Life is Strange 2 debuted at Gamescom last night, giving us a tantalising look at what to expect from the next season of this choice-based adventure. From a different set of characters who are replacing Max and Chloe to the way choices will now play an even bigger role in the story, it left us desperate to see more.
We saw two scenes in action, and both impressed us in different ways. Let’s not keep you waiting a hella long time, here are 5 of our biggest takeaways from this early glimpse of Life is Strange 2.
1. The ties that bind
Set roughly three years after the original Life is Strange, this sequel moves the action to a new pair: brothers Sean and Daniel Diaz. Sean, a pretty typical 16 year old, has to look after his 9 year old bro after a devastating incident (which we won’t go into because we don’t want to spoil it) sees them leave their adopted home of Seattle and being a long journey to Puerto Lobos, Mexico.
Sean and Daniel’s story promises to be just as good as Max and Chloe’s because it’s a different type of relationship being explored. Sean needs to set an example for Daniel, while also looking after him, which feeds into some subtle tweaks to the choices you make…
2. Choose carefully
As a 9 year old, Daniel is very impressionable. As we see during the first scene demoed, which is set in a thick forest on the outskirts of Washington, choices will now have an effect on your brother as well as the wider world.
For instance, the pair come across a car that has a chocolate bar on the dashboard. Daniel is starving (they’ve been travelling for a few days at this point), and practically begs Sean for it. If you decide to acquiesce to his demands, your younger sibling will notice that stealing is something that you can get away with. This extra moral wrinkle should have us deliberating for hours on end throughout the seasons.
3. Lush looks
This scene also gives us a chance to take in the upgraded engine the game is running on. With the move to Unreal Engine 4, Life is Strange 2 is visually stunning, with its comic-y art style looking more natural in the sequel, along with improved lip-syncing and some truly spectacularly views. When the camera lingers on the brothers looking out at a winding river in the distance, with verdant trees towering above them, it looks like a graphic novel springing off the pages.
4. Music Matters
One of the subtler things that made the original Life is Strange so affecting was its soundtrack. Well, good news – original composer Jonathan Morali is returning, and the snippets we’ve heard of his sparse, haunting score promise to be just as integral to the atmosphere of this sequel.
On top of that, there’ll still be licensed songs scattered throughout the game. At the start of the second scene we’re shown, Sean is walking home, nattering with his friend Laylia, while Phoenix’s Lisztomania jangles in the background. When he gets into the house, he plays The Streets off his record player, even singing along with the occasional line. They’re little details, but they help give Life is Strange 2 a distinctive flavour.
If there is one major piece of connective tissue between the original Life is Strange and its sequel, it’s in the form of mysterious, supernatural powers. If Max had the ability to rewind time, it’s unclear what Sean can do just yet, but Dontnod have confirmed a new power will be in the game, and during the second scene we see, we catch a glimpse of a huge force of energy being expelled when a major incident (again: no spoilers) happens.
With the time rewinding system so integral to the puzzles of the first game, whatever your new power is, we’re reckon it’ll play a similarly large role in the game.