Review of Life is Strange 2. Clumsy Agitation – Gambling

The French from Dontnod filled their second interactive movie with the most dubious cliches about America.

Close in spirit

The original Life is Strange, released four years ago, became a hit and glorified Dontnod Entertainment. But, unfortunately, the developers did not really understand what exactly the players were so attracted to. And, perhaps, the constant praises that streamed on LiS for representing LGBT characters gave them the idea that the sequel should put even more emphasis on socially significant topics. As a result, instead of the touching teenage story that everyone hoped for, Dontnod issued a direct political statement – maybe useful to someone, but so clumsy that it simply doesn’t take him seriously.


If you've never seen Life is Strange, let me remind you that this is an interactive movie – a set of cutscenes with a small splash of gameplay and focus on the decisions that the player makes. And both license plates are dedicated to teenagers with supernormal abilities. In the first, the heroine was able to rewind time back, which allowed the player to change his actions several times in order to achieve the best result possible. This was ideally combined with the gameplay tied to solving difficult ethical problems. But the protagonist Life is Strange 2 Sean is powerless, but his younger brother Daniel, who is not yet ten years old, has telekinesis – a boring skill that does not give anything to narrative or gameplay. Raising and scattering objects, you can’t get along with people – and the game is about that.

The brothers were left without parents and are now hiding from the police, so the task of Sean (and we play for him) is to educate Daniel alone. Most of the decisions made by the player are dedicated to this. They are evaluated according to two main criteria: decency and credibility. Relatively speaking, if you tell your brother that stealing is bad, and then whistling something from the store yourself, then he will trust you less. And yes, in words it sounds logical and even interesting. But in fact, no matter how ideally you behave with him, the unbearable spinogryz still does not listen – and plunge into troubles (sometimes catastrophic) in almost every episode.

It is impossible to play LiS 2: it is, of course, extremely linear, and the forks mainly concern the fate of minor characters

And this is one of the main problems of the second season of LiS: Daniel is such an ungrateful and uncontrollable child that he does not want to take care of him at all. The boy constantly sabotages Sean's attempts to save him from trouble, and also revels in his superpower and often scoffs at his older brother with her help. In short, Daniel is a source of constant annoyance. Unlike, for example, Clementines from the first season of The Walking Dead, also dedicated to raising a ten-year-old child in extreme conditions.

The protagonist himself is not much better: he half consists of caring for his brother, and half of whining. Particularly disgusting was the voiceover: even simple remarks in calm situations, Sean squeezes himself out in such a voice, as if ready to burst into tears. And he often behaves as thoughtlessly as possible, creating a chasm with the expectations of a normal player and his actions. This frustrates even more: if we already have no power either over the circumstances or over the reckless younger brother, I want to control at least our own behavior – but it wasn’t there. Take at least a case from the first episode: when Sean is accused of theft, the first desire of any adequate player is to prove that the teenager did not take anything. But LiS 2 does not even give us a chance to behave in an adult way – Sean just immediately begins to hysteria.

Throughout the game, the brothers are trying to get to Mexico – this is also Sean's dubious plan. The reasonable question is “What will I do there?” I don’t even know Spanish. ”Daniel asks just an hour before the end credits

The first Life is Strange bribed with a cozy daily routine, allowing a deeper understanding and feel of the heroine. The second one gives us a little glimpse of what Sean's usual life was like, and immediately throws him into extreme conditions. Throughout the game, the brothers are on the run, and Sean, who is trying to survive on his own, or to help out a bad guy, has no time to prove himself as a living person, and not just an appendage to a super-boy.

There is no time even to establish simple relationships. LiS was a chamber story, LiS 2 is a real road movie (and its structure becomes apparent in the second episode). All characters encountered will have a maximum of one episode on the screen. And if so, then what is the difference, what exactly will we answer in the dialogs and what kind of relations will eventually develop? The very genre of this story crosses out the significance of most of the decisions you make.


And all right, Life is Strange 2 would be just a boring “dagger” with the illusion of choice. Alas, this is only half the trouble: we also have a very opportunistic campaign, which is struggling to please its left-liberal audience. And although the first part of LiS was literally built on empathy and attempts to understand the points of view of other people, the second season draws so black and white paintings that you wonder. Caution, further small spoilers!

So, the hero brothers are half Mexicans, forced to travel around the United States, a deliberately xenophobic and racist country that elected Trump as president (the horror of this event is reflected in the first episode).

On the way, Sean and Daniel meet:

the worst "exemplary citizen", dissatisfied with the fact that the Mexicans "come in large numbers" were criminals;
the kindly bearded hipster blogger, ready from the bottom of his heart for strangers to do anything;
good hippies who do not like capitalism, but smoke weed and practice promiscuity;
the most evil rednecks, outraged by the fact that Sean drove into their private property, and picturesquely humiliating him;
the worst Christian cultists who are hypocritical, deceiving and almost killing children;
kind gay injured by the worst Christians;
the kind gays complaining about hard life in the USA;
the worst militias patrolling the border and swearing at immigrants;
the kind Mexican immigrants who just want peace and a peaceful future.

And the last boss is Trump's wall. It would be a parody if the game had at least a bit of irony

No one argues that in the United States there are, to one degree or another, all of these problems. There (as elsewhere) there are racism, homophobia, religious aggression and other forms of oppression. But what exactly is not there, is an unequivocal division into “bad” and “good”. It is obvious to any adequate person that on both sides of any political conflict there are very different people: good, evil, empathic, and indifferent to the sufferings of others. A single redneck may turn out to be more understanding and hospitable than his liberal opponent, and a single gay may be a greater racist or sexist than some straight people. The world is not divided into black and white.

But screenwriters Dontnod can not stand halftones: in Life is Strange 2 everything is twisted to the maximum. They didn’t even get ordinary heroes, but caricature images shouting to the player’s face: “THE LIBERALS ARE GOOD! CONSERVATIVES BAD! DO NOT UNDERSTAND? REPEAT NOW. ” The ambiguous characters for the whole game are two and a half people: the brothers' mother, their grandmother and the very episodic father of Captain Ghost. The rest are either angels or complete villains – and this simply repels.

As an example, the creators of the second season of Life is Strange would like to bring Gone Home: there the heroine falls in love with a girl, she is fond of feminism, and she condemns the patriarchy. But at the same time, the game never makes a single value judgment; does not moralize, but allows the player to decide for himself how to relate to the views of the main character. There are clearly no bad or good characters. Gone Home is a story about living people, not political agitation, and therefore can cause empathy even for those who are infinitely far from feminism and the problems of LGBT people. Dontnod's latest creation, alas, fails completely.

Life is Strange 2 fell into its audience: the Western press sang her praises after the release of the first episode. Fans of drama and the most vivid emotions also praised the second season. But as a player who wants to see a plausible story in such projects with live characters and suitable gameplay, I was extremely disappointed.


nice visual style;
an abundance of small parts;
the game does not interfere with watching the movie.


the player is practically not needed here;
almost all the characters are either cardboard boxes or simply unpleasant personalities;
extremely clumsy political message.

How we played

What: the game is provided by the publisher

On what: PS4

What: 15 hours

Editors Achievement

"A pity"

Let Sean sleep once with someone so that at least something good happens in his life.

About localization

Subtitles are very intelligently translated into Russian. The voice acting is only English.


Extremely stupid interactive cinema, which has lost all that is good, for which they appreciated the first part. Someone, of course, will surely enjoy the process of raising a young superhero, but such players will have to diligently close their eyes to how clumsy developers promote their ideology.