Life Is Strange 2 - Episode 1: Roads Review

Life Is Strange Season 2, Episode 2: “Rules” – Review [PS4]

With the last episode that came out in September, Life is Strange 2 is now back with episode 2, titled “Rules”. I’m happy to return to the brothers Daniel and Sean who, after a tragic incident, got separated from their wolf father and their haven.

However, nobody said life would be easy for the two young wolf cubs. Because even though they are wolves, there are still hunters out there that mean them harm. In their hope to find peace, there are prices to be paid.

Finding themselves in the state of Oregon, the boys have found a temporary safe space in the form of a cottage, where they can practice Daniel’s newfound telekinesis abilities. It’s still winter, and they have not been sheltered much from the cold.

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Being on the run for so long, one learns to appreciate the small things in life.

Daniel has been sick for a while, and he seems to only get worse by the day. They’ve learned the hard way that nature can be as cruel as people – but they have no other option but to move on. Not only do they not have medicine to cure his illness, but they are also running out of supplies. They have reached the bottom line: they cannot stay in the safe confines of the cabin anymore.

The boys decide to visit their grandparents: a decision they would gladly avoid if they could. Not just because they hesitate to ask for help considering their runaway-status, but also because these grandparents are the parents of their lost mother, who left them when they were young – leaving a void in the young boys’ hearts.

As they arrive in Beaver Creek, Oregon, they find their grandparents’ lovely-looking house. If you’ve played The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, you will recognise this place: because they are, in fact, the neighbours of Chris Eriksen’s family. Captain Spirit himself. Finally, this is where the two stories intertwine. They approach the grandparents’ door with scepticism, thinking about how this scenario can go in different directions: they can accept us, or they can banish us from the grounds. Luckily, the former seems to be the case.

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Making new friends.

However, Daniel really wants to get to know his mother, who she was and where she might be now. But we cannot hide the fact that this is a very sensitive subject for the two grandparents. They don’t want to talk about it, and they do not want the boys to sneak around in the house and find any information about her, either. More specifically, they are not allowed to enter her room. So what do two young, curious boys do? The exact opposite of what the grown-ups tell them to, of course!

The grandparents worry about their neighbours, the Eriksen’s, and we are told to keep an eye on them. Therefore, since Christmas is just around the corner, the boys decide to join Chris and his father to attend a Christmas market. The boys do what they can to make each other happy, and it often lies in those little moments where they can pause and just enjoy being boys.

As always with the Life Is Strange universe, this episode is an emotional rollercoaster. With a masterful soundtrack composition, they combine the soundtrack with the songs from Captain Spirit, which really brought back all the emotions I felt then.

Finally, a series of unfortunate events forces the two wolf brothers to leave Beaver Creek altogether. As I said; it’s not easy being these two young cubs. The episode ends as they are forced out into the great unknown. This episode contained so much emotion, and I’m excited to see where this adventure is headed!

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The Walking Dead: The Final Season PS4 Review

The Walking Dead: The Final Season “Suffer The Children” Review [PS4] – Abandon Hope?

For the first time in a very long time, I don’t know how to start a review. Do I continue as usual? Do I start with explaining what happened? I guess pretty much everyone knows by now.

Telltale Games went bankrupt. I don’t think you could’ve missed it. Some grabbed the opportunity to yell out “I told you so!”, some responded with anger for them not being able to finish one project before jumping onto another, and some responded with sadness and apathy.

I didn’t really realise just how much these news upset me when I first read about it. But the fact is, I am truly upset about it. To me, Telltale Games wasn’t just a game company. It’s someone I have followed from the beginning, someone who inspired me to pursue my passion for games. And to see them basically vaporise like that was…. bizarre, to say the least. But it’s not a new phenomenon.

Fear not, my friends. Ask, and ye shall receive. The creator of The Walking Dead universe Robert Kirkman’s game company Skybound announced that they will be picking up the pieces left by the ruins of Telltale, to see The Final Season through to the end. Even though this is beyond great news, I’ll personally believe the series will have an end when I see it in front of me on my TV-screen.

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Like these two, I’ll be waiting.

If you look away from the business and economic aspect of the video game industry, Suffer The Children is all-in-all a very good episode. I will, like the review of the last episode, try and create a spoiler-free review as much as possible.

Episode 2 takes us back to the school and the group of teens we met in the previous episode. There can never be enough drama in one episode, so needless to say there are some things Clementine and AJ have to take responsibility for. As a consequence, they are thrown out of their safe haven.

Unfortunately, they don’t get very far before a group of raiders catch them. This is where we meet a familiar character whose face we haven’t seen since season one. However, this face wasn’t friendly then, and is sure isn’t friendly now, either. This person has become the leader of this horrific group, and they don’t hesitate to threaten Clementine as they give a clear message of what they want; the children at the school.

We learn that there is a small war going on; there is a feud between two groups of people, and the group that catches Clementine and AJ is kidnapping (or as they call it, “recruiting”) children to make them fight for them. Yep, that’s messed up.

However, hope is never lost; with the help of a kind stranger, we manage to make our great escape. If the series would go on, I’m sure we would form an even stronger friendship with this character at some point. The kindness of this stranger teaches us about strengthening the right bonds, and we learn that most people react a certain way for a certain reason, and by learning that reason we understand what makes them tick. 

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It’s nothing personal, it’s just business.

Technically speaking, I noticed that the loading screens could, at times, be incredibly long. In addition, the controls felt a little off sometimes. The combat system was very unforgiving, and the game’s own tutorials kept feeding me the wrong controls. Yet, an analysis of the controls in this episode feels like missing the bigger picture.

All things considered, the ending of this approximately 2 ½ hours long episode feels like the biggest cliffhanger ever. When I finished the episode the news of Skybound taking over hadn’t come out yet, and I felt betrayed. Now, there might be hope. Some light at the end of the tunnel. We are in the middle of a story, and the threads are starting to unfold.

I thought I was ending this review feeling sad and frustrated. Even though Telltale as a company may be over, the talented people behind the name are still out there. And some of them will most probably be joining Skybound and create a proper ending to the series, completing an important chapter in video game narrative history.

In the meantime, I’ll be waiting. Patiently.

Little Nightmares – Secrets of The Maw Episode 2: The Hideaway Review [PS4]

Even though the universe of Little Nightmares has created a tendency to play with fears (some I did not know I had) I nevertheless jump into the second episode of the Secrets of The Maw DLC with both arms and legs, ready to take on whatever it might throw my way.

In the new episode, appropriately titled The Hideaway, the story of The Runaway Kid continues. Just by looking at the promo picture, it already tells us a lot of what the episode is about; and as you can see, we encounter the Nomes once more. If you’ve played the original game (if you haven’t: what are you doing here? Go and play all the other stuff before reading this!) you might be familiar with the Nomes: tiny, white creatures that hide in every nook and cranny. When we played as Six, they were pretty much only functioning as huggable collectibles. Now, they serve a much greater purpose. As we have done repeatedly in these two episodes of the DLC, we encounter familiar rooms from the original game. As before, I believe they are filled with nods to how the old story might connect with the new. In addition to that, Mr Long-armed-grabby-hands is back. Yes indeed, with even longer and grabbier hands than before… Or, at least, that’s what it feels like.

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Together forever!

Even though the nomes aren’t much larger in size, they certainly are in numbers this time around. Upon encounter, you hug them (as we are familiar with from the original game) and they start following you – and actually being your adorable little companions for this episode. They are important to the different puzzles – which is new, unexpected and a good surprise. And they also serve a purpose in the bigger picture; which is the heart of the ship, the engine. They remind me of the soot-creatures from the movie Spirited Away, the way they are loyal and hard-working in order to make everything function, because that is their role: they bring coal to the furnace that drives the ship. This is how we, perhaps, learn their function, as we all were probably wondering about earlier in the storyline. At the end of the episode, I feel like I turned The Runaway Kid into The Lord of the Nomes. Which was pretty cool.

Continually, this is where my major problem arrives: the graphics and textual bugs. The nomes would get stuck on things, even though they were moving. Because of this, they would automatically stop following me which is central to progress – it’s a very frustrating bug.

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This way!

The Hideaway continues the story of The Runaway Kid with minor succession. What I thought would be an interesting episode with more of the elements I love in this universe would turn out to be a rather disappointing affair. However, it offers some intriguing elements like the opportunity of travelling different roads to reach your goal

Very early on in the game, I encountered an audio bug too, which made the speakers on my TV sound as if they were broken (they weren’t). However, restarting the episode made the bug go away and it didn’t reoccur. Apart from that, the sound feels much more intense and powerful in this episode, which leads me to the use of the horror elements – they were not as present as in the first episode, but this episode definitely used the contrast between darkness and light to its advantage. It’s a creepy touch and creates a sense of paranoia we all know so well from this universe.

Even though I am still a bit confused when it comes to the story, the ending of this episode was… Intriguing. Let’s just say that my interest is piqued, and I’m excited to see where it ends. So, grab some popcorn and sit down with me for the last episode of Little Nightmares: Secrets of the Maw – this is going to be juicy.

A final score will be given for Secrets of The Maw at the end.

Life Is Strange: Before The Storm – Episode 2: Brave New World Review [PS4]

Don’t be surprised, Chloe, if one day I’m just out of here.

It is time to return to Arcadia Bay for the second episode of Life Is Strange: Before The Storm. It’s been approximately two months since the first episode was released, and I’m glad it didn’t take any longer because the first episode left off at a very tense place.

We know more about Chloe, Rachel, and their relationship – and I’m excited to see where their story is headed, and what crossroads they encounter. In the first episode, Chloe and Rachel ditched school and, long story short, they started a forest fire. Now, we see the ramifications of that, as the new episode starts out at the principal’s office.

My actions in the game got me expelled from Blackwell, but I don’t think you actually have a choice regarding that since we already know from the first game that Chloe had been expelled. Luckily, the principal doesn’t know about the forest fire, otherwise, their fates would have had a very different story.

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Chloe, The Exit Wounder.

The new episode is called Brave New World, and that is exactly what Chloe has to adapt to. Along with getting expelled from school, she has to deal with a difficult family situation; the wrath of her mother Joyce and her demeaning stepfather David. Joyce doesn’t know what to do about having a rebelling teenager as a daughter and looks to David for help. Much to Chloe’s despair, he has made the decision to move in. As a result, she drifts even further away.

It’s no secret that our protagonist is leading a challenging life. She repeatedly shows the willingness to sacrifice so much, just in order to feel. Even though Chloe is in many ways the victim here, it is important to note that Chloe continually fails to see that there is actually a world that evolves and exists outside her own. But no, being Chloe isn’t easy. Not at all. Her repeated dreams about her father show how she is still unconsciously dealing with the trauma of losing him. And her dreams are getting more and more messed up.

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Rachel has the main role in The Tempest, a play set up by Blackwell’s students.

On a random note; remember Frank’s dog Pompidou? We get to meet him again! AS A PUPPY! Some quality story-elements right there, folks. However, as a natural yet unfortunate consequence of meeting Pompidou the Puppy, we also have to deal with his d-bag of an owner, Frank.

Being a drug dealer, and messing around with the wrong people, we know that when Frank contacts Chloe, it’s never good news. And this time around is no different. Because Chloe owes him money, she is forced to run some errands for him, which could get her into serious trouble. And it does.

I also want to report that Victoria is still a b- … stupid girl. Teenagers will do whatever it takes to get what they want, and that is shown when the students of Blackwell are setting up a play called The Tempest. However, we end up watching it in a not-so-regular way… because something unpredictable always happens.

Sera, the woman Rachel’s dad is having an affair with, is an ominously recurring figure, and we learn what her role is in Brave New World. A huge secret, which I was not at all expecting, is revealed at the end – it blew my mind. Boom-boom style.

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There is one thing Chloe is particularly good at, and that is speaking her mind. Or in this case, drawing it.

And also, the menu has changed yet again. After the first episode, the forest (which is the background of the menu) was engulfed in flames. After the second episode, the flame has died out, and we see the aftermath of the forest fire. Almost like a calm Before The Storm. Get it?

In all seriousness, though, things are taking off in Arcadia Bay. This is a story about teenagers slipping from the surface, and how they manage – or don’t – to get back up. The dialogue is still cringe-worthy, yet I am still loving it. And the soundtrack… amazing and on point. As always.

I’m very excited for the last episode, yet I am dreading to see the end of it… I am not ready to say goodbye just yet. I feel empty after this episode. I don’t know what to feel, everything is so scrambled and messed up. I’m intrigued, however, and I’m expecting that the game will mess around with my feelings, even more, when the last episode arrives, with as ominous a title as Hell is Empty.

We get to see the many masks that people put up, so they don’t have to deal with the confrontation of their problems. There’s a life lesson to be taken from this: don’t be so quick to judge other people. Everybody’s got some kind of baggage.