Game – Life is Strange Episode 2 Out of Time
Release Date – March 24th, 2015
Platform – All Xbox, PlayStation and PC
Genre – episodic adventure
If ever there was an appropriate title to a game or a game’s episode, it is Out of Time for the 2nd episode of Life is Strange. Following up on Episode 1 Chrysalis, we get to expand on Max’s newfound ability to rewind time as well as her rekindled friendship with Chloe. As I mentioned in our review of Episode 1, Life is Strange showcases its best work when we get to see Max interact with other people. It was a beautiful setup leading us into the life of the prototypical teenage girl attempting to find herself and where she wishes to proceed with her life. By the end of Out of Time and the emotional investment we’re forced to endure (gladly by the way), I was feeling so involved in Max and her life that there was a feeling of emptiness inside, as in an unknown of what’s going to happen, along with a type of itchiness or impatience for Episode 3 to be released.
Chloe’s shell seems to have cracked with Max as their relationship is as back to “normal” as it can get like the old times. We start off with Max waking up in her dorm and answering a text message to meet up at a diner for breakfast with Chloe. As you will notice, everything comes to a head in Episode 2. The choices you made with Nathan in episode 1 along with Kate Marsh come back to haunt or help you here. This is where, being a guy, made it a little difficult for me here. Of course guys know things girls go through and girls are aware of things guys go through, especially growing up as a teenager. We use this information to determine how we should interact with each other. What we don’t know, however, is how the other side actually feels a lot of the time. We may know why things are done by the opposite sex. Actually, it’s quite easy for both sides to see WHY the opposite sex does things. The struggle BEHIND those decisions is what both males and females struggle with when discussing the opposite sex. Make no bones about it, Life Is Strange is a game about a girl’s story in every essence of the word. Of course there are stereotypes, but it’s these stereotypes that are founded in reality that add to the emotional investment I made as a player. Max is becoming wrapped up in all her friend’s problems that for some reason add more to the story than an ability to rewind time. It’s this intriguing dynamic, and an ability by DontNod that has yet to be duplicated, to add such a human element to a game like Life is Strange that makes the player want to explore every facet of the episode. In fact, as it seems, although Max has the ability to rewind time and alter events, she may very well be the least important person in the game’s final outcome shockingly.
Very near the beginning of the episode, just barely into it, we find out that Max doesn’t have a super power. After all, super powers are for super heroes and super heroes don’t get hurt. Max’s ability, as it is brought to light, is harming her every time she channels its energy. Each time we rewind time, the edges of the screen go red like we were injured in aBattlefield multiplayer match. It’s no longer an unlimited power, but a finite resource that Max must navigate properly. And if you guessed that this all comes to a head near the end of the episode than hats off to you, you’re right! As I mentioned above, Out of Time is the perfect title for this episode as it gets down to crunch time and it’s put up or shut up for us at the episode’s end. Every single decision I made within the first two episodes smacked me right in the face all at once and I almost didn’t know what to do. Everyone who plays Life is Strange will most likely do what I did at this point in the game. After all, Life is Strange is based nearly entirely around the human element of interaction and emotional involvement. Ever think to yourself “What if I never took that class in college and met my wife?” or “What if I took that job offer and moved away? Would I have still met my husband?” or any other life choice you have pondered to yourself? It all comes to a head at the end where a life involving drugs, friends’ problems, feeling alone, popular yet misunderstood brings about memories in the player. I found myself thinking “What would I do?” as well as thinking that I was in a similar situation myself at certain times and was I happy with the decision I made at that time in my life. Regardless of how happy you may be in your life, it’s only human to think about the “what if” type of scenarios I just mentioned.
It’s this type of human element that makes Life is Strange so fascinating. It’s a game about a teenager and what she is going through but in a game that a teenager themselves can not possibly understand the true magnitude of. That’s because you had to have lived through these decisions long enough to see their ramifications in order to truly know whether or not you did the right thing. I’m 36 years old, that’s twice as old as Max, and while playing episode two I was reminded of that big hair glasses kid back in high school and how he felt when deciding on college, career paths, and personal dilemnas. Now is a different story. I wake up in the morning looking fly and ready to go and are there things I’ve done that I would change? Of course, who hasn’t. What Max and Life is Strange have done, however, is remind you of the fact that as fast as life goes and as quick of decision that you have to make, be sure to keep your moral compass involved because everything you do impacts everything and everyone around you. You are never capable of pleasing everyone regardless of who you are and oh boy does Out of Time let you know that with a shot to the gut. Everything you’ve done boils down to one single point at the end. There is no warning, it just pops up. Even if you play after reading this, you’ll be caught off guard. I mentioned moral compass. That isn’t just going through the dialogue of the game and trying to pick the choice you think is best. It involves taking the time to talk to everyone around you, explore the characters’ rooms, look for clues to what’s “really” going on in their lives and then taking all this information and wrapping it around your brain for each interaction.
This is where the ending comes into play. It shows you what type of person you made Max. Are you a good friend? Are you just out for yourself? Were you too young and naïve to think about the future? Were you truly interested in your acquaintances lives or just fluffing along the conversation?
You are taken on a true roller coaster ride with Life is Strange episode 2 Out of Time. All the decisions you have made slowly come to a head just like you are heading up that first hill of the roller coaster. All of a sudden, all at once, all those decisions that you made with the ability to control come to a point that you CAN’T control. You just hit that crest of the hill and hope you made the right decisions along the way. It’s a gut wrenching journey that every adult will understand as we’ve been through this same thing multiple times. Teenagers or young adults playing won’t truly understand the gravity of the situation as they simply haven’t lived it yet. What they can do, however, is hopefully learn from the game for when the time comes in their lives that they are faced with a similar situation. Take the time to learn about your friends and show that you care. Give a little effort. If you can’t control the ending, the least you can do is be sure you’re as prepared as can be. If you don’t, you won’t be able to change anything because before you know, you’ll be Out of Time.