Games can be a powerful emotive tool when they are designed to be so, bare that in mind here as I tackle the second episode of the Life Is Strange series by DONTNOD Entertainment. There was a fair bit of hype for the opener and I think we can all agree that it delivered, but that surely raised the stakes for the follow-up episode “Out of Time”. Without any further delay let’s find out how it did…
I don’t want to get ahead of myself but I must say it did pretty darn well.
By now you should have played episode one and so anything I mention in regards to that I won’t consider to be a spoiler. Speaking of which, in hindsight that episode only served to lift a small amount of layers off a number of characters whom have many more to peel away. That is seen clearly in “Episode 2: Out of Time” because almost everyone you think you know will probably alter your perspective of them this time, or in rare cases cement your thoughts on them being exactly what they seemed.
Max and Chloe are best friends re-united and whilst some things don’t change, it’s quite clear from what we’ve already seen that Chloe has become a bit of a handful. Now she knows about the super power Max possesses, those dynamics are set to change again and with any form of time meddling there’s always consequences. Elsewhere in this episode we find out how Nathan reacts to Max’s accusations, whether her other friend Kate ever cheers up and will Victoria still be the biggest bitch on campus or not?
This is where Life Is Strange excels once more on the story front and how certain relationships will develop or crumble in a typical teenage world, minus the ability to rewind time of course. In fact if there weren’t any extraordinary powers involved I still think it’d be great as a tale on its own. What the rewind effect at times does show us though, is that no matter how much power you can have in the world, sometimes there are no right answers in life and you can’t please everyone.
Even though I believe the story itself is the star of this show, they have made the time travel a more prominent feature this time. The only negative side to that was that some of these parts dragged on a little because there were things to remember, too many for me to remember the first or even second time I rewound time. Still, having more “puzzles” to solve wasn’t a bad thing on the whole and I guess they are trying to find a happy balance.
With the majority of the Blackwell Campus discovered already it was refreshing to not spend as much time there this time around. Gamers get to see more sights from Arcadia Bay, some less desirable than others, but all have an abundance of tidbits to take a look at which can give even more insight into the state of the town and for the keen eyes amongst you, there are pieces of information which may help understand characters better.
There are a lot of deep issues going on around Max, as if she didn’t have enough to deal with on her own. Interestingly the developers have pulled no punches on the issues they’ve decided to tackle and we’re not even halfway through the journey. “Out of Time” brings a realistic look at teenage life, in the way that lives can spiral out of control in an instant, either at their own hands or someone else’s. I left this episode with my mind working overtime, it had me asking questions of society in general and despite thoroughly enjoying what was offered here, I had a rather gloomy state thrust upon me.
Although it seldom makes me laugh, I always feel a connection with the characters featured in Life Is Strange, even if I can’t fully relate. This leads to me being sort of emotionally in sync with what is happening and for that I commend the creators of the game, especially this episode “Out of Time”.
It looks like there are more consequences on the way for episode three, not just from changing time but also from the build up of tension between many different characters. I’ll be waiting for May to come around to get my hands on it and I might need a box of tissues too if it carries on the same!