Only read the following if you are up to date with Life is Strange 2.
For the first time in Life is Strange 2, Sean is alone. After the fateful incident at the weed farm, Daniel fled back to the camp when he saw Sean lying on the floor, afraid that he was dead. He has since disappeared, with no sign of where he could be, and the feds aren’t finding him either. Sean wasn’t so lucky. He’s in the hospital, in custody, with a heavily injured eye. Welcome to Life is Strange 2: Episode 4 “Faith”.
The episode starts with the story of the wolf brothers once again, even though Sean has no one to tell it to, this time. It makes sense that the story was never just for Daniel, but also a coping mechanism for Sean to process everything they were going through. The story is followed by a short dream where Sean and Daniel are back together for a short moment and everything is just fine. It helps to refresh the characters’ motivations after a long break and allows the writers to lull you into a sense of false security before ripping it away and showing you how dire the situation really is.
Spoilers: it’s incredibly dire. Sean is spending his last day at the hospital before being shipped off to the juvenile detention centre, the feds have no leads on Daniel, so Sean has no hope of finding him ever again, and he has to clean his eye several times a day as well as changing the gauze. The only person who seems to be on his side at the moment is Joey, and even he can’t do much except the usual medical check-ups and chatting with Sean. That is until he brings Sean his notebook back.
Jacob took Daniel to Haven Point, the highly religious cult that he escaped from, after seeing his powers. Haven Point is the endgame for the fourth episode of Life is Strange 2. Just as the title says, the theme of faith and its many meanings is prevalent throughout the episode, from the personal level, like Joey having faith in Sean all the way to the larger scale of faith in a religious cult. Faith is the driving force for all the characters in this episode.
Sean is left without Daniel for most of “Faith”. In fact, it’s not only the first time in the game they’re completely separated, but probably the first time since Daniel was born. He may not be alone in the strict sense of the word, as he encounters several different people on his way to Haven Point, but he has no family, no friends, and no home. For most of this episode, you’re on the road, waiting, or in pain. The constant travel and being separated from Daniel are both factors that leave the gameplay a bit sparse for this episode. It’s fitting as the fourth act in a tragedy to have a moment of respite, but that also means that I have very little hope that episode five will end well for the wolf brothers.
The fourth episode of Life is Strange 2 tackles a series of heavy topics. First and foremost, as previously mentioned, many topics adhere to the theme of “faith”. Sean’s faith in Jacob to keep Daniel safe is what keeps him moving, even as he gets beat up by racist hillbillies, runs out of gas and trudges through the Californian desert. Will you have faith that strangers won’t call the police? Can you still have faith in your mother after she left your family when you were eight years old? How do you free someone from an oppressive cult if it’s giving them all they’ve ever wanted: a family, a place to belong, and acknowledgement?
Although this episode has many strengths, its one weakness is how little gameplay it has comparatively. Even if it will definitely work in combination with the rest of the game, it stands out when compared with the other episodes, due to the fact that Dontnod has done a good job with making them standalone experiences so far. However, the lack of the intensive gameplay and people to interact with lets you feel the same feeling of hopelessness and loneliness as Sean at times.
You’re nowhere near Daniel, and the game makes you feel it. Not to mention there’s rarely a choice that lets you get away without someone getting hurt, and forgiveness is really tough, especially after you’ve been raked through the mud. Storywise, there’s little to nothing to complain about. The game is really well-written and that makes it all the tougher to make the big choices this episode.
By the end of “Faith”, Sean has been raked through the mud. He has been broken several times, and he suffers it all to make sure that Daniel is safe. Daniel has changed by the end of the episode. He’s not as innocent and annoying as he once was, and he has been used and controlled by countless people already. He’s not the one who has to defend himself physically, but mentally. Both of the wolf brothers are worse for wear, and you can only hope that something is going to change in their lives for the better, even if there’s no peace in sight just yet.
Emotionally, Life is Strange 2: Episode 4: “Faith” is gruelling. The abuse is piling up, the feds are in his face, and Sean is alone. Even if the lack of gameplay fittingly rubs salt in that wound, it still leaves something missing, so the episode doesn’t stand on its own as well as the other episodes so far. The writing is great, the voice acting is good, and the atmosphere is really well made, but the lack of gameplay is what stops the episode from reaching its full potential. It could easily be a contender for the best Life is Strange episode if it just had a tiny bit more meat on the bone. However, it’s still an excellent addition to the franchise, and I can’t wait to see how Dontnod concludes the story of the wolf brothers.
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The wolf brothers have faced a lot since they left Seattle, but “Faith” ups the ante in one of the best episodes so far, even if it could do with just a bit more gameplay.
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