PLENTY OF EMOTION
Life is Strange’s Episode Two: Out of Time is the second episode in DONTNOD‘s new series. In our review of Episode One: Chrysalis, we mentioned that the first episode was merely a decent start for the overarching plot. It is finally within the second episode that the series makes a turn for the better. Unburdened with introducing the major characters in this episode, the writers were able to craft the story to have some of the most remarkable moments yet.
Episode Two: Out of Time begins the following day after the events of Chrysalis, and now there are many questions regarding the origins of Max’s new powers and how it connects to her visions of impending doom for the small town of Arcadia Bay. To top it off, she also still has to deal with the daily routines and consistent drama of high school in the meantime of figuring it all out. As a result, even though a large percentage of the plot centers on discovering the true extent of Max’s powers, the consistent nature of teen drama grounds the overall story and allowed DONTNOD to delve into some heavy topics further into the episode. Several of these topics, such as depression and drug abuse, are fairly common in high school, so it is not entirely surprising for the developers to eventually touch upon them.
As with the first episode, DONTNOD’s unique visual style and choice of soundtrack continues to make Life is Strange stand out from its direct competition. Many scenes are visually striking and its generally aesthetically pleasing atmosphere made me forget at times I was even playing a game, which in this case was not a bad thing. Combined with a remarkable choice in background music, it gave certain key scenes an incredible, emotional impact to drive the plot forward.
Where this episode truly shines, however, are the moments where the plot takes the time to actually slow down and allows the player to connect with the characters. These periods of time are truly Life is Strange’s bread and butter. By interacting with the characters and taking your time in each environment, DONTNOD created a second layer of choices to further personalize each player’s experience in the game. In the first episode, this nuanced storytelling was likely missed by many who decided to rush through the story. In this episode, the results of these decisions start to come to the forefront and are not so easy to ignore anymore. Without spoiling too much, one of the greatest examples of the small decisions making an impact is when everything came together for the climax near the finale.
The Verdict: 8.7 out of 10
Life is Strange’s second episode is a welcome improvement from DONTNOD’s shaky first installment in the series. An emphasis on a slower plot and the tackling of heavy topics such as depression and drug abuse resulted in an engaging story throughout. In tandem with even more visually striking scenes and a remarkable soundtrack, Life is Strange is quickly becoming a strong contender for one of the most memorable games of the year.
For more information about what the score means, check out our official review scale.