DONTNOD Entertainment has released the first episode, Roads, of Life is Strange 2, the sequel to their 2015 hit Life is Strange. Rather than continuing the story of Max Caufield, DONTNOD decided to go another route completely and focus on new characters in the same world. It’s a bold choice, as Max was such a beloved character and the first game was excellent, but her story was over. To continue Max’s story, whose journey had ended, would have been the safe choice. DONTNOD took a risk and managed to create a different kind of story in the sequel, while still staying true to the tone of the series and showing that, well, life is…strange.

Life is Strange 2 Episode 1 Review

The story in Life is Strange 2 focuses on Sean Diaz and his brother Daniel after tragedy forces them to abandon their lives and go on the run. At its core, Life is Strange 2 is about brotherhood. Having a brother who is eight years younger than me myself, I could relate to Sean on so many different levels. Daniel can be annoying at times, and you can tease him if you so choose, but as much as he may act otherwise Daniel looks up to Sean. Sean’s actions have a tangible impact on Daniel.

Life is Strange 2 Episode 1 Review

At the end of the day, the two of them share an incredibly strong bond. That’s what makes Life is Strange 2 so special. Your choices influence Daniel’s actions, the way every older brother affects their younger brother. This is the main gameplay mechanic in Roads. in ways we haven’t even begun to see yet, The story does tackle social issues, such as racism, police brutality, and even current-event politics, but it does so with tact and humility. It never tries to tell you how to think. It simply looks at real-life problems with a real-life (metaphorically speaking at least) family.

Life is Strange 2 Episode 1 Review

Life is Strange 2 Episode 1 Review

Continuing in classic Life is Strange fashion, Life is Strange 2 does an excellent job of portraying teenage life in this day and age. It’s filled with references to music, novels (one of my personal favorites, Slaughterhouse-Five), film, and pop culture. It features both licensed music and a fitting score from Jonathan Morali, who composed the music for the first game. There are numerous collectibles that are hidden throughout the episode which are not easy to find and will take numerous playthroughs. There are a lot of things that can be missed, and seemingly insignificant choices you make early on drastically affect your situation down the line. There are some things I wish I would have done differently, which would have helped in terms of survival. Other choices I would have done differently because it left me full of regret. This gives the game a lot of replayability and it’s incredibly interesting to see how certain choices can cause things to change drastically depending on how you begin the game, or how you choose to interact with Daniel.

Life is Strange 2 Episode 1 Review

While the main gameplay mechanic in the first Life is Strange was supernatural in nature, the core mechanic in the second isn’t, though that’s not to say that the supernatural isn’t at work here. It definitely is. Keeping in line with the theme of brotherhood, it’s your interactions with Daniel that shape the essence of Life is Strange 2. Daniel looks up to you. Daniel will emulate your behavior and act vastly differently towards you depending on how you treat him. The choices shown to you at the end are broken down not just by what Sean chooses to do, but also what Daniel chooses to do. DONTNOD says that Sean’s impact on Daniel’s behavior will not only span within the same episodes, but across episodes in ways that we can’t even begin to imagine.

Life is Strange 2 Episode 1 Review

Life is Strange 2 maintains the same tone as Life is Strange, but is a very different kind of narrative. This keeps the series fresh. There are numerous easter eggs and references to Life is Strange, which is a nice touch. Roads ends on an emotionally gripping note with both an enormous reveal and a huge cliffhanger. It has the difficult job of laying a foundation for the story without revealing too much about where it’s heading. The relationships between the characters are the core of the first episode. Once again, Life is Strange has managed to create something truly special. There is nothing quite like Life is Strange 2 and similar to how the bond between Max and Chloe drove the original, the relationship between Sean and Daniel drives its sequel, with a twist.

Life has never been stranger in this crazy world we live in, but DONTNOD shows us, once again, how resilient people are and the true essence of the human spirit. It’s real, and the best adventure series of all-time (yes, even better than The Walking Dead.)

Note: This review is subject to change based on how the rest of the season plays out, as certain criticisms  (seen below) may be addressed.

Thank you Square Enix for providing VGCultureHQ with a copy of Life is Strange 2 for review purposes.

Life is Strange 2 Episode 1 Review - Brotherhood (Xbox One)
Life is Strange 2 follows the journey of Sean and Daniel Diaz as they are forced to flee their home. The core of the game is the relationship between the two brothers, and their bond will no doubt inform the shape of things to come. Once again DONTNOD shows us how strange life can be.
Overall Score8.5
Pros
  • The bond between Sean and Daniel
  • Interactions with Daniel which inform his behavior and attitudes.
  • An emotionally enticing narrative with twists and turns you won't see coming.
Cons
  • Daniel can get a bit annoying, but that's every little brother (there's about an eight-year age difference between Sean and Daniel)
  • Lack of impact from the first game's choices
8.5Great
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
0.0

About The Author

Founder/Editor-in-Chief

Morgan Lewis is a Video Game Journalist and is the Founder, Owner, and Editor-in-Chief of VGCultureHQ. He has been writing about games for over five years and has written over 1,500 articles during that timespan. He first fell in love with gaming when he received A Link to the Past for Christmas when he was six and is the guywazeldatatt. He also loves anime and anything that has to do with gaming culture and Tetsuya Takahashi games. He is also a huge anime and Star Wars fan.

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