After a long time filled with teasers, a free-to-play prequel (sort of) and even more teasers, Life is Strange 2 is finally coming out on Friday. The first game was a critical success and received nothing but praise from its fans, thanks to an engaging story and gameplay driven by choice and emotion. Add to the mix some relatable and memorable characters against a beautiful backdrop of Arcadia, and it’s not hard to understand the love for the game.
Continuing the same formula, Life is Strange 2 revolves around the lives of two brothers, Sean, who is 16 years old, and his 9 year old brother, Daniel. You play as Sean, who has a crush on a girl and is looking forward to meeting her at a party. Naturally, he doesn’t have any game so he enlists the help of his close friend, Lyla, to make sure he doesn’t screw things up. Meanwhile, the brother is in his room, concocting some wild Halloween scheme, which Sean soon discovers, is fake zombie blood.
While he’s busy talking to Lyla, he notices his not so friendly neighbourhood friend bullying Daniel. Rushing to his defense, you find out that Daniel accidentally spilled the fake blood on his shirt. Things get a little rough, and he pushes the other kid to the ground, rendering him unconscious. A cop arrives on the scene, seeing the blood and points a gun at the brothers. Their dad follows in, seeing the ruckus, and tries to stop the policeman. It all takes a turn for the worse as the cop pulls the trigger, shooting their dad in the chest and the boys can barely react because at that very moment the neighbourhood is hit by a supernatural storm of sorts. Another trailer reveals that the storm is actually an ability, similar to the first game where Max had the ability to turn back time. Now, the boys are on the run and the game is all about their journey and the consequent turmoil.
The game focuses heavily on choice and emotions, and while the story revolves around brotherhood, it’s about much more. As seen in the trailer, the boys and their father are Mexican, and the altercation occurs with a young, white cop. The game might have an interesting take on issues regarding race and immigration, given the sociopolitical conditions in America these days, especially surrounding immigration and separation of families. Here’s what the Michel Koch, the game’s co-director ,told Eurogamer about this, “I think they’re different to the usual ‘white dudes’ you find in video games. Not that those characters are bad, we definitely could have a good Life is Strange game with a ‘white dude.’ With Sean and Daniel, their father, where they come from, we have a lot of interesting mechanics and dynamics, some new social themes we can bring in and show to players to bring to light.”
Even in the previous game, the studio was praised in how it dealt with social themes like this, where the players had the freedom to perceive Max and Chloe’s relationship as a romantic one. According to Engadget, here’s what Dontnod writer Jean-Luc Cano had to say, “It’s about society. For sure, there is some link to the actuality of this happening all around the world now, in France and the United States. So yes, it’s something we want to talk [about] because it’s happening every day to a lot of people. It’s important for us to be linked with a realistic universe.”
For those wondering, the game will be connected to the first Life is Strange and The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. If you missed it, The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is a short, free demo that was released back in June. You play as 9 year old Chris Eriksen, who has wild imaginative powers and fights monster appliances. You will meet this kid in Life is Strange 2 as well, though the developers haven’t exactly revealed how the three games will be interconnected. What makes the whole thing interesting is that the final choice you make in Life is Strange results in some serious, world-changing consequences, which can have a huge impact on the brothers’ journey.
So, unfortunately, that leaves us with a lot more questions than we’d like. Will we see Max and Chloe? Which of the two brothers has the supernatural power? Also, if Max is there, can the two combine their powers and create a time-bending storm? I guess we’ll have to wait and find out.
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