The Life is Strange series has garnered a lot of acclaim for its focus on friendship, personal bonds, and relatable situations. Life is Strange 2 continues this theme by providing new characters, setting, and a massive calamity that destroys the world of 2 young kids. It’s full of emotional moments combined with situations of uncertainty that keeps the player wondering what to do in every branching option. Life is Strange 2 Episode 1: Roads provides an excellent opening and the start of something great.

Sean and Daniel

Life is Strange 2 stars Sean and Daniel, the sons of a hardworking father attempting to give his sons the best life possible. Right from the beginning you the developers capture the everyday life of an ordinary teenager. A best friend who mocks him, a father trying to be both a friend and a parent, and an annoying younger brother. Sean’s biggest problem is trying to impress his crush and get laid at an upcoming party. In a few short minutes, everything Sean loved and complained about gets destroyed.

Everything comes crashing down when a series of short unfortunate events causes a police officer, his neighbor, and his father deaths. Hence begins a long adventure to escape the fallout and save his younger brother Daniel who is more than meets the eye.

The entire story is told from a perspective of a brother trying to keep his brother safe. Sean has no idea what he’s doing and it translates well here. He’s a teenager trying to get by on what little he knows while keeping his little brother happy and healthy, even if it means lying to him about what happened.

This tension builds up as the story progresses, providing real-life relatable situations. What brings the entire narrative together is the outstanding writing and voice-acting that makes each character feel genuine in what they’re saying. Whether it’s a helpful vagabond or a racist, each character telegraphs their motives well.

Is What I’m Doing Right?

The narrative is full of branching paths that are communicated with a pair of wolves on the bottom right of the screen and directly affect Daniel’s behavior. Sean can steal, lie, and do multiple things that can affect how Daniel acts. Daniel is pretty naive and relies on his brother to explain everything, which can be annoying but as a younger brother, it’s spot on. He admires Sean and looks up to him whether it’s teaching him how to skip stones or trying to beat his high score in a video game. So it makes sense that he would copy the actions of Sean.

Sean can interact with Daniel is a number of ways including playing with him and providing fun outtakes of what they’re doing. Sean doesn’t possess any powers or special talents, like Max from the original game, and doesn’t have Chloe’s backtalk option from Life is Strange: Before the Storm. Instead, his abilities are basic with much of them relying on interacting with Daniel and having him perform specific actions.

Choices in Four Options or Less

Like other narrative games, Life is Strange 2 provides the player with a number of dialogue options, sometimes timed. Players must decide what to choose but gone is the timer for critical decisions. It’s common to have audio mix together but players can avoid this simply by waiting for the avatar to stop speaking. Best of all if you replay the episode you can skip scenes.

There are optional forms of dialogues and options that yield new choices in the future, encouraging players to explore. That and to collect the collectibles for those seeking more trophies/achievements. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming with so many options available but Dontnod has provided commentary for each item if the player wants to see everything.

A Start to Something Great

Life is Strange 2 Episode 1: Roads is an excellent opening to this 5 part series. The excellent writing and dialogue capture each character’s qualities whether it’s Sean’s uncertainty or Daniel’s childlike wonder. After such a strong opening it’s going to be agony to wait for the next episode.

Life is Strange 2 Episode 1: Roads Review
Positives
  • Great Narrative
  • Multiple Branching Choices
  • Emotional Situations
Negatives
  • Overlapping Audio
  • Sean Lacks a Unique Talent
8.5Overall Score
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