Life is Strange 2 shows us just how strange life can be when having to deal with politics, teenagers and the supernatural. This game is a beautiful amalgamation of issues to do with the supernatural as well as the all too natural occurrences of day to day life.
In this sequel the player is cast as Sean Diaz, an American citizen of Mexican descent who lives in Seattle with his little brother, Daniel, and his Father, Esteban. This at first made many fans of the series worried because the game was following an entirely different protagonist from that of the first game, but it’s safe to say that the game still retains the feeling of the first, and these new characters are worthy additions.
Sean is an artsy and athletic teen who has a tight relationship with his father and brother as well as Lyla, his best friend. The game starts out with typical life scenes to introduce the character to the player, which enables the player to understand what type of person Sean is right away.
The story starts off with Lyla and Sean planning for a party as well as Lyla planning to hook Sean up with his crush, Jenn. This gives the player some time with Lyla and Sean and also allows them to relate to the two teenagers and to show the strong relationship they have. The beginning seamlessly introduces the player to the characters without making them seem foreign. They are made to seem as though you’ve known them forever.
Sean also has the typical big brother relationship with Daniel, this relationship being the main one throughout the game. Being an older brother myself, I can say that the developers do a really great job at making the connection between the two feel real as they irritate and annoy each other but still love one another deep down. This relationship is brought to the forefront of the story as everyday life quickly gets flipped on its head.
The first conflict occurs as Sean’s next door neighbor begins yelling and threatening Daniel because he spilled his fake blood on him by accident. Sean steps into action and defends his little brother as the neighbor gets more and more furious and begins the first of many racially fueled arguments. He tells Sean to “go back to his own country” and even calls Daniel a retard.
The argument breaks out into a fight and Sean knocks his neighbor down to the ground, paralyzing him accidentally. A police officer comes and sees Sean and Daniel standing over him with the fake blood on his shirt. The officer then pulls his gun on the two and orders them to put their hands behind their heads. This is another point of racial profiling as he is even more frantic and terrified as their father comes out and tries to talk to him. The officer then shoots Esteban and is almost instantly flung backwards by a strange blast.
The brothers are then placed into the main point of the game; they have to find out how to survive and help each other through this disaster, with their father being dead and Daniel having to cope with this strange power. This is where more gameplay occurs as well as you having to make choices that will have an effect on the world and how Daniel may act in the future.
The game has a nice pacing to it, with a road trip-esque feel resulting in the player never being in one place for too long. This also provides some down time for the characters to bond and some fast-paced, hectic action that puts quick thinking and decision making into play. The game introduces new game play mechanics such as more availability to choose your story and some smaller games like the new drawing mini game that doesn’t always work correctly but is a nice addition.
There is extensive background content that can be obtained as well, including phone messages, a personal journal and small trinkets and items that can be picked up on the way. Sean almost always has something to comment on as well. Whether it be something important or something minuscule, he always has input, which really makes him seem like an actual person.
The game maintains a good balance between the supernatural and natural problems they have to face. There is a sense of magical realism with the powers being only a small part of their problems. More genuine problems occur as a result of racism, with someone even threatening to call ICE on them at one point.
Overall, Life is Strange 2 is shaping up to be a good game with an excellent focus on storytelling while balancing gameplay into a solely narrative game. Hopefully the studio will continue to delve deep into these real world issues involving race and show us more situations that the brothers can get out of. I am excited for more episodes to arise and hopefully they can continue this emotional roller coaster of a story and bring even more tears to my eyes.