Life is Strange, as a series, has lofty expectations to reach. Not only does the first season hold a dear place in many people's hearts, but the first episode of Life is Strange 2 raised the stakes with its portrayal of Mexican-Americans living in a society that doesn't welcome them. Since then, the Diaz brothers have faced numerous trials, leading to a new life in Episode 3. Does this episode keep up with the high standards Dontnod has set for themselves, and does it set the way towards the conclusion of these brothers' tale?
What about the review for Episode 2?
RPG Site didn’t get a chance to review episode 2 of Life is Strange 2 when it came out--January was just a busy time! But, I’ll say the Life is Strange Episode 2 is similar to most second episodes for narrative adventures. It’s more toned down than the first episode (aside from a rather gruesome situation near the beginning), and at some points just feels like an excuse to shoehorn content from the free side-story The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. Episode 2 ultimately felt a little like fluff, but maybe it’ll come into play later in the series.
Now, to Episode 3.
Episode 3 takes place a few weeks after Episode 2’s finale, where Sean and Daniel fled Beaver Creek. They hook up with a group of drifters, and by the episode’s start, the two have been working in an illegal pot farm.
It’s clear this isn’t the best environment for the boys, but it’s also a way for Sean to make money while not drawing attention. But the relationship between the two is clearly strained. Daniel appears to be angry at Sean, and one of the drifters has taken Daniel under his wing as a surrogate brother.
Throughout the episode, you learn more about the drifters that take you in, with the relationships and tension you explore in Episode 3 culminate to an explosive conclusion. If nothing else, Episode 4 is bound to be full of heartache and drama.
But that’s in the future, and despite the end-of-episode setup, Episode 3 feels a bit lacking. The time skip doesn’t work well to the narrative’s advantage--it’s clear that Sean has begun to form bonds with the drifters, but we only see snippets of conversations throughout the episode. There are a few nice moments, like when everyone is gathered around the fire talking about their pasts, but Episode 3 feels shorter than Episode 2 and these new set of characters don’t get ample screen time before the game moves on.
The time skip doesn’t help to explain Daniel’s disdain towards his brother. Granted, any nine-year-old in such a stressful position is sure to lash out, but it seems even the best intentions seem to go awry in this episode. As much as I did everything to appease Daniel’s moodiness and loneliness, it didn’t seem to matter at the end. It felt like I could have instead ignored Daniel the entire episode for the same (and considering how my conclusion played out, probably better) result, and to me, that’s a failing in the narrative.
It’s frustrating, as while I don’t expect Daniel to be an obedient little brother, dealing with his constant outbursts and blatantly disregarding Sean began to grate during Episode 3. It’s hard to tell what the problem stems from, really, but Daniel consistently puts the Diaz brothers in danger with his clear refusal to hide his powers. It makes the lead-up to the finale of the episode all the more infuriating, as I had to run off yet again to save my little brother from can only be described as a horribly bad idea.
But maybe feeling that frustration is the point, as the episode begins with a flashback before the incident when Sean has to make amends with Daniel after a petty argument. But regardless, I don’t feel Episode 3 pulls it off well. I’m supposed to care about the drifters, which would make the ending of the episode all the more harrowing, but I never got enough time with them to care. Still, Episode 4 will be sure to strain some heartstrings, and in hindsight will probably make this episode a bit better, when it releases.
Versions tested: PC