I know, I know, I was talking about Life is Strange 2 just two months ago. But I hadn't finished it then.
So you get to hear about it again.
Life is Strange 2, from Dontnod Entertainment, is an episodic, story-based game which features a high degree of player choice in determining the outcome of the game. But, as opposed to the simple "choose your own adventure" games that you might be familiar with from previous decades, Life is Strange 2 features player choices that are complex, thought-provoking, and eventful. You'll find yourself thinking about the choices that you made for quite some time afterward.
As an episodic game, Life is Strange 2 is delivered over time, in multiple parts, rather than arriving in your consciousness all at once; this is a deliberate practice by the game designers, to encourage you to take some time in between playing sessions, to reflect on the game as it's occurred so far, and to anticipate what lies ahead.
Which is a very interesting idea!
There are 6 total episodes, because you have to consider The Amazing Adventures of Captain Spirit as part of the overall game, and you're missing out if you only play Episodes 1-5 without also playing Captain Spirit.
Episode 5, with the ending (actually, with all 7 endings, though unless you go through multiple replays you'll only get one ending experience), just arrived last Wednesday.
Rather unlike my typical behavior, I was so eager to have the ending that I immediately downloaded the final episode and played through it over the weekend.
I was so eager, in fact, that I rather rushed through the episode and missed some of the more interesting parts (for example, I only partially explored the drop-out colony of Away and its inhabitants).
These, sadly, are hard and stressful times that we live in.
Perhaps times are always hard and stressful?
But let's stop and think for a bit about the various topics that Life is Strange 2, which is A GAME, AFTER ALL, asks us to consider:
- Single-parent Households
- Parental Separation
- Parental Abandonment
- Domestic Violence
- Gun Violence
- Police Brutality
- Foster Care
- Alcohol Abuse
- Drug Trafficking
- Teen Suicide
- Religious Cults
- Gender Identity
- Conversion Therapy
- Body Image
- Piercing and Tatooing
- Physical Injuries and Permanent Physical Disability
- Veterans Affairs
- Racial Prejudice
- Immigration Policy
- Vigilante Militias
This is a heavy, heavy list, obviously.
The designers of the game are aware of this. They have a separate section of their website where they offer resources to people who are struggling with problems like these.
And struggling with the topics is a fairly common result, at least judging from the reviews I've read.
I'm not eager to replay Life is Strange 2. I got the ending that (I think) I wanted to get, and I feel like it was very appropriate for me, given the choices I made during the game.
Yet even though I feel like I'm "done with" the game, I'm really, really glad that I took the time to play it.
Nothing like an experience that makes you think.