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Video Game Review: Life is Strange 2, Episode 5

December 10, 2019 | by Mike Chen | Comments Comments Off on Video Game Review: Life is Strange 2, Episode 5
Life is Strange 2, Episode 5End of the road.

Please note that since each episode of Life is Strange 2 features the same graphics engine and control setup, those elements will not be repeated in our reviews for the final four episodes. To read our complete thoughts on that, refer to our review of Episode 1, Roads.

It’s been a long road — literally — for Sean and Daniel in Life Is Strange 2. The final episode, Wolves, brings that to a conclusion. With seven different endings, it’s hard to create a definitive stance on the game, but that’s part of the series’ beauty.

From the get go, gameplay has been about choices and the impact of those choices between brothers. As Sean tries his best to be a role model under unthinkable circumstances — and as he tries to recover during moments of separation — the game offers a very unique blend of grounded emotion and clever speculation, with ripple effects creating a sense of “oh no, this is happening” in the best way.

Specifically, the episode picks up with the brothers in the desert commune known as Nowhere. Daniel is beginning to shed the brainwashing of the previous episode as the two brothers attempt to rebuild their relationship.

That’s the starting point. The journey itself through the episode can lead down wildly different paths, and Dontnod has done a superb job of integrating the ripples of all of your previous choices. The result is a concluding episode that truly feels like a series capper, a magnifying glass of the relationship you’ve attempted to build from the first moments of the series. How that resonates will depend on if the brother dynamic works for you, especially compared to the more singularly driven high-school drama of the first Life is Strange.

What have you taught Daniel about adversity? About compassion? About anger and revenge? About the cruelty and beauty of life? All of these choices echo throughout, funneling down into the end sequence that, at its best, is both bittersweet and hopeful — as hopeful as it can be under this circumstances.

For this narrative, though, it has fulfilled its promise. And it’s gone about it in a very smart way considering it’s a sequel series. By carrying on the core themes and feelings from the first Life is Strange but utilizing a completely different dynamic, it has achieved a stark differentiation while building its own identity in the realm of interactive fiction.

OVERALL (4/5)

Life Is Strange 2‘s final episode offers a true tally of your choices throughout the series, all with strong writing and performances among seven varied possibilities. Your mileage may vary, but as a sum total, Dontnod’s sequel series really is better — and more independent, in a good way — than it has any right to be.

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Video Game Review: Death Stranding

November 18, 2019 | by Mike Chen | Comments Comments Off on Video Game Review: Death Stranding
This mechanic differentiates it from the otherwise standard third-person controls, and because they don’t snap to a targeting reticule or trigger pool, it’s hard to really assign how sharp they are other than they seem effective. There are traditional weapons and melee combat, and these are all effective, though not groundbreaking in any way.
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Video Game Review: Life is Strange 2, Episode 4

August 28, 2019 | by Mike Chen | Comments Comments Off on Video Game Review: Life is Strange 2, Episode 4
This change in dynamic alters how you play the game. In previous episodes, your choices — and how they affected your younger brother — were a constant cloud lingering over practically every action. Did you teach Daniel to be a practical survivor? Did you teach him empathy at all costs? Did you teach him aggression, sacrifice, and other traits?
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Video Game Review: The Fate of Atlantis: Torment of Hades DLC

June 10, 2019 | by Mike Chen | Comments (0)
No, literally. Instead of heaven, you’re going to hell, with all the requisite fire and brimstone.
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Video Game Review: Life is Strange 2, Episode 3

May 20, 2019 | by Mike Chen | Comments (0)
All of this comes in a package that is a little shorter than the previous episodes in the series, and the attention is split in two different ways. Of course, the relationship between Sean and Daniel is there, but that occasionally takes a backseat to new secondary characters. In fact, sometimes the story drifts into a focus on these new characters out in parts of California that are a far cry from Los Angeles or San Francisco.
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