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Life Is Strange: Episode 2 Out Of Time, Review

The Japanese language has a phrase ‘mono no aware’ that refers to the feeling you get when you realise every moment is fleeting. Life Is Strange is all about that feeling, using time and photographs as recurring motifs.

In the first episode, we were uncertain whether Life Is Strange would have the legs to move on through five episodes. Now, after playing through the second instalment of Dontnod’s newest project, we’re hooked. It’s the best episodic game we’ve played, and that’s because it plays with what an episodic game actually is.


Let’s rewind. You play as Max, a self-depricating teenager in college. You’ve witnessed some pretty weird stuff going on: you’ve managed to crawl into a wormhole and see your town get destroyed. But then you woke up, and now have the power to mess with time. In a game that’s all about moral choices and over-thinking every interaction you have, that’s massive.

But it's the moments where Max is all self-aware, written in a way that only a teenager can be written, that stood out to us. Max’s relationship with Chloe is dealt with better than any other game we can think of concerning teenage girls. There’s a gravity to it all. Life Is Strange feels like a story that’s been lived before. It gets a good look at the dirt under the fingernails of suburban life.

Out Of Time features the first big divergence in the game’s construction. We won’t say what, but from one pivotal scene in-game, it’s clear that Life Is Strange is a lot braver than we initially gave it credit for. It’s not scared of exploring some really deep, really serious issues.

We thought this game was just trying to riff on the likes of The Butterfly Effect and Donnie Darko, but we were wrong. It supersedes them, it takes the elements that made those movies interesting and dissects them, giving the powers to you, so that you want to learn more……But you’re scared to. After all, how can one girl in time affect everything around her? There’s a butterfly motif to the game that spreads a lot deeper than it appears. Think about it at the very start of the first game, you saved Chloe’s life, and you do it again in Episode 2. Something in the universe wants her dead and you’re the buffer zone.

Life Is Strange does everything Donnie Darko did with film, but in a game. It’s a smart game that’s essential for anyone who thinks they can see through the mechanics of other episodic, choice-based games. We thought we could, and Life Is Strange slapped us in the face.

9/10

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