All right, folks, here we are again with another Life is Strange, and this time it is number 2, under the franchise. I gotta say, I was a bit skeptical, not a lot, just a bit, however, this game kind of left me positively surprised. And this is a good thing, because I always say that it’s better to have low expectations and be positively surprised than boost your expectations sky high and then be disappointed.
Anyways, let’s begin by a few words about the little prologue separate venture, which supposedly leads into the second installment of the series. I’m talking about The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. I have to say, my interest was picked straight from this point and quite frankly I liked this slight adventure. The thing, which grabbed me was the level of detail in things you could do for the time it amounted and they were actually interesting.
So, you play with Chris, a 9-year old boy, who has quite the vivid imagination. He likes to escape reality, using his alter ego, that of super hero Captain Spirit. The story takes place on a day off, while you do all sorts of adventures with him and I do say, I was impressed with the details his mind would go to in order to immerse the player to his universe.
He lives with his father, who has an apparent drinking problem and let’s be real, the moment he picked up that bottle, I knew something would go wrong … eventually. At breakfast you talk about getting a Christmas tree, but your dad tells you that he wants to watch the basketball game and if he is to fall asleep, you should wake him up. And while he goes and does that … with a bottle of alcohol (cuz yeah, what could go wrong), we are set off to our awesome adventures.
Basically the game gives us a list of activities we can do and honestly, I have no idea how much are needed before your dad falls asleep, because the actual “waking him up” action, is what progresses the story, leading it to the rather not so pleasant ending. Anyways, I did everything and here are stuff like, build up a costume for your superhero persona, which actually differs depending on how you drew it at the beginning of the game. Yeah, the options aren’t that varied, however, I fell satisfied with what was present. Then we battle a few super-villains, find us a treasure and as a finale, we can go face off our arch nemesis. These are the stuff why I say that this little dude has such a vivid imagination, because the “worlds” he goes to in his head, are amazingly detailed and immersive. And the amount of little details that went into this game, for what it is, are just stunning.
Anyways, we end up waking out dad, he ends up being a d*ck, blaming us for the death of our mom, which we find more about throughout the game, we run off to our cool tree house to vent there and discover our “super powers” I guess.
Okay, so I’ve read here and there that this will be tightly linked to Life is Strange 2, choice-wise. For the moment, after playing the first episode, which we shall begin talking about shortly, the only connection I saw were the powers, which one of the characters experienced, being similar to those of Chris, I suppose. As to choices, which, how, what and why, I still have no idea.
In the actual Life is Strange 2, we play as Sean Diaz (16), a normal teenage boy, who is living through the mundanities of teenage life with his family, consisting of his little brother Daniel (9) and his dad Esteban. There is a reason I am emphasizing their age, by the way. And everything so normal and fine, as the game leads us through the calm before the storm. To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting the storm to hit so early and the game to hit such a turning point, or as I like to say, escalate so quickly, this soon. So, what exactly happens?
We start off, planning to go on a party with our best friend Lyla, also preparing to get laid by our crush … supposedly … as we get some needed “supplies”. This is actually where I made my first stupid decision … damn, why did I take the beer? But how could I have known. So, we skype with Lyla to talk about some stuff, but we hear Daniel getting into trouble outside, and we go checking on him. Turns out he was being bullied by the neighboring boy, which I can only assume was our age and also a total sh*thead. Of course, I stood up for my lil’ bro, even if he is a pain sometimes, because that racist little sh*t was annoying the hell out of me and we ended up in a fight. And then the police had to come and make it all even more ridiculously racist and stupid. I mean, who in their right mind, would point a gun at a 9-year-old … f*cking disgusting decision-making. Don’t mind me, I just hate racism. And yeah, our dad comes out to sort it out and he gets shot … nice. Daniel flips and boom, we first “see” his powers here. When Sean wakes up, he sees everyone unconscious or dead (to be honest, I didn’t get whether the other boy or the police officer were dead, but oh well, if they were, then they deserved it, if not, too bad), so he panics, takes his fainted little brother and runs away.
This is where the actual journey begins as the two are left to survive on their own, not knowing what the world has in store for them, and to be fair, their ethnicity doesn’t really make their situation better. I don’t know, man, I mean I can never understand what makes racist people’s brains click.
Anywho, we travel along a road and our first stop is a campsite, which we spend the night at. Here, the supplies we got for the supposed party earlier are what we make do with … yes, this is why I’m a retard for taking the beer and not the soda. At least I was honest with my dad and I got 40 bucks instead of 20. We survive and move on to a gas station, where we have to secure food and drinks for ourselves. Okay, this pissed me off. So here I was, inside, facing the dilemma of my inbuilt moral system, whether I should steal something or not and I ended up with getting food and paying for it, all while securing free water from the bathroom in the back. I did wanna steal the sweater for Daniel, just so he wouldn’t be so cold and come on, man, it was 70 dollars, or something along those lines … for a dumb sweater … Anyways, I was minding my own business as a nice American citizen and the owner of the store comes back and flips out on me, accusing me of stealing stuff. And his dumb wife is even dumber, because she saw me pay for it and she didn’t say anything. This is one of the moments, which I think should have had a difference whether you actually steal something or not, also I don’t think it matters that much whether you try to reason with the guy, try to run or fight him, because you will end up kidnapped anyways and your little brother will run away. Damn it, old racist c*nt, you have a thing for Mexican guts, huh? He punched a 16-years old boy. This was one of the reasons I emphasized on their age, because who, the hell, does these things.
Well, we escape, and I gave that old man a piece of my mind … even if that was a bad thing to do, he basically earned it. And if it didn’t matter whether I was a good person and paid for everything, then I might as well take what we needed to survive … again, even if that was a morally bad decision to make. Then this cool dude, that we met at the gas station, Brody helps us out to escape, rents a room for us, gives us some money and a few pieces of advice and now off we are with the hardship of having to tell Daniel the truth about our dad’s death and what happened in Seattle. Unfortunately, he finds out on his own, via the news and his powers kind of manifest visually for us, for the first time, but we manage to calm him down.
After that, the next day, we catch a bus, going south and it’s pretty much to be continued…
I like this game. Yeah, it frustrates me with the theme of racism, but I like the main characters way more than I did in the first installment and Before the Storm. I also think the story themes are better. Oh, and another thing I find really great, actually, is how Sean and Daniel interact with each other and how as a big brother you are supposed to teach him things and he actually remembers everything … even the bad things, cuz he steals a toy from Brody, if we steal. Okay, in my defense, that racist gas station owner had it coming … I paid for my food! And with that in mind, I found myself hyper aware of Daniel, because the game actively puts you in the spot of “hey, well, it’s just the two of you now and you are the big brother and you have to take care of him now”. I like that. It adds weight into the decisions you make, because you know that now, they will not only affect you, but you brother as well.
In terms of gameplay, the game is pretty much as it was before. Whenever the game gives you the chance, you can go and explore and click on things, but the good thing here is that you can actively discuss stuff with Daniel. I still haven’t seen possibly what the game’s unique mechanic might be, maybe something related to Daniel’s power. I do remember in Captain Spirit, you could choose when to use your power, even if then it was just imaginary usage. It would be amazing if the game gives you such power and lets you decide when to use it and when not.
The last thing we gonna talk about are decisions. Choices … I have mixed feelings from this episode’s choices. I feel like they don’t impact me as much. Let’s take the choice with the old gas station owner for example. You have 3 choices there – to attack him (which I was actually tempted to do, but I know better), to flee or to try and talk with him. That choice was a bit disappointing, because no matter what you pick, the outcome is exactly the same – Sean gets punched in the gut and gets kidnapped, while Daniel manages to escape. Same with that bully in the beginning of the game. Doesn’t matter if you question Daniel or step up for him … outcome is the same. The last choice of the game, where you choose to call Layla or not. I’ll be honest, I don’t know what happens if you call her, probably talk about stuff, but I feel like that choice had little effect this episode, so hopefully, it will come to bite us back later. What I do like about minor choices is that they are spread all over the episode in the form of normal dialogue and they impact the game in small ways. Every time the two running wolves icon appears – that is a choice, and it will have consequences. Also, I love the fact that the game provides you with the option to steal, not because I love doing it, but it kind of puts you in that moral dilemma situation of “doing the wrong thing, for the right purposes … occasionally”.
Verdict time! I can give this an 8/10. Yeah, why not. It was a good start to the second installment of the Life is Strange franchise and I am actually looking very optimistic about this game. Hopefully, it will not only keep up with this pace, but get even better. Life is strange 1 had this downfall of starting out strong and finishing as a tired horse … I really hope this isn’t the case for Life is Strange 2.
I do need to specify though, the verdicts below are for Life is Strange 2, Episode 1 and NOT for The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit.