great indie soundtrack that supports the games feel. Its so good we grabbed a soundcloud playlist and embedded it below for you.
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Whatever your taste in video games and story telling Life is strange continues to deliver on a level akin to what the likes of others are getting wild praise for. it delivers a higher graphical bar, better music and more story depth than it probably should. We recommend you stick with it as DontNod are proving to be story telling mavericks with this shocking episode climax.
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