Reviews

Life is Strange 2: Rules

I finally got around to streaming the second episode of Life is Strange 2 last week (despite some technical difficulties) and thought I would share my thoughts on the episode. I will be explaining where this episode steers is but have tried my best to keep decision spoilers to a minimum as my choices led to certain things happening however if you have played The Adventures of Captain Spirit, be sure to have your save downloaded so the game can read the file. If you haven’t this isn’t too much of an issue, however it will give a little bit on context later in the episode.

We reconvene with the Diaz brothers in a winter setting following a lovely recap of the previous episode. They are ‘training’ by a river whereby Daniel is trying to lift rocks using his powers under the watchful eye of Sean. The small puppy dubbed Mushroom that they adopted is also around which almost makes you feel like the boys have managed to find a little happiness after all that happened in the previous episode. They are still on the run but have found themselves an abandoned cabin to hide in. As Sean says at various points, it’s a very long walk to the nearest town and he had to go out in search of food a few times which you can read about in his journal. It’s not been easy for the Diaz brothers and Daniel is starting to become ill which is a concern when they are out here all alone with no medication or real warmth. They have set up various little traps to try and catch rabbits so they have more food to eat. Rations are scarce and Sean details his concerns as you wander around the cabin exploring what little is left there.

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While Sean has to attempt to keep Daniel happy, he also has to try and teach him about being careful with his powers which is where the Rules aspect of the episode begins. Daniel hasn’t remembered them and Sean goes over them again to reiterate a few things as it’s important that they don’t draw attention to themselves if they have to venture out. With Daniels cough getting worse, Sean decides they will have to leave and head to their grandparents who will hopefully take them in. Sadly, I could see what was coming and in some ways I possibly made the wrong choice but in many ways, I made the right choice and I did not intervene. Either way, the kids leave the abandoned cabin and begin their journey to their grandparents.

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Once they make it to the grandparents place, it’s that awkward moment where you’re not sure if they will take you in or not. Fortunately for the Diaz brothers, their grandparents will look after them as long as they follow a few rules to keep themselves safe and out of trouble. Daniel has a spoonful of cough medicine and suddenly feels much better so the Diaz brothers are safe, warm and in a good place. Now while this house is a sanctuary of sorts at this point, these kids also have not seen their mother or heard from her in years since she ran off. As a result, Daniel starts to question whether the guest room they are sleeping in may have been her room, to which Sean states it doesn’t matter and he shouldn’t care, clearly still angry about the lack of parenting she has been involved in thus far. Claire is being a caring grandmother, making breakfast, encouraging Daniel to do homework and the like but encourages the boys to go outside to play once they have tidied a little and put the laundry on. Daniel decides clearing up the table using his powers would be a great idea, which I stopped as quickly as possible as he is supposed to know the rules that were previously outlined a week before. While this choice seemed obvious to me, I would be interested to see what happens if you don’t stop him.

Conversation turns back to their mothers room which is locked up tight. Claire says it’s not her room anymore and not to disobey her rules by trying to get in there. This usually gives the impression that there is something to hide, which of course you expect someone to try and figure out what that secret is. But for now, Sean is tasked to go and ask Stephen for the key to the shed outside which leads to an interesting conversation where Stephen reveals he has noticed something about Daniel. You can choose how vague or direct to be, either way, Stephen actually seems ok about things but warns you that Claire might not be as understanding due to her faith. You finally get outside and remind Daniel that he has to be careful, choosing his moment to use his powers. But a few moments later, The Adventures of Captain Spirit comes into play. We see Chris, the boy next door try to climb into his treehouse only to see him fall and be caught just before he hits the ground. The Diaz boys check on him and Chris’ dad appears concerned for his son and now these two young boys that his son appears to be talking to. Sean isn’t too happy about Daniels’ assistance in rescuing this stranger but nevertheless, it has happened now and there’s nothing to be done about it.

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The next day while the grandparents are at church, the boys are left to their own devices which means of course that Daniel has disappeared off next door. As Sean goes out to find him, he spies through the window that Daniel is using his powers but most certainly not for good. You are confronted with a choice here which is yours alone to make, however you will know that no matter which one you choose, something bad is likely to happen. At this point, I realised that Daniel is probably going to be our downfall because he just doesn’t listen but there’s only so much Sean will probably be able to do about it. Before long, Chris’ dad arrives and invites the Diaz brothers to join them on their Christmas tree hunt which would involve them going to town. This is a terrible idea and you just know it won’t end well but you end up going to town. I won’t go into much detail but you wander around a bit before heading back and this is where I encountered the bug whereby Chris and his dad aren’t there and suddenly you’re talking to ‘ghosts’ and the car is being driven by no one. I’m sure a patch will fix this but it was a little irritating when it’s been a good episode so far.

Once you’re safely back in the house and the grandparents aren’t home, obviously this is a good time to try and get into their mums former room. After a bit of searching, you get in and explore a bit but as expected, nothing good comes from meddling. This leads to some shouting among other things but worst of all, the kids are going to have to run again following their little excursion. Everything happens quite quickly and depending on the choices you have made, bad things can happen as you try to get away. Regardless, the Diaz brothers are on the road again and have another long journey ahead of them.

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I did enjoy this episode however I did find a fair amount of the outcomes to be a little predictable as I played through. Admittedly, as soon as I made these choices, I knew that it would have some bad consequences. Aside from that, while it wasn’t necessarily an ‘exciting’ episode, it has a good amount of ups and downs which we have come to expect from the Life is Strange series. The music, as always, is sublime and works so well with the overall mood and feel of the episode. I still maintain that all of the Life is Strange episodes have had wonderful soundtracks and this episode carries this tradition on. With around 3 hours of play time excluding The Adventures of Captain Spirit if you have already played this, it’s a good length to complete in one sitting with the option to go back through to make different choices later. I would recommend playing Captain Spirit if you have spare the time just so you have more of an understanding about Chris and his dad but if you don’t have time, you don’t have to play it. I am enjoying my time with the Diaz brothers, I am genuinely worried that something really, really bad is going to happen and I don’t want any more awful things to happen to them. I look forward to the next episode when it drops but for now, I shall worry about the consequences of my actions as I always do with Life is Strange!

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