A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Life Is Strange 2 – Episode 1 is the first chapter in a new episodic adventure set in the Life Is Strange universe, available for download on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows-based PCs. The game is a decision-based narrative, with players making key choices at certain moments and watching how those decisions and actions cause the story to unfold. Although it doesn't happen frequently, there are a few intense scenes of violence. The dialogue also includes frequent use of profanity such as "f--k," "s--t," and others, as well as occasional references to drug use and sex. Parents should be aware that this is an episodic adventure, meaning that in order to get the entire experience, each episode must be purchased separately or through a season pass purchase, which makes new episodes available upon release.
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What's it about?
LIFE IS STRANGE 2 – EPISODE 1 is the first chapter in a brand-new saga set within the Life Is Strange universe. Set years after the events of the original game, Life is Strange 2 introduces players to teenager Sean Diaz and his younger brother, Daniel. The siblings seem to be living a normal family life with their father until the day one misunderstanding led to heart-wrenching tragedy, forcing Sean to take his younger brother and go on the run. The game follows the duo as they attempt to make their way from the mountains of Washington state south and over the border into Mexico. Over the course of this journey, Sean must watch over his younger brother, keeping him safe while struggling to understand a powerful secret Daniel struggles to contain. Choices players make dictate the course of events in Life Is Strange 2, and every decision has some sort of consequence. Though the story belongs to the Diaz brothers, their ultimate fate lies in your hands.
Is it any good?
This adventure game puts hard choices and a compelling story in front of players, forcing them to shape and define the life of two brothers they'll come to deeply care about. Life Is Strange 2 continues the theme of the butterfly effect from the original game -- the idea that simple choices, actions, or even inaction, that may seem minor in the moment, can have cataclysmic consequences later on down the road. One of the more interesting things about the story this time around is that it's less of a mystery and more a tale of family and responsibility in a world that's surprisingly true to life. The world of Life Is Strange 2 doesn't shy away from any parallels to the real world, nor is it unclear in its view. Sean and Daniel may be on the run, but it’s the racism and bigotry of the small-town folks they run across that pose a bigger threat than the authorities. The children are often looked at with suspicion not due to their situation, but to their ethnicity. It's a harsh reality for the players to face, especially through the prism of Sean's point of view.
It's difficult to critique the gameplay element of Life Is Strange 2 because there's not really much gameplay there to critique. The game is, for the most part, an intricate and interactive Choose Your Own Adventure story. To get the most out of it, you'll need to examine a lot of little things and pay careful attention to what you come across. Little snippets and plot points can be easily overlooked, and it's entirely possible to miss certain opportunities that may or may not prove important later. That's the only other major issue with episodic games like Life Is Strange 2. Because the story is told piecemeal one chapter at a time, you can't help but wonder how a decision you make in these early moments will shape events to come. Worse, by the time the story is complete, it's entirely possible you might forget exactly what choices you made when those consequences finally take shape. Still, it's a compelling story, with rich characters you can't help but care about. And it's a stark reminder that who you are and how you act doesn't just define you -- it can leave a lasting impression on those around you … especially those you care most about.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about role models. What sort of impact have others had on your life, and what impact might your behavior have on those around you? How important is it to find positive role models and, more importantly, to try and be a positive role model to others?
What are some positive ways to take a stand against racism and bigotry?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $7.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Square Enix
- Release date: September 27, 2018
- Genre: Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship
- ESRB rating: M for Blood, Violence, Sexual Themes, Drug Reference, Strong Language
- Last updated: April 24, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.