The story of Sean and Daniel that has been told across the first three episodes of Life is Strange 2 is a thoroughly downbeat and depressing affair. Any semblance of hapiness or fleeting moment of joy is quickly quashed by impending doom and the latest disaster in a long line of disasters. Therefore this all made it all the more refreshing that, despite the bleak ending of episode three and the difficult spot that protagonist Sean finds himself in as “Faith” begins, this latest episode ends up being one of the most positive and hopeful chapters of their story yet.
The fractuous relationship between Sean and his little brother Daniel imploded at the end of the last installment in spectacular fashion. Sean was left with a life-long souvenir of that event, and we pick up here seeing just how he is coping with losing the use of his left eye. Although this moment is possibly the lowest point in the series, it is almost the release we – as the players – have all been waiting for. After reaching this rock-bottom moment, the episode picks up a lot of momentum as new characters emerge, new challenges arise, and the brothers attempt a reconciliation.
I’ll leave most of my analysis of the overall story and pacing until the end of episode five, once the series is complete, but after the sometimes ponderous speed at which the first two episodes ambled along and the break-neck fashion in which the third chapter hurtled by much too quickly, Dontnod seem to have finally nailed it with this instalment. Faith is constantly pushing you forward with clear aims and objectives to complete, but allows itself some breathing time to expand upon the troubled childhood of the two still-young protagonists – breathing extra life into their story and making Sean a far more compassionate lead.
There are of course still the usual decisions to make as you go through the episode, and whilst most of them seem fairly cut and dry decisions, this strangely doesn’t feel limiting. Whereas in the past some of the choices to make have seemed a bit irrelevant or random, almost every one in this chapter feels like it is a culmination of previous events or actions – you feel compelled to make a certain decision based on the previous ones you have made – which have helped shape the character that you are playing as. This make things all the more satisfying, as whatever you are doing feels like it is true to YOUR version of Sean, rather than just nudging forward a predetermined narrative.
It should also be said that Faith is probably the most technically sound part of the story yet too. None of the frame rate of loading issues that have cropped up in prior chapters rear their ugly heads here, letting nothing distract from your involvement in the story at hand. Graphical set pieces such as a lonely trek through the desert are visually impressive – even if masked somewhat by the stylised graphics. After the snowy village from episode two, and the dark woodlands of the third, to be out in bright sunlight – almost blindingly so – gives Faith a very different feeling from what has come before, helping add to the personality of the episode.