It has been more than a year since we first met Sean and Daniel Diaz, and now their story has finally come to an end. We have followed the brothers’ emotional journey across the past four episodes, watching as they try their best to adjust to life on the run, getting themselves in and somehow out of unfortunate situations. With episode five bringing Life is Strange 2 to an end, every decision you have made thus far in the game suddenly matters more than ever.
Episode five picks up around one month from where the previous episode left off and opens with Sean and Daniel howling into the sun rise, immediately reminding us of everything they have been through so far. Now living with their estranged mother Karen in a desert commune, Sean and Daniel have had time to recover from everything that has happened so far and prepare for what awaits them at the border. The first hour or so of this episode is spent at the commune and while the slow pace most likely represents the very brief moment of peace the bothers have had; it is quite boring and takes up more of the episode than it should. Once you leave the commune, the game progresses rather quickly and since reaching Mexico was Sean and Daniel’s only goal, the time spent there feels very brief.
At the commune we meet a bunch of new characters who Sean and Daniel have already established a bond with. Unlike episode three where we get to heavily interact with the other characters and get to know them as a player, we unfortunately do not get to experience that with this group. We do however, in surprising cameo, get to meet a very different David from the original Life is Strange. In a conversation with Sean, David is remorseful for his past behaviours and acknowledges the events that ended Life is Strange before helping Sean and Daniel get on their way.
Once Sean and Daniel reach the Mexican border, they find themselves face to face with an impenetrable wall and it’s up to Daniel to get them through. After tearing open the wall, a new start for the pair lies only a few steps away but it snatched away from them when a pair of racist vigilantes hand them over to the police for crossing over into America, despite Sean’s pleas that they are American.
Life is Strange 2 has not been afraid to explore the social political climate in present-day America, as we have seen in previous episodes. The struggles that the Diaz family have had to face due to their Mexican heritage is what started everything. For the most part, the representation of xenophobia in Trump’s America is explored in a very stereotypical way, that does not feel real, but it is in the small quiet moments that the issue is most effective. For example, in the way Daniel innocently asks if there is a wall at the Canadian border, or the conversation Sean and Brody has in episode one, or Carla and Diego talking to Sean in Spanish about why they want to go to America.
Once you arrive at the border the game quickly progresses and before you know it every decision you have made so far suddenly matters when you have to make one final decision. The ending that you will get depends on the lessons and values that you have taught Daniel throughout game and will result in one of four final endings and a potential three variations.
In past episodes your choices didn’t always feel like they had any huge consequences but in the final moments of the game and the eventual ending you get really see how Sean has influenced Daniel. Sean’s character, for the most part, remains consistent no matter what choices you make. No matter what situation he finds himself him, he always does what’s best for Daniel and the love he has for his brother is at the forefront of everything. Watching how his brother interacts with everything around him and how he handles situations, Daniel will either have a high or low sense of morality, and while this is not obvious until the after final decision has been made, this trait will change what he does in the dramatic ending of the game.
While there is no ‘perfect’ ending, there is still positivity to be found. Episode Five is not the best, but each ending ties up the game nicely, and despite everything that the pair have gone through and will go through after the credits roll, the bond that Sean and Daniel share out shines everything else.
Life is Strange is one of the few games that near perfectly captures human connection and is a series that will hopefully live on for many seasons to come.