Life is Strange episode 1 introduced us to the supernatural tale of Max Caulfield, who despite her seemingly normal appearance, has the ability to rewind time. After 5 years of being away from her hometown she returns to see that while things seem fine on the surface, the town of Arcadia Bay has many secrets, and Max is the only one that has the power to uncover the truth and stop an impending disaster. Episode 1 was a great introduction into the world of Life is Strange and it did a fantastic job of establishing its characters and their everyday interactions. Episode 2 looks to build on top of that great foundation, and for the most part, it succeeds in doing that.
The story this time around focuses much more on the relationship between estranged best friends, Max and Chloe. After the ending of the first episode 1, Chloe learns of Max’s power and the two becomes much closer as a result of this. While Max is still trying to figure out through random online searches and websites how and why exactly she has this power, Chloe is intent on forcing Max to use her powers for fun instead of worrying about it. True to her character, Chloe forces Max to loosen up a bit and for much of the episode, the two bond over some sweet and intense interactions that I won’t spoil in this review.
Outside of the BFF’s domain, we still have moments where we’re able to interact with other characters that were introduced in the first episode. While we only got glimpses into the lives of these troubled teenagers at first, episode 2 quickly escalates things from intriguing to downright shocking. From using drugs to manipulate someone into having sex to suicide, the secrets and events that unfold is certainly not what I expected. Some of these plot points take a back seat to Max and Chloe’s arc of the story though, which is unfortunate as I much more wanted to know what exactly is going on underneath the facade of this deceptively simple town.
Max learns of the limitations of her powers and how it’s slowly starting to affect her well-being. The red overlay that appears when you’ve used your time rewinding power too much seems to be of actual detriment to her and I actually found myself worrying about her future. The limits of her power plays into the story in a huge and absolutely artistic and stunning way which leads to an intense climax that will most definitely punish players that have not been taking note of the story. My advice is, explore every nook and cranny and make sure you’re paying close attention to a particularly troubled teen.
For the most part, the pacing felt extremely off. Half the episode focused mostly on Max and Chloe, which is great and some of the character interaction therein were amazing too, but a lot of it just felt meaningless and felt more like needless padding that wasn’t really fun to watch or play. The only real puzzles (if I can even call it that) this time around was a silly memory game that had Max guessing what was in Chloe’s pocket and a little scavenger hunt. There was another short scene that was actually fun and heart racing but it happens so quickly that it’ll be over before you know it. These all make contextual sense in the game, and there is nothing fundamentally wrong with it, but there is nothing fun about it either. It wouldn’t have been an issue if the game doesn’t throw some absolutely amazing moments at you and you’re left wondering why there aren’t more of those.
The presentation is still very consistent, carrying over both the amazing art style and outstanding sound design. The music is as superb as ever and I found myself again just sitting and listening to the tracks that were playing. Voice acting is still really good but it also suffers from the same awkward dialogue that plagued the first episode. Despite those minor gripes, I have little to fault with the overall look and sound and I hope they continue the inclusion of these great songs in future episodes.
Last Updated: April 2, 2015