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access_time August 23, 2019 at 6:40 PM in Reviews by David Poole

Review | Life is Strange 2 — Episode Four: Faith

Hitting the penultimate episode of Life is Strange 2, episode four brings comes at us with a lot of strong themes. Titled “Faith”, this episode poses a unique element that the others don’t really have in common. Focused mostly on Sean, the older of the two brothers, Faith tells us what it means to be family, to have acceptance, and even forgiveness. Given that this is a narrative focused game, this review may have minor spoilers. Reader discretion is advised.

No matter how the previous episode ends, Faith sees Sean in the hospital after being in a coma. Things aren’t looking good for him. Like an injured wolf caught in a trap, he’s in a position where all hope seems lost. Daniel is missing, the FBI are interrogating him, and he’s set to go to Juvenile Hall once he’s cleared at the hospital. After getting a tip from a note, Sean has a lead on finding his missing brother. However the player decides to get out of their predicament is up to them, just like many Life is Strange situations.

Like previous episodes of Life is Strange 2, Faith introduces players to a lot of new characters. Some are there to stand as an obstacle to Sean, while others are there to help him. It’s hard to know who to trust, as experience tells us that not everyone is who they seem. Regardless, sometimes, we have to take a leap of faith. We have to trust in our own judgment and make our own decisions. This is not only a gameplay feature of the Life is Strange series, but it’s a strong theme in this particular episode.

Much of Faith has Sean separated from his little brother Daniel. That’s very different than previous episodes where Sean and Daniel were nearly inseparable. When we finally find Daniel, unfortunately, he’s just outside of our reach, and we need everything we can to try and get him back. This includes getting help from an unexpected ally from Sean’s past. Given that Sean spends a lot of this episode isolated from his brother, it gives us time to focus on him. How this whole situation has changed him, and how he’s learned from the experience.

Despite Sean’s isolation, this episode spends a lot of time focusing on family. There’s a nice dream sequence that flashes back to a moment Sean spends with his dad. Even though it comes from on an event in Sean’s life, we still have control over his responses. It’s nice because we didn’t really have a lot of time to spend with Sean’s father. Even without this sequence, we also get a chance to see how important Daniel is to Sean. This includes a particularly powerful moment in the end of the episode. Finally, we get a chance for Sean to contemplate his feelings for his mother. Family has always been a strong theme in this game, but it’s even more powerful in Faith.

One part of Faith that Dontnod handles incredibly well is sexuality. In one scene, a character opens up about their sexuality. The Life is Strange series is definitely no stranger to LGBTQ+ characters and situations, but this particular scene was handled with care. Even though the player is able to choose how Sean talks about it, Sean accepts it as normal, as it should be. This moment also comes after a possible route in the previous episode where we even explore Sean’s sexuality. It’s great that Dontnod makes these leaps and strides for the community, making the representation more commonplace.

As always, the writing is very realistic as well. Feeling less like it’s from a script and more like natural dialogue, Life is Strange 2 here. Faith covers a lot of common issues in the world today. Issues like racism, homophobia, and more. This episode also tackles religion as well, though not exactly in the way some might expect. It gives an interesting outlook on how people can be corrupted, or even manipulated when it comes to belief. That isn’t to say that they put religion in a bad light. We won’t spoil it for you, so it’s best to find out for yourself.

This episode does much better in the presentation department than the previous episode. Faith has a bigger variety of locales, including a state highway that just makes you feel hot watching. The visuals maintain their style and sense of camera composition like always. Music seems to take a backseat here, but we still hear a couple good indie tracks. Regardless, the performances from the actors are stellar, including a great performance from Jolene Andersen.

Sean and Daniel have encountered a lot on their journey, and it’s nearing its end. If the final episode can deliver as well as Faith has, then Life is Strange 2 will be an excellent story as a whole. Strong performances and fantastic storytelling ground this strange narrative. It feels like something that can really happen, even with the supernatural elements. Dontnod has made me root for the brothers along this adventure, and I can’t wait to see how it all ends. December can’t come soon enough.

Final Score: 8.5 out of 10

GotGame is on OpenCritic, check out our reviews here.


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