Life is Strange 2 : Wastelands

I know I’m a little late to talk about this one but LiS2 had its third episode come out last week and I was honestly waiting for the second I could download it.

With a lot of negative feelings towards the series so far I was so looking forward to whether the series was going to pull out a show stopper to shut the naysayers up.

Unfortunately I don’t think it did that.

In fact I personally didn’t like the episode all that much but we’ll get into that in a moment.

First all the non-spoiler bits and pieces I guess. Again we’ve jumped ahead a little bit, the boys have settled in their new location but unlike episode 1 into episode 2 there is enough that has happened to them in that small space of time that the narrative doesn’t actually follow very well. Things have happened that we had no control over that has affected Sean and Daniel enough that their relationship, no matter how close you made them, suffer in ways you don’t really get a chance to repair.

I’ve defended the games very linear story telling so far and whilst it still has pretty much the same purpose of the other two games and there are plenty of options at the end of the episode for the first time in the LiS games OTHER than the ending to the first game it felt like the story tellers had one story they wanted to tell and you were going to have it told whether you like it or not.

It was the first time I personally felt that the story line was clunky as hell and very much just a visual novel hidden behind some fancy game play even though as I said it isn’t that far off what the first two games were.

It was buggy as hell too, things just disappeared in scenes and it all felt a little thrown together.

Honestly the game I had been sticking up for just disappeared and the game became pretty much the lifeless frame of something much better that others had been saying it was, which doesn’t mean that it can’t be redeemed. It just means that they better have a good ending to the series.

It wasn’t even the story everything felt clunky, some interesting additions to game play like the weed cutting mini game were just difficult to play yet super easy too, the reflexes you need to make sure that you manage to get some of the cues were just silly and even the cues themselves sometimes didn’t pop up properly and as I said I had things vanish randomly on me.

This episode felt like it really was trying to be super ambitious and the entire idea behind the series felt like it was being ambitious but whatever it was trying to do I feel this episode was the moment it jumped the shark a little and instead of being ambitious they had to force us into a box to sort out the mess they seemed to have gotten themselves into.

So spoilery story stuff?

As I said we join them not long after getting to Humbolt County with Cassidy and Finn, the two train jumpers we met when going shopping in Beaver Creek.

This isn’t a bad thing, it was obvious after what happened that this was the path we’d take and settling in one place isn’t the worst thing just like episode 2 which I enjoyed greatly. Cassidy and Finn weren’t terrible characters and the new group of characters that were introduced were actually fantastic.

Unfortunately it ended up not working.

As we try and get used to our new friends and new surroundings you kind of figure out that Sean and Daniel have become distant because of plot things.

Literally because of plot things.

There is no need for it. My story so far had been Sean doing EVERYTHING in his power to look out for Daniel, I had no interest in having Sean fall in love or find other people to hang out with but right from the flashback at the beginning it was obvious that the story that episode 3 was telling was that Sean was going backwards and instead of growing up to look after his brother was going back to wanting to be a normal teen who got drunk and stoned with friends.

That would all be fine if we had any kind of say throughout the episode.

You can pick Daniel over the others sometimes and the first part of the story gave us great hope that whatever had happened off screen could be fixed. THEN the “we have a very important story that makes your choices null and void” part began.

No matter what you had taught Daniel, no matter what you wanted to do obviously being a road trip we weren’t going to be here cutting up drugs forever more so something had to happen to make the boys need to leave. That something couldn’t be a outside force it had to be Daniel.

My big thing about this series was that I felt like our actions as Sean meant something. We were in our way moulding Daniel and his behaviours which was interesting and I will say that I NEED to play this episode again to really figure it out but when Daniel became the problem even though I thought I had installed respect into him and did my best to be a role model because the game deemed it had to be Daniel being a problem I gave up hope.

After he messes up, which is fine he’s nine I’m not holding it against the character, we then had to deal with Finn turning out to not be as decent a human as we thought. You can turn him down and that is all good but the second problem is that we have no choice but to follow along with a Cassidy story that I just didn’t want to do. No matter what you picked you had no choice but to disappear with her and even if you turn her down in the end you ended up losing control of Daniel completely.

At no point did my actions as Sean actually line up with what was happening, dialogue choices became so vague that you picked something HOPING it was how you wanted to react but designed to put a gap between the two boys.

This was all geared up to separate the two boys and turn the story into something I don’t think anyone wants.

I’ve always stuck up for the game as I thought that it would be a road trip and on the last leg trying to get over the border the boys would be caught and our actions towards others would come back to help or haunt us. The racist shop owner acting like we were trouble makers then Brody either coming to our defense or not depending on whether we steal from him, Charles, Chris and our grandparents again either jumping to our defense or being against us based on what happened in episode 2. I even believed this right up until the end with my personal favourite member of the new group Jacob, a religious man who had left what sounded more like a cult then anything else, seeming to maybe play a bigger part in the story then it looks like he will now.

I have no idea what it is now and for the first time I felt sad leaving a group behind.

Not only that I don’t actually know what will happen next!

The ending of the episode seems to be, no matter what you pick, Daniel losing control and ending up near killing Sean or maybe killing Sean. You don’t know other then Daniel isn’t there anymore and in the next episode you could be one or the other though it seems obvious Sean is going to end up probably arrested as he’ll need medical help to survive if he’s alive.

I mean I’m not writing it off.

They could end up making this something spectacular but I feel like if anyone needed anything to “prove” that LiS2 is awful and a mess then episode 3 is going to be that.

For the first time I truly felt like I was just walking through a story that I had no control over and lost interest in. Whilst at times I felt that way about the original story and didn’t like the feeling that I was MEANT to want to save Chloe over the town I never felt like I couldn’t change that ending even if I didn’t care for the ending that was obviously the one that the creators cared more for.

Honestly I just want this game to be better then this episode.

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