Life is Strange: Episode 2 - Out of Time - Xbox One

Release Date:

March 25, 2015

Viewing USA:

Also on UK.
8.3

Summary:

Life is Strange: Episode 2 continues the gameplay elements that were found in the first episode. Rendered in glorious HD with riveting colors and solid animation, you wander around Blackwell Academy and the surrounding town looking for clues and answers to various issues. You’ll make small decisions that culminate with big impacts and you’ll also make even bigger decisions that change the entire status quo. It is easy to tell someone to stop being rude, thus gaining a friend, it is harder to choose between the life of your enemy and the relationship of your best friend. Yet the story does lead in that direction and you have to be prepared to make those decisions.

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Details

  • Developer(s):
    • Dontnod Entertainment
  • Publisher(s):
    • Square Enix
  • Distributor(s):
    • Xbox One Store
  • Release Date(s):
    • March 25, 2015
  • ESRB Rating:
    • Mature
  • Player(s):
    • 1
  • Online Player(s):
    • N/A
  • Series:
    • Life Is Strange
  • Add-Ons:
    • Available

Technical Information

  • Required Disc Space:
    • 2.55GB Minimum
  • Supported Video Output:
    • 1080p
  • Engine:
    • Unreal Engine 3
  • Game Format:
    • Digital Download
  • Average Playing Time:
    • 3 Hours
avatar name

Posted:
2015-07-19

Jamie_Hall

Writer

Xbox One

8.3

Life is Strange, or at least that is what you would probably say if you suddenly found yourself with the ability to travel through time and space. The game, developed by Square Enix and reviewed on the Xbox One follows Maxine and her friend Chloe as they reconcile a broken friendship and deal with a world suddenly turning sideways. Unafraid to take a deeper look at the problems that plague younger individuals, which we will go into later, the series sets the tone for an experience that promises not to pull punches. With Square Enix helming the majority of title development we can safely rest assured that the roleplaying aspect of the game will be covered well. A unique take on the story driven 'choose your adventure' games, we couldn’t wait to dig into the second episode in the entry: Out of Time.

When you think of some of the best games of all time you will find a pattern there: not only were they all relatively expertly crafted, but they pushed the genre into a new direction that had risk associated with it. This is as true of Mario as it is of Halo or games like Morrowind and Skyrim. Risk in and of itself is necessary for progress. So, you ask yourself, how can a story driven RPG like Life is Strange associate itself with risk and progress? Simple: by tackling bigger issues, that most games prefer not to even acknowledge. You see, in video games we can easily stare immense carnage in the eye without flinching. Does decapitating someone make you look away in Shadow of Mordor? Does stealing a car and running over police officers make you flinch in Grand Theft Auto? No, those things are acceptable.

So what does Life is Strange on the Xbox One offer that is so out of the ordinary? Well, to be simple, a blunt look at the messy lives of our youth. Life is Strange looks such uncomfortable topics as rape, assault, cyber bullying, depression, and even suicide directly in the eyes and forces us as a player to recognize them as well. You see, in the machismo saturated world of video games we never have to deal with the trauma that these situations can invoke, not regularly in any event. Media seems to be afraid to talk about date rape in high school or how cyber bully leads to self harm. Life is Strange brings it to the forefront and we thank them for that, even while we shake our head at how nasty the business actually is.

In the first episode of the series we were introduced to the protagonist of the game: Maxine. Maxine is a fairly regular girl at a private school called the Blackwell Academy. Here gossip is the norm and people do what they can to make other people uncomfortable. It’s school, right? Well seeing as this is a dramatic video game we will see the dark things we listed above along the way. Maxine is introduced to us as this pseudo loner who is suffering from a broken relationship with her best friend Chloe. One thing leads to another and eventually Maxine gains the ability to travel time. At first the ability sets her back and scares her. How could this be? Yet she soon grows into the power and starts to use it with certain precautions in place.

If we had to sum up the first episode with two words it would be this: exposition heavy. The first episode wanted to set the tone that Blackwell Academy would be where we spent our time, that Maxine would be our hero, and that bad things happen in and around this school. Despite the rush of getting to know these characters for the first time, we still felt that the pace dragged at moments and the whole experience was simply middling. We didn’t feel over the top enthused, but the strength of the story kept us at least intrigued enough to finish it and move on to the second episode.

Out of Time ups the stakes mightily by making us start deciding things that actually matter in the grand scheme of things. If you have played these 'story games' before, like Telltale’s Walking Dead or Game of Thrones, then you know how important it is to say the right thing at the right time. It is sort of easy to do the right thing in a post apocalyptic wasteland, but how do you reconcile the histrionics of survival with that of a high school girl just trying to fit in? This struggle is the strongest aspect of the series as we are constantly put on our heels in an attempt to make the right choices for everyone involved. Unfortunately you can’t always make the right choice.

The bulk of episode 2 continues the gameplay elements that were found in the first episode. Rendered in glorious HD with riveting colors and solid animation, you wander around Blackwell Academy and the surrounding town looking for clues and answers to various issues. You’ll make small decisions that culminate with big impacts and you’ll also make even bigger decisions that change the entire status quo. It is easy to tell someone to stop being rude, thus gaining a friend, it is harder to choose between the life of your enemy and the relationship of your best friend. Yet the story does lead in that direction and you have to be prepared to make those decisions.

The overall feeling of Life is Strange: Episode 2 - Out of Time doesn’t do a whole lot to change the mood set in the first episode. However things are progressively more interesting and for that alone we feel like the game is worth buying. If you find yourself interested in the characters in the first episode then keep on going, as this is definitely a more cerebral and slow burning experience.

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Square Enix

Release Date:

March 25, 2015

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