QCF: Life Is Strange: Episode 2: Out of Time
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
GeorgieBoysAXE in Dontnod Entertainment, Episode 2: Out of Time, Life is Strange, QCF Reviews, Square Enix, The Walking Dead, Time-Travel, choices

he last time we saw Max Caldwell, she was coming to grips with confiding the truth about her time bending abilities to the closest friend that she has ever come to know, and the vulnerability on display is one of the central themes at work in Out of Time; the second episode to the saga of Life is Strange.

While a fate bigger than Max hangs over her head and that of Arcadia Bay, this follow-up installment seems to lose perspective on the stage that’s been set into motion, and the result is more baffling than it is effectual.

Without spoiling too much, Max is beginning to get more of a grasp on her situation, thanks to the comfort of sharing her unbelievable situation with Chloe Price; and much of the episode’s content focuses on where they go from there.

While their respective Character Arcs remain consistent with the plot so far—there isn’t a whole lot of development that happens at this juncture, at least any progress that’s particularly significant to say the least.

Every event that took place in the first episode, as trivial as it may have initially seemed, served some sort of purpose to the story-telling at work with Life is Strange, but Out of Time seems to ironically waste what it’s supposedly out of—reducing the pace and feel of the game into a real burn.

There are two types of directions that an episodic structure of games can follow; a string of events that are connected with one another that eventually build towards a finale, or an ultimatum that commands your attention and time with each passing episode, as if they were more fleeting than the last. Episode Two of Life is Strange blurs the lines between these two formulas but in a really sloppy way, and the tone of the narrative hurts because of it.

As I attempt to avoid spoiling as much as I can, while still driving the point, the conflict spends a lot time meandering over ground that could’ve been covered in half the time that this episode of Life is Strange choose spend on it. There are some nice touches of development between the dynamic of Max and Chloe, and the chemistry they have does expand beyond the implicit hint of deep history that they expressed from the their initial reunion, but these moments are few and far between in what’s otherwise a slog of a primary conflict.

If there’s one point of polish that this chapter offers, it's that it does deliver a payoff that wonderfully comprised of everything that makes these sort of choice-driven affairs so engaging. Oddly enough, the intrigue of the moment is that goes against the grain of every major mechanic and rule that the entire experience has lead you through up until that point. To top it off, the allusion to what sort of ramifications of whatever the outcome of this pivotal divergence holds creates a sense of tension that’s up to par with the likes of The Walking Dead and other pioneers of the genre.

Though the graphical performance and visual hang-ups from Chrysalis return, they’re not as prevalent as they were before, and there’s a slight improvement to the overall animation in this go-around. The soundtrack selection is just as stellar as it was before, keeping in line with the ambience and tone of the culture and generation that Life is Strange revolves around. Artists like Alt-J, José González, and Local Natives provide a sound of stunted melancholy that props the sense of quiet resolve that’s developed within the pace of the game so far.

The second installment of Life is Strange is a bit imbalanced as a whole, but it certainly doesn’t kill the momentum that the series as whole has, and the stage it sets up only hints at the true potential that we may just see out of the title yet.

Article originally appeared on Press Pause Radio (http://www.presspauseradio.com/).
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