Having played through the first episode of Square Enix’s new title Life is Strange, I have to say I like the idea of playing through a game in multiple parts the same way I’d follow the first season of a new TV show. The first installment did its job in getting me hooked into the world and characters and now Episode Two: Out of Time shows me just a little more about the series’s premise.
After saving her friend Chloe from a storm and revealing her time-rewinding power, Max continues to investigate the strange things going on in Arcadia Bay and specifically at Blackwell Academy. While Chloe is all-too-eager to test out Max’s powers, Max herself begins to see the price she has to pay for them. Not to mention the fact that she’s trying hard to support her classmate Kate Marsh, whose life continues a potentially fatal downward spiral.
So what does Episode Two: Out of Time have to offer?
More Max and Chloe being awesome together.
After getting past the awkward reunion of Episode One, it’s nice to see a more casual interaction between Max and Chloe. Little in-jokes, shared memories, and two girls playing around a junkyard–it’s a warm little relationship that keeps the plot going. Even when you make choices that upset Chloe, she never stays mad at Max for too long (or else she’s doing a good job of covering it up with her devil-may-care attitude).
Chloe’s very unstable lifestyle.
Between conflicts with her mother and stepfather, being 3,000 dollars in debt, and getting busted for smoking pot, Chloe is not an easygoing as she thinks she is. And while I liked testing out Max’s powers with her, it became clear that Chloe really goes off the deep end around Max, especially when Max is trying to balance her friendship with Kate Marsh and triyng to do the right thing in other cases. I get that Chloe is supposed to be more radical than Max, but there were times where not going along with her gut reaction seemed like the smarter choice to make, though only future game episodes will bear that out.
Kate Marsh’s sad journey.
Perhaps even more heartbreaking than watching Chloe’s initial death in the first episode is the long, sad tale of Max’s classmate Kate Marsh. Plagued by a viral video and the aggressive hounding of David the security guard, Kate is driven to her breaking point. As Max, you have the power to intervene for good in Kate’s life or to brush off her concerns. However, this all leads to a very sad climax—and whatever choice you make in the finale of this episode will affect Kate’s life forever. However, it is possible to have a good ending with Kate, provided you treat her like a friend in every way possible (to say anymore would spoil the whole episode).
Paranoia about the rest of the cast.
Max continues to explore the mystery of Rachel Amber’s disappearance and the horrible secrets of the Vortex Club. What this leads to is a series of confrontations and speculations about who’s responsible for Rachel disappearing and for whatever else is being hushed up. Obviously, aggressive types like Nathan Prescott and David are prime suspects, but not even Max’s idol Mark Jefferson is immune from the occasional odd behavior. Perhaps all of them are red herrings, but it still makes me vigilant about every character interaction and whatever clues to the truth are floating around.
On the whole, I really enjoyed the second part of Life is Strange, especially when I could help out poor Kate Marsh and talk to random strangers on the street. While I wasn’t as thrilled with some established characters like Chloe and Warren, I liked their roles in Max’s journey and hope to see where else this strange road is leading.
Life is Strange Episode Two: Out of Time is available for purchase and download through Steam. The following episode will be released around June of this year.
Bibliography: Life is Strange Episode Two: Out of Time. Developed by DONTNOD Entertainment. Published by Square Enix. Directed by Raoul Barbet and Michel Koch. Produced by Luc Baghadoust. Designed by Baptiste Moisan, Sebastien Judit, and Sebastien Gaillard. Art by Amaury Balandier. Written by Christian Divine. Unreal Engine 3 (engine). Microsoft Windows; PlayStation 3, Playstation 4; Xbox One, Xbox 360. Original release date: March 24, 2015.