Life is Strange 2 Episode 2: Rules continues the events of the first episode, with a minor jump in time. We find the brothers shacking up in an abandoned house and trying out some of the younger one's powers. Things are not going great; so they head out to find their grandparents, family they're not close with. The setup to get there is slow, and in general the pacing of this episode was awful. I actually had to take breaks at times as I was losing interest. This is quite shocking as I've found the general universe to be really enticing, but there's something here that's not clicking. It is pouring however as the majority of the episode had the sound of water flowing in the background, it was an annoying glitch for sure.
There was some great character development here, but there's something about the story that just isn't as gripping. I may be making too much of a comparison to the other seasons, but it feels like this is dragging. There really isn't any action present and you're largely confined to sitting around in houses. There were some neat mechanics in terms of interactions, and an interesting re-introduction of a prequel character. Aside from that, we're greeted with what I felt were largely lazy ways of forcing emotion. There were two distinct moments that occurred and both were meant to shock, I didn't get the impact I should have from these and it felt predetermined.
The visuals of Life is Strange 2 are very impressive as the distinct art style has evolved and it's just a treat to take in. They really have improved the quality of the world, yet I'm disappointed not to see Xbox One X enhanced visual choices like in Before the Storm. It plays well, featuring a mix of cinematic segments with open world exploration to the side.
They've built upon the prequel's open world situations allowing you to explore larger areas. That being said, these segments slow the pacing and don't exactly offer a lot of excitement. There's more freedom with this title as well with options to buy items and more dynamic choices. In this episode there were some issues present including a constant water sound in the background. Either the aquarium, or some tap that just never ended and it drove me crazy.
Life is Strange 2 needs to get to the point as I'm losing interest, pair that with a constant water noise in the background and poor pacing for a bad time. This was just slow, meandering at every point it could. It built towards something that might be interesting, but left a horrible taste. I had to take breaks while playing this as it felt as though this was stretched thin, and not much happened. They had some good emotional build-up around the two kids, but we already spent how much time exploring that in the first episode.
There's a new location, but it was filled with characters we're unlikely to see again so it was pointless. The shock moments felt lazy as opposed to intriguing and I'm disappointed. I've never disliked any episode in this entire series or anything from DontNod, but this was not a good time. I want to mention again that the constant water sound in the background drove me crazy, swamped out the great emotional tunes that often layer the backdrop.
Read our Life is Strange: Before the Storm Episode 1 Review
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Life is Strange 2 Review on Xbox One X
Review Code Provided by Square Enix