Life is Strange by Developer Dontnod

Is there any reason I should have any preference about the platform on which I buy LiS2? And am I missing something or is there no disc-based release announced? Perhaps not coming until all of the episodes are out?

I've played all of the rest of the games and Captain Spirit on PC, and I think I read something suggesting that LiS 2 might read in your saved data from Captain Spirit (though CS I could easily download and re-play on another platform), but I haven't heard about any input being taken from LiS 1 or BtS saves. Any exclusive console content? I'm ever so slightly leaning towards getting LiS2 for a console because I stupidly enjoy trophies and achievements while I don't care at all about Steam achievements, but I have a 22% off pre-order coupon for the PC version in my inbox from Green Man Gaming. Decisions, decisions...

I haven't read anything that LiS 2 will have any bonus content on a console versus pc. And usually the disc-based release comes out after all the episodes are released, so you've got that right. I find the achievements for LiS/BtS fun, so it's the main reason I always pick it up for console, but ymmv.

So LiS 2 episode 1 dropped yesterday. Anyone tried it yet?

I have to admit my interest in the storyline and characters this time around is...pretty much nil, so it's going to have to do something particularly spectacular to draw me in this time I think.

I’m waiting to buy it on sale, I’m afraid.

I don't buy episodic stuff until the entire season is available.

I'll probably pick up the season pass in a few days.

JeremyK wrote:

I don't buy episodic stuff until the entire season is available.

Will be a long wait, but same.
(or, I might buy it, just not play it)

I picked it up this morning via Green Man Gaming at 23% off, though I think that deal may have expired? I think I'll play this on Friday night. Aside from playing Captain Spirit, I have read very little coverage of it...I did briefly skim Gita Jackson's piece on it at Kotaku, which said its story and its politics are generally good but occasionally too heavy-handed and occasionally missteps, which sounds like a Life is Strange game to me.

I've heard tell that the first episode, and probably the whole game, addresses some current issues that has me intrigued. In the past I've waited for full releases, but I'm not especially dogmatic about it anymore, my issues currently are that there are a ton of games out already or coming soon that I want to play, and knowing that I decided I should beat Witcher 3 at long last. Wouldn't surprise me if I got the season pass before Ep 2 arrives, though.

I played through the first episode over the weekend, about 4 hours in total. I thought it was great! There were definitely some moments that felt a little clumsy (a scene involving the police, a scene involving a MAGA type), but I thought the characters were great, the decisions were interesting, and mechanically there was some cool stuff going on (managing your money is surprisingly important).

I think Sean and his best friend Lyla have an interesting relationship, there is some especially good writing in their text message history with each other. Sean's relationship with his younger brother Daniel is also good. Sometimes I'm annoyed at how harsh Sean is towards his brother, but having been a younger brother, I realize that depiction is not inaccurate.

The direction of the story feels like a big change of pace from LiS1, in a way that I'm not sure I like. In LiS1, of course hugely dramatic things happen, but the vast majority of the game is you playing Max who is a normal high school student. You're following her day-to-day doing things most teenagers do (with the notable exception of, uh, rewinding time). I'll spoiler tag specifics later, but in LiS2, it doesn't take terribly long before Sean and Daniel are decidedly outside of the normal routine for two kids growing up in suburban Washington, and it's kind of hard to imagine how things can get back to something resembling normal before the end of the game. In a lot of ways, I was thinking more about the Telltale Walking Dead games while I played this than LiS1. I don't think that's a bad thing, but it's a different feeling than I expected to have from LiS2.

One challenge I had in the opening of the game is, I don't have any context for who Sean is and what types of decisions he'd make. One of the first decisions you have to make is you're offered a cigarette to smoke. Without knowing anything about Sean, I had no idea what he would do. It's not an important decision (I don't think it is, anyway), but it reminded me of something that I really liked about Before the Storm, that I came at that game with such a clear view in my mind of what Chloe would do, of what it would mean for Chloe to make a certain choice. It's not a fault of LiS2, and I'm sure I'll start to put together an idea of who I think Sean is/should be as I play further, I just thought it was an interesting distinction.

I didn't catch any references to anything from Captain Spirit, though I wouldn't be surprised if I missed something. The game starts by asking about the final decision from LiS1. I saw one image that referenced that decision about halfway through the episode, but it was very minimal. Could be that something bigger is coming, but I'm skeptical.

I'll make a separate spoiler post later with my thoughts on some specific plot points and the decisions I made, I don't want to take up the whole page. In short: thumbs up! Can't wait for the next episode.

Spoiler comments on LiS2 Episode 1...
re the game's inciting incident,

Spoiler:

A police officer shooting Sean and Daniel's father, leading to Daniel apparently killing the police officer using telekinesis or some similar superpower. I think the idea for this works, but the setup felt a bit hamfisted. The police officer arriving to see Sean having apparently injured the bully and reacting poorly to that makes sense. The officer's arrival looks a bit bizarre, though--it felt like he practically teleported into the scene. Sean's dad coming towards them and getting shot felt like it could have been handled better, though. Certainly the last few years have taught us that police officers absolutely will kill people, brown people in particular, for no good reason, but this seemed even more inexplicable than most police shootings. The dad was just, like, lightly jogging in their direction? Did I miss something? I would not want them to add anything to justify the officer's action, but it might've felt less forced if there was anything at all that the officer were overreacting to.

re the game's setting in time,

Spoiler:

Maybe it was referenced elsewhere earlier, but it wasn't until I was reading one of Sean's texts with Lyla about whether each had watched the horror show that night and how terrible it was that I realized what was happening. I looked at the date of the text, and it was 10/19/2016, the night of the last Clinton/Trump debate. I thought this was a great, subtle way of referencing the world without beating you over the head about things. Much less subtle, though, was the encounter with the gas station owner who suggests Sean is an "illegal" and talks about why they need the wall and later just straight up calls Sean a racial slur. Those people definitely exist, and like with the police shooting, it's definitely not that I want them to give a "both sides" presentation or something. It just feels a bit broad.

I am concerned about how the election is going to play out in the game. I wonder, will they have scenes of Sean and Daniel watching the results come in? Of them hearing the news in the morning? I'm wary of them handling this poorly, but also feel like I am not prepared emotionally to sit through any sort of recreation of what that night was like. It does occur to me that, with LiS1's alternate reality episode where William survives, will they present some "actually, Hillary won" scenario? This whole subject area feels like it is fraught with potential to do it poorly, fingers crossed that it is handled well--but if they find some reason to have the story skip the election by weeks or months, I won't mind.

the LiS1 reference,

Spoiler:

On my journey south, I forget the specific context, but I found myself standing at a spot that was a memorial to the lives lost in the big Arcadia Bay storm, because I made the correct decision and prevented the certain death of my best friend Chloe. That was it, just a plaque, unless I missed anything. It would be very cool if, later, you might run into Max and Chloe or just Max alone depending on that choice, but I won't be surprised if that was the only tie.

Two major decisions I made:

Spoiler:

Much as I wanted to, I did not steal anything during the initial scene at the gas station. I thought that whole scenario was really effective. I first thought about asking Daniel to beg from the family eating outside, but decided I should talk to them first. I did approach them with some awkward smalltalk, but I felt so viscerally uncomfortable trying to chat with them (as the dad was kind of an ass, and the mom seemed nice but wary) I realized that not only could I not make Sean ask them for food or money, I couldn't put Daniel through that either. I similarly wanted to look in the trash can for edible food, but was too embarrassed to do that with the family sitting out there. Inside the store, I had about $10, so I was able to buy 2 hot dogs, a candy bar, and some soda. When I left the store, the family was gone, so I decided to scavenge the trash then, and found a half-eaten apple. I was surprised at the end of the episode the stats suggested that we left this scene still hungry.

This led to a surprisingly effective feeling of outrage when the man who owned the store came over and accused Sean and Daniel of stealing and tied Sean up and called the cops. I spent all that time agonizing over whether or not I should steal, ultimately deciding to do the right thing, and still, I get attacked and insulted?! As Sean escaped from the gas station, I decided that I definitely needed to steal the camping supplies (and knock out the asshole MAGA store owner in the process)... A life playing video games made me feel like if I do the "bad" thing, the game will find a way to punish me, but the earlier situation with buying only the food I could afford was effective in underlining that following the rules will not necessarily be rewarded. In retrospect, I really regret not stealing that extra $10 out of the change jar at home, though I also am annoyed that telling Sean's dad that he wasn't going to spend money on weed and booze meant I got $20 less than I otherwise would have...but the more the game makes clear that "good" is not necessarily rewarded and "bad" is not necessarily punished, the more interesting those choices will be to consider.

Other decision I wanted to comment on was the final "call Lyla or not" decision. I really did want to hear what she had to say, explain to her what happened, etc., but...man that seems like a bad idea! It could get her in trouble, or could get me caught. I should probably look up the scene on youtube, because I'm really curious to see how that plays out.

As I mentioned in my non-spoiler post, I am a little disappointed that it feels like this whole story will be the boys on the run, given how much LiS1 appealed to me in its mundane moments. Is this going to be 5 episodes on the run? Or will they get caught early on? An episode in juvenile detention, or an episode in court? You know there's going to be some way in which Dead Dad returns, right? Hm.

So LiS2 Episode 2 comes out at noon ET on Thursday. I'm surprised this sleepy thread suggests not everyone is as excited about this as I am.

LiS 2 having just come to Game Pass, I decided I'd rather play this on Xbox than PC (mostly because of where those machines are situated in my house). Trying to re-play the first episode while making the same decisions I'd originally made is tough. There are a few spots where I was tempted to make a slightly different choice because I think it would lead to a preferable outcome, but I can't do it! I've made my bed and I am going to re-lie in it. Knowing what's coming at the end of the first chapter of episode 1 definitely puts a very different spin on things.

Lots of things have kept me from snatching up 2 yet, but one was the strange silence on when Ep 2 would come out, so this is good to hear.

I prefer to play stuff like this when it's completely out. I did the same thing with the first Life is Strange.

the thing i loved most about life is strange one (the queer romance between the two *three* leading ladies) is...entirely absent in the second one so, really i've not felt any particular enthusiasm towards playing season 2 at all.

I’m like JeremyK, I like playing it when it’s finished. And somewhat like Saga, my enthusiasm has cooled since there aren’t quite as many women in LiS S2. (Though I’m as nil d as a bar and hadn’t picked up on the queer subtext in the first season)

Wow. I just finished the original Life is Strange series. That game has just hit my top 5 most memorable visual stories ever (both story based games and movies). So many times throughout the game I was left sitting there for a while (some times up to 20 minutes) on the pause screen trying to figure out what action I was going to take.

Overall I played the game trying to assume the best out of everyone, even Nathan. With my ASD I often struggle to determine peoples motivations in real life, and so I've always tried to assume the best of people and treat them as best I can, even if they can sometimes be jerks. This worked pretty well for the most part as my defense mechanism growing up as a kid who was sometimes bullied. Sometimes you end up as friends with people you wouldn't expect. I applied this to the game as well.

my main story beats and thoughts:

Spoiler: David Madsen

I initially hated Chloe's step dad, but pretty quickly (I think in by the end of Episode 2) decided that he was actually trying to do a good thing. It was pretty hard to determine which authority figures I could trust, after getting shot down in Episode 1 by the principal after I told on Nathan, but David appeared to be not involved in the whole Preston coverup.

Spoiler: Kate Marsh

I wasn't able to save Kate. I had initially played the first episode months and months before putting the game aside due to other commitments, then by the time I came to the point that I needed to help Kate on the roof, I couldn't remember the key points that I discovered when in her room. I was pretty devastated with the outcome, but honestly I feel like it gave it more impact with her dying, and was a better story as a result.

Spoiler: Chloe's Morphine.

I didn't... I couldn't... I spent at least 20 minutes staring at my screen trying to make a decision here. In the end I just couldn't do it.

Spoiler: Frank

I think I felt sorry for Frank from the start. He was rough and abrasive, but he seemed to go by his own strong code. Even when he was demanding money from Chloe, it seemed like it was for good reason.

Spoiler: Warren vs Nathan

I rewound a few times trying to figure out if I should let Warren lay into Nathan. My first instinct was that nobody deserves a beating like that, but I ended up letting him get beat up because it was the safest option for the characters involved. If Nathan was too ashamed to talk about getting beaten up by a nerd, and wouldn't go to his father, then we would have less blowback in the future.

Spoiler: The final bad guy

I am obviously far less observant than a lot of people in this forum. Even way back when Chapter 1 was released, some of you thought he was shady, but I never realised it until the end.

Spoiler: The Final Decision

Ooosh! Another decision which took me ages to arrive at. Ultimately I had to sacrifice Chloe to save hundreds of other people. I also chose that option because it was what Chloe wanted. I would like to believe that most other people would have also saved the town, and I want to think that it only shows as 48% vs 52% because people reloaded to see the alternative ending (which I did). I still think of saving the town as my cannon ending though.

Spoiler: Warren vs Chloe

I was never into Warren as a character. I did agree to go to the movies with him, but it was more because he looked so sad.
As for Chloe, I wasn't playing the game thinking of Max and Chloe linked romantically, but that's the way the story ended up. I did kiss her in the final scene, and it made the final decision even more heartbreaking

I've also started playing the new Before The Storm game, but I'm not enjoying it nearly as much for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I really miss being able to rewind and try different options, plus I am not finding Chloe's more abrasive personality much fun as a player character. I find it hard being a jerk to everyone that I disagree with. I'll post more thoughts once I get through it all.

Ooooh, fascinating to read what you thought of it! And fist bump for having the same Final Decision!

I do recommend sticking with Before the Storm, it’s really good. Chloe grows on you (I’m a goody two shoes and had a hard time getting into character).

Aw, I thought this thread was updated because someone other than me had started playing LiS 2 (though I haven't gotten to Episode 2 of that yet). Glad you enjoyed LiS 1, Buzzrick. I made the opposite final decision and feel very good about it.

(it's probably been debated enough, but I will very briefly state my reasoning)

Spoiler:

Although the game presented it as a clear decision "let Chloe die and everything will be fixed vs. let Chloe live and the storm will hit the town", I never trusted that the consequences of either decision was as clear as the game suggested. How many times had I confidently made a decision that this time when I rewind time and change an event, it'll fix things, only to find out that it didn't? For all I knew, Chloe could die and the same or worse bad stuff would still happen. And even assuming the storm hitting the town meant severe consequences, it wasn't clear to me how bad. Like, lots of property damage? A handful of deaths out of thousands of people? Or hundreds or thousands dead?

I chose to know I would saving Chloe's life, while accepting ambiguous, albeit negative, consequences to come from that decision, rather than to know I was letting Chloe die with ambiguous, only possibly positive consequences to follow on that. If I had a clearer message that it was definitely a matter of Chloe's life or hundreds of others' lives, I might have made a different choice. And perhaps I just latched on to that perceived ambiguity because I really didn't want Chloe to die and was looking for a justification. I think I might've felt differently if it were Max who had to die in hopes of saving the rest of the town--self-sacrifice feels more noble than friend-sacrifice.

Anyway, I wanted to share my thoughts on the ending to clarify that my decision wasn't just "Chloe's cool, screw the rest of the town." I felt the only outcome I could control for certain was whether Chloe would be dead or not, while the game had suggested to me the rest of the consequences were less predictable.

I don't know whether the split you're seeing in the stats on the final decision is a reflection of most people making both choices at some point...it seems like the smart thing to do would be to only record a player's first choice, but I don't know how they did that.

Before the Storm is worth getting through. I think some of the plot is kind of bad, but I liked the characters and thought there were some great moments.

Awesome insight on your decisions, Buzzrick. We had a similar journey. Life is Strange has choices that really provide pause to ponder on. The writing is very good! Ignoring the odd narrative hiccup.

Buzzrick wrote:

Overall I played the game trying to assume the best out of everyone, even Nathan. With my ASD I often struggle to determine peoples motivations in real life, and so I've always tried to assume the best of people and treat them as best I can, even if they can sometimes be jerks. This worked pretty well for the most part as my defense mechanism growing up as a kid who was sometimes bullied. Sometimes you end up as friends with people you wouldn't expect. I applied this to the game as well.

I'm less inclined to admit that I fought fire with fire regarding Nathan. I failed to look beneath or beyond the surface due to the hostile behaviour.

Well done with the real life application, by the way. It's an outlook I arrived at later in life. My youth hardened me to swing for the fences once wronged, to safeguard from it ever reoccurring. That is a road to no where good! Your approach is much healthier, and beneficial to everyone.

Buzzrick wrote:

I've also started playing the new Before The Storm game, but I'm not enjoying it nearly as much for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I really miss being able to rewind and try different options, plus I am not finding Chloe's more abrasive personality much fun as a player character. I find it hard being a jerk to everyone that I disagree with. I'll post more thoughts once I get through it all.

I've held off for similar reasons. I too liked the rewind ability. I also find Chloe somewhat abrasive and wonder how I'd feel about piloting that personality. Please do keep is updated as you progress. It may be the enablement required!

My thinking was much like mrlogical's (I do promise to get to LiS2 soon, beeteedubs), with some additional nuances:

Spoiler:

I felt like Max needed to accept that she had to trust people to save themselves, to let other people have agency and do the good she could do without getting lost in making things "perfect." She had to accept change and terrible things happening. Also, like I said earlier in the thread the town needed a reckoning, and I didn't think Chloe's death would provide it.

I can go on, but I told my work team I'd learn Premiere, and making a video essay about my many thoughts on the ending is the project I've picked, so, maybe I'll be brave enough to share that here.

SpacePPoliceman wrote:

I can go on, but I told my work team I'd learn Premiere, and making a video essay about my many thoughts on the ending is the project I've picked, so, maybe I'll be brave enough to share that here.

Oooh... sounds great. I'd love to see it when you're done, if you feel up to sharing it.

RnRClown wrote:

I've held off for similar reasons. I too liked the rewind ability. I also find Chloe somewhat abrasive and wonder how I'd feel about piloting that personality. Please do keep is updated as you progress. It may be the enablement required!

Hahah, it's funny that this one game gave us the ability to rewind and try out different options, and it spoils us for an entire genre . It's going to be a struggle going back to play any other adventure game for a while

I was skeptical about lack of rewind. But I surely think Before the Storm was great. Probably a better told story than LiS1 - and a more even quality throughout.
Although it doesn't have the murder mystery thriller theme going for itself - and instead the weakness of being a prequel with a known ending.
Not to mention the "bonus episode" (which was a silly business move though), which was just brutal but effective. I really hope those developers gets another chance at the LiS universe. Really impressive for a developer with no trackrecord, to jump into someones else's game world and do so well.

I was also one of the people who chose the other ending. Probably repeating stuff other people (and maybe even me) said earlier, but there were a couple of reasons:

Spoiler:

I wasn't really playing as myself, but as my imagined version of Max. After all she'd been through, she thought "Eff this town, I'm saving my friend." I'm not confident enough to know what I'd do myself, in the heat of the moment, but I'm thinking I'd personally sacrifice the one person to save the many (a la Spock).

Also, some things like the deer weren't really spelled out in the game and I was expecting a big reveal that never happened, so this is just wild, almost certainly incorrect, speculation... But I did have the sense that something was inherently wrong with the town of Arcadia Bay. Maybe the Prescott family had tainted it. I actually had the vague suspicion that they gotten their fortune and influence through some kind of unholy pact or dark magic or something similar- somehow messing with the natural order of things. I thought they must have known things could go tornado-bad. Why else would they have that huge bunker in the middle of nowhere? I also figured the deer might be a spirit of nature, urging Max to return the area to its natural state. Like SpaceP says, the town needed a reckoning, and as painful as it would be, in the long run everyone would be better off.

Why else would the butterfly have come to Max if not to trigger this series of events? What was the point of it all if things just went back to how they would have been in the first place? Just so Max could have some extra time with Chloe before she died again? Nah, there had to be a bigger purpose. Arcadia Bay had to go.

At least, that's my excuse for getting all those people killed.

gewy wrote:

I was also one of the people who chose the other ending. Probably repeating stuff other people (and maybe even me) said earlier, but there were a couple of reasons:

Spoiler:

I wasn't really playing as myself, but as my imagined version of Max. After all she'd been through, she thought "Eff this town, I'm saving my friend."

You raise an interesting point. At some point during Life Is Strange (and most interactive storytelling), I have to decide if I am playing as me, or if I am playing a character. I made the same "other" choice as you, for largely the same selfish teen angsty reason.

beeporama wrote:

You raise an interesting point. At some point during Life Is Strange (and most interactive storytelling), I have to decide if I am playing as me, or if I am playing a character. I made the same "other" choice as you, for largely the same selfish teen angsty reason.

That is an excellent point. It's only in recent times I have began to gel with playing as a character, which can be rather interesting. I can imagine Max choosing differently for reasons pertinent to her.

I just finished playing "Before the Storm", but I did NOT enjoy. I persisted through it, but man, it was sometimes a slog to keeping playing.

I just couldn't enjoy the characters. Playing as Chloe was hard work because most of the options were "be a jerk by saying A" vs "be a jerk by saying B". The whole aggressive vocabulary minigame was just as weird and annoying.

The story was a hot mess of random weird story tangents that made no sense.

Spoiler: story beats

Now I'm stealing money for my drug dealer... now I'm suddenly acting in a play, with no preparation... and now I'm tampering with police evidence and destroying a case against a dangerous criminal.

I also found that there were a lot of sequences where there was no player agency; I was just watching a long cutscene, and very occasionally making a conversation choice. Some of these sequences were so long that I found myself picking and checking my phone while waiting for it to play out.

Also, a minor nitpick is that I found a lot of the animations jarring. They appear to have made more complex character animations than the original title, but some are a much worse quality. They have weird pauses between animations, and a lot of them fall deeply into the Uncanney Valley territory, looking not at all human.

While it did have some very good, emotional sequences, and some great characters, I just found the game and story overall very underwhelming.

I am keen to play the bonus episode with Chloe and Max as kids though. I'll post about that in the next few days hopefully

Well that's good, but also, uh, damn, those are spread out.