Review: Life is Strange – Episode 2: Rules (2019)

After a long wait, Life is Strange Episode 2 takes a break from the main story and sees the Diaz brothers reunite with family and make some friends

After 4 months of waiting we’ve finally been reunited with the Diaz brothers as they continue their life on the road after the tragic accident that resulted in the death of their father and a police officer. Episode 2 of Dontnod Entertainment’s Life is Strange 2, entitled Rules, is much slower paced than the first episode and offers a further insight into the dynamic between the two brothers.

Rules, takes place around a month after episode one and the once colourful autumn landscape of the Pacific Northwest has transitioned into a snow-covered wonderland. After a month or so of living in the wild, Daniel gets sick and Sean must find some real shelter and food so his brother can recover. The pair stumble across an abandoned cabin and take the opportunity to learn more about Daniel’s telekinetic power. The opening minutes of the episode see Sean training Daniel to control his powers by having him pick up rocks, cans, and stop snowballs in mid-air. It is in these moments that we also learn the theme of the episode; rules. Sean wants Daniel to hide his power and not show off but decision to whether Daniel is encouraged to use his power or supress lies with the player, and Sean will enforce that decision throughout the episode.

With Daniel’s health not improving Sean makes the decision to pay their grandparents a visit so that Daniel can get medicine and fully recover. After a painful 2-day hike, the brothers arrive in Beaver Creek and take refuge with their grandparents who agree to take care of them. The free demo The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit that was released last year also takes place in Beaver Creek and shows a day in the life of Chris Eriksen, who happens to live next door to Sean and Daniel’s grandparents. At the end of Captain Spirit, Chris falls from a tree and seemingly floats down to safety, and it was then that we got our first ever look at Sean and Daniel Diaz.  Being of similar ages and both loving superheroes, Chris and Daniel immediately become friends and it doesn’t take long before Daniel is sharing his power with Chris, and letting him think he’s the one with the power. While this cross-over does not seem to have much impact on the overall story, it’s a nice touch especially for those of us who have played The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit and further invests us into the Life is Strange universe.

Taking around three hours to complete, Rules is very slow compared to episode one and you find yourself not so patiently waiting for the story to progress. There are no major decisions to be made, and at the end of the episode the game essentially tells you whether your decision regarding Daniel using his powers was right or wrong and will most likely allow you to change that decision in later episodes. Other than learning a little about Sean and Daniel’s absent mother, episode 2 does not add anything meaningful to the plot.

With Rules it feels like the story is taking a very early detour away from the main plot when it should be advancing it, especially at this early stage. Despite disappointing many fans, the decision to step away from the action was most likely a deliberate one that might impact the story more than we think. Whatever the reason for the change of pace, we’re still very much invested in the Diaz brothers and are excited to see where their story takes us.

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