Brothers to the end !
When Life is Strange's first cycle was released in 2015, no one could have predicted that Dontnod, an almost unknown small French studio with a remarkable past, would deliver one of the best interactive games of the generation. Despite its initial missteps, overall it was sweet, intensely emotional, with strong personalities and a wonderful story to deal with. Not just with characters. A story without winners and heroes.
Life is Strange was about everyday people with problems and worries who are just trying to survive and understand their place in the world. This humanity and honesty between them was the reason that made me fall in love with it. The basis of Life is Strange 2 remains the same. However, it is a completely different story, it deals with different issues, it has different goals and its characters have different problems and demons to deal with. Nevertheless, from the first moment, it gives the player the feeling that he is playing Life is Strange. What is certain is that if one tries to compare them or has the impression that he will experience something similar to the first one, will be disappointed.
The story of Life is Strange 2 does not take on a dark or mysterious twist like Max's, but it has its own character. The script is solid, with the studio's intentions for tough and painful decisions be clear from the first minutes. It is more about the relationship between the two brothers who turn into fugitives, putting aside the drama and the trivial clichés. It essentially calls on a sixteen-year-old child to leave his life behind, grow up abruptly, and take care of his little brother.
Life is Strange 2 is a difficult escape journey with a strong political tone that reflects the current immigration problem in America and racism. Although very easily it can be accused by some of propaganda, Dontnod skillfully puts the player in the place of two innocent children who are experiencing tough events and social cruelty for the first time. Without having political or religious beliefs or being able to realize that a section of society separates people based on their background, the studio is not afraid to treat them inhumanly.
But, the essence of Life is Strange 2 is neither in the surrounding characters, nor in the main target, nor in the "supernatural" element that accompanies the series. It has to do with family. How far can the protagonist go to protect the people he loves and what boundaries or barriers will he break down to do so. At this point, the player is responsible for his actions, through the decisions he will make, without being clear what the outcome will be, except at the end and without even having the option to simply change the outcome. And that's exactly where Life is Strange 2 stands out not only from the first season, but also from all the other games of the genre. Whatever you do, whatever decision you make, things will get out of hand. It is not clear that a decision you make at a specific time will affect the future and what effect it will have on your little brother.
Teaching him, for example, that family is above all, is certainly a noble goal, but what happens when it conflicts with moral rules and the law? The journey in the game is a continuous effort to educate Daniel. We may make decisions or set rules for little Daniel about what to do and what not to do, but as a child he does not even say that he will follow them. Mistakes are made. Especially for Sean, who is essentially another child who found himself overnight in a position that forced him to become abruptly responsible. The attitude we will have towards Daniel after a disobedience, greatly affects the relationship they have, but also that they will have from episode to episode.
As I said before, Life is Strange 2 is different from Max's story. The story of the Diaz brothers is much more human, much harsher and in my opinion more mature. This is something you don't understand at first, but when you reach the end.
The Diaz brothers' story closes in five different ways and depends entirely on the choices we make throughout the season. In terms of graphics, Unreal Engine 4 offered a magical effect that from episode to episode you could see to improve significantly. Some technical problems here and there like small glitches, but nothing tragic. Lip-sync is quite satisfactory. The surroundings are wonderful and the camera shots combined with the musical investment of Jonathan Morali, especially in some very emotional moments, will make you love it.
Watch the trailer below!
Dontnod in Life is Strange 2 has chosen to represent the events with cruelty, exposing modern social problems in such a way that it makes you feel uncomfortable and often suffocating. Undoubtedly, if you try to compare it or you have the impression that you will experience something similar to the first, you will be disappointed. The story of the Diaz brothers, however, is more human, much harsher, more mature and certainly more realistic. It is a journey with a specific destination, but on a road full of obstacles, conflicts, responsibilities and characters with unknown motives that come and go. It's a miniature of life's journey. That's why Life is Strange 2 makes it easy for someone to identify emotionally with its characters - as well as its small, seemingly insignificant moments - and therefore love it.
Tested on : PC
Developer : Dontnod Entertainment
Publisher : Square Enix
Available for : PC, PS4, Xbox One
Release date : 03-12-2019