RPS Chat: Life Is Strange Mid-Season Thoughts

The problem with trying to review the second episode of Life is Strange [official site], Dontnod’s five-part teen drama, is that it would be largely the same as the first episode review except steeped in spoilers. That’s why our episode 2 coverage is going to be a conversation between Adam and me. Full of spoilers. Like, SWIMMING in spoilers. Hella spoilers. From the start.

The other thing you might need to know is that Life Is Strange deals with strong material. There’s a scene in episode 2 which deals with suicide/attempted suicide as well as a continuance of a plotline which involves issues of consent and potential date rape. There’s a chance you might not want to deal with those right now, or would appreciate the warning that they’re coming up.

Pip: One of the reasons I wanted to do it like this was because I was averse to creating an alternate save where I made different decisions. I thought it might ruin any investment I had in the ones from my “canon” playthrough.

My main attachment is to Chloe. I really like her in a way that I just can’t do with Max. Max really winds me up and I would have unfriended her on Livejournal. That’s why my choices tend to reflect whatever I think is the best option for Chloe or the one which shows her the most affection. I also really like Kate Marsh. She’s the religious girl who ends up caught in this horrible viral video bullying thing after things go too far at a party. The episode goes to some really dark places with her and understandably so, which is partly why I’m itching to ask WHAT HAPPENED IN YOURS?

Adam: Kate is my favourite character. Not WAS my favourite character, IS my favourite character. I think, from what the internet has told me since I finished playing last night (and I was a bit of an emotional mess by the end) that Kate’s fate is the big changing point.

I want to talk about my thoughts on the writing, the teenageness of it all and the setting in a broader sense, since I haven’t written about episode one yet – but let’s cover Kate first. How is she in your game?

Pip: She is unhappy but she still IS. And yeah, I think that’s the big point of difference between people’s playthroughs now. I thought it would be the earlier moment when you have to decide whether to pull the trigger (on an empty gun) on some guy threatening Chloe.

How did you think it was handled?

Adam: The Kate story in particular?

Pip: Yeah. It’s such charged territory and it left me needing some time to collect myself and my thoughts. I think there were a few bits of dialogue which seemed clunky – sort of…simplistic, I guess. But overall it felt like the build up had been there and the relationship I’d tried to build with her had led to a certain amount of trust for when I tried to help.

Adam: I was pretty much broken by Kate as soon as I saw her sitting in her room, hiding from the world at the beginning of the episode. And I think, from there, I expected something terrible to happen. I mean, it already is happening but I was surprised that it seemed to be coming to an endpoint so quickly.

It’s interesting that the aftermath of all of the cruelty and sadness is clearly going to be a focal point. And that could make Kate seem like a plot device, inserted to paint a picture of corruption and this blinkered little society, but she felt like a strongly written character in her own right. I believed in her and even though I tend to be dubious about stories that take a short route to high drama, I think the writing and performances here just about pull it off.

One of the things that strikes me is that for all the pettiness, unkindness and horribleness, it feels like a sympathetic game. It could so easily come across as exploitative – and I’m sure some people will react to it that way – but I feel simultaneously punched in the gut and cuddled by it in a weird sort of way. I think it’s because, in those scenes with Kate, it recognises victim blaming and allows you to see it as a grotesque situation rather than seeking some sort of immediate justice – there’s a revulsion about some of the behaviour that comes very naturally to me but it’s tempered by Max looking for what’s right.

But here’s where we disagree, you see. I think Max is great! You would totally definitely have unfriended me on Livejournal as well.

Pip: I might just unfollow you on Twitter.

I’m concerned about what happens next with Kate. This episode is also very much about expanding on the idea of this conspiracy and something malevolent. What’s happening with Kate in the present is linked to the disappearance of Chloe’s best friend, maybe girlfriend, Rachel. At the end of the episode when they’re teasing for the next one there’s this shelf with girls’ names on folders with Rachel on the far right and then Kate as a creepy work-in-progress on the table.

It could turn out to have an innocent twist on it but I’m also concerned that the slut-shaming and cyber abuse might just end up as part of this wider anomalous creep stuff rather than a real concern.

Adam: Yes. That’s exactly how I feel. And it ties into something wider – one of the things that I think the first two episodes capture really well at times is the heightened intensity of being a teenager. Everything is the best thing ever or the worst thing ever. The end of the world or the start of a new life. Life is strange because it damn well is and that’s that. It’s strange when the nasty crowd actually have their own problems and fucked up lives. It’s strange when your friends kiss you or other people don’t kiss you, and everybody else seems to be getting kissed the whole time. That whole confusion of emotions with these intelligent and interesting characters is strange enough.

But it’s also a game about time manipulation and prescient nightmares, and weird weather anomalies (some of which are practically apocalyptic), and spirit animals (maybe) and conspiracies. So far I’ve enjoyed how the weirder stuff has played on the mundane, everyday highs and lows, but I worry that some of that is going to be lost as the Big Story takes over. And that’s when some of the really strong and quite unexpectedly raw emotional punches might start to seem like plot devices. Necessary dramatic beats on the route to a big finale. I really hope that’s not the case.

Does the game make you angry? I am very angry about some of the things that are happening. I shouted at the screen when I started getting threatening texts from Nathan’s dad. Kids being fucked up and cruel is one thing – but some rich asshole trying to push a teenage girl around? ARGH.

Pip: Actually not. When I was writing about the first episode I compared it to a bunch of teen original fiction I used to read and you’d get a lot of that in those dramas. There were always teachers who would cut the protagonist off when they were trying to share something important, or some rich guy’s dad throwing his weight around or a local cop or parent who thought the secretly awesome teens were Up To No Good so I think it’s something I was expecting.

It’s where I’ve felt most obviously manipulated too, so I actively resist reacting to it. It’s like, if you’re pushing me this hard towards something I’ll start expecting a twist and stop reacting, just let the story play out. Some of the characters will likely be berks, but you might have noticed a shade of that stuff with how the security guard gets treated. In the first episode he’s basically a suspicious gun-loving maniac war veteran, then in the second ep you get context and he seems to care, just be a bit totalitarian in how he approaches that. I was annoyed there wasn’t an option to be more pleasant to him in conversation, actually.

On that note, when you were in the principal’s office at the end of the episode and had a chance to start pinning the blame on someone who did you actually go with?

Adam: I had an argument with my girlfriend about who we should go with. The joy of playing these things cooperatively is that you realise that you can be on different pages for the same reason. Take a guess of the three choices which one NEITHER of us was comfortable with.

Pip: Hmm. The security guard?

Adam: Bingo.

Pip: I was uncomfy with him because he actually seemed like a human being by that point, then the game had made it clear you can’t pick Nathan (the creepy dickhead from your school who’s being positioned as something, if not date-rapey, then on that spectrum) without some kind of irrefutable proof. It left the creepy photography teacher who had basically hinted that maybe Kate was asking for it. I mean, I was going to pick him ANYWAY because he’s a dick but it didn’t really feel like a choice so I’m interested that you and your girlfriend disagreed.

Adam: I was in the Jefferson camp. The issue with Nathan is that Claire (to give my girlfriend her name) is possibly less interested in paying attention to the choices and consequences as part of the game – she’s effectively treating Life is Strange as a TV show that I happen to be interrupting while I scratch my chin every now and again. And she’s incensed that nothing is being done about this guy who certainly appears to be – and I’m fairly sure the game hasn’t used the word (?) – a rapist.

Do you find it odd that it’s so strongly implied but never named? Is that in-character or is it a squeamishness in the script? Or something else entirely. I can’t decide. There’s part of me that suspects there’s a get-out clause in not naming it that allows for the impact of the implication without having to face up to the consequences of it in some ways. I’m not sure how I feel about it. And I’m not particularly good at thinking or feeling about it.

Pip: I’d been wondering something similar. What I’d thought was that Dontnod are being deliberately vague and it might have something to do with how the game plays out. Nathan is certainly painted as this dreadful person who abuses power and his treatment of women fits with that and plays into it – with Kate and, as you learn from a conversation towards the end of the first episode, with Chloe. It’s also there in the closing moments of this episode as he moves towards Victoria in her room.

But at this point I still feel like Dontnod might try to pull a twist out of that. Nothing has been explicitly confirmed and when that’s the case videogames and teen fiction have the habit of pulling out twists or making conspiracies or wrongdoing go to a person one step beyond the villainous characters they put in front of you at first. I don’t trust Nathan not to end up being positioned as a victim of someone else before the game is out.

There’s also another possibility here, in addition to your suggestions. It’s the more mundane and infinitely sadder one. It’s that this stuff is incredibly hard to talk about and a lot of women doubt their own experiences or are made the doubt them. In my version Max advises against Kate going to the cops because she won’t be believed. Mr Jefferson insinuates that Kate might not be as innocent of blame as you think. Rape is a word which carries so much weight and has the capacity to bring so much harm and shame and all manner of other complicated negativity when you mention it that it feels very real to me that the characters involved would be reticent to say the word.

Adam: Yes, that second paragraph is pretty much everything I wanted to say when I said it might “in-character”. Said much better than I could have said it. I had a slightly different experience because I had Max tell Kate to go to the cops – I had the same concerns about lack of evidence, support and belief in her story, as well as being frightened of the consequences from the accused. But I was worried that advising against might suggest that I didn’t think it was a serious situation, or that I didn’t believe it was right for police involvement – in other words, that nothing criminal had occurred.

The problem with that approach – and, again, this may be intentional as part of the portrayal of a very difficult conversation – is that Max backs down quite quickly when Kate asks her to come along with her while she talks to somebody. As well as showing her own fear and uncertainty, it also conveniently allows the Kate story in that episode to play out without too much interference from Max.

Which leads me back to that nagging concern that some of the painful and very real experiences that the game touches on are going to be little more than bumps in the road in a story that is less than the sum of its parts.

But I’m being cautious rather than critical. As it stands, at the moment, I think the game is a powerful and mostly well-tuned piece of work.

34 Comments

  1. draglikepull says:

    Has the writing improved from the first episode? I gave up about 30-40 minutes into the first episode because the writing was just so exceptionally bad.

    • Malarious says:

      It doesn’t change, if that’s what you’re asking. The teenagers still talk like teenagers do (and I say that as a teen myself). I didn’t have any issues with it — the diary excepted. When the lines were coming out of a character’s mouth they sounded fine, but the journal lacked that context and suffered immensely.

      Regarding Max:
      I definitely get a Mary Sue-ish vibe from her, but I like her a lot anyway. She kinda lacks personality but I love her design, and as a vessel for the player, she works well. Definitely my favorite character so far, with Victoria a distant second (“Go fuck your selfie” was just too good).

      • demicanadian says:

        IMHO it is better in second episode. In first episode most choices only gave you an option to act like an angsty 15-yo, and it’s much better in that manner in episode 2 (although Max is trying to do that all the time)

    • DoughburtCakesworth says:

      I actually haven’t played the game yet but plan to. Would you care to elaborate a bit more on why you thought the writing was so bad?

      • draglikepull says:

        Nothing that the characters say sounds at all like real human speech. It sounds like what a bad writer thinks archetypes are supposed to sound like.

        Going back to the first episode, I felt like most of the time it feels like the characters were talking to me, not each other. For example (minor spoiler), if you try to turn in the rich kid after the bathroom scene, the principal says something like “That kid belongs to one of the richest families in the county and has a good academic record so I don’t know if I can believe you.” Ugh. UGH. Let me find those things out naturally through the story, don’t have a character hit me over the head with it.

        Also just in general the characters behave in ways that are not believable, and their motivations either don’t make sense or are non-existent.

        • RabbitIslandHermit says:

          I think there was a lot less clunky exposition this time around but if you didn’t like the way the characters were written in general last time you probably won’t like this episode’s writing either.

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          Adam Smith says:

          I had a similar reaction early on and there was a definite acclimatisation process. But I’m also as happy to tolerate stylised dialogue as I am to tolerate stylised visuals – I think Life is Strange captures its style well in both regards.

          There isn’t as much exposition in the second episode – as you might expect – but there’s no major shift in the writing.

    • ribby says:

      I think it’s actually slightly worse… or maybe I was just less inclined to tolerate it because of the dull, repetitive puzzles.

      • Silith321 says:

        That was my reaction as well. I didn’t mind it too much in the first episode, because the first episode was doing all kinds of interesting things, but the first half of the second episode… ugh. It’s also much easier for me to tolerate the teen speak when the actual teens talk – but the second episode has more adults and THEIR dialogue is really just bad.

        Having said that the last half of the episode more than made up for it. I also absolutely adore the art direction and the music. It’s so very well done and I love the little scenes where Max can just sit and hang out somewhere, enjoying the scenery and music.

        So this can go either way – the game can either grow into something really brilliant, or become really bad, depending on how it’s going to handle its heavy themes I guess.

        I really liked this writeup btw. Very insightful.

  2. RabbitIslandHermit says:

    Glad to see some recognition of the game’s excellent visuals. I’m really happy to see a game that understands cinematography beyond black bars and horrid looking film filters (this coming from someone who actually likes real film grain).

    Y’all are making me regret blaming the security guard. I was creeped out by Jefferson’s victim blaming (and was looking for a “go fuck yourself” dialogue option after he let loose that gem), but decided that a) while David clearly does what he does out of sense of duty photographing and harassing students is still way over the line no matter what Kate is mixed up in and b) Max doesn’t need to antagonize any more people. I do feel bad for him and especially for Joyce, as I suspect I may have doomed them economically. Whoops!

  3. tehfish says:

    Interesting, particularly on your ‘who to blame’ decisions, you both ruled out the only choice i thought was the sane one :)

    As for the characters, i see a lot of my own personality in Max, making this far easier to roleplay in my head than most other games with a fixed protagonist. Chloe i’m a little confused about. In RL i’d get on fine with her but i’m a bit concerned how she’s a terrible influence on Max :P It’s actually Kate that creeps me out a bit, she’s a lovely girl yet i find the excessive religion aspect quite uncomfortable, but thats probably just me.

  4. ribby says:

    I’ll admit I haven’t got to the end and have already had the big spoiler ruined for me… Maybe that will make this episode amazing- but I’m currently at the bit where they’re shooting bottles and stuff, and so far I’ve found Episode 2 extremely dull…

    I ignored it in episode 1, because it was sort of setting the scene (although I realize now that it should have been able to hold my interest more and introduce the characters, the way Telltale games have always done) but now the clunky out-of-touch-with-teenagers dialogue, stereo-typical characters (so far you can kind of guess everything about a character’s personality the instant you meet them) and sub-par acting is beginning to grate.

    I can’t get emotionally attached to characters that I don’t believe are real people.

    And I can’t follow a story when the situations don’t seem to fully make sense. Supposing I’d not answered Kate’s call in the diner for example, would I have been able to call her back? Why does Chloe wait until you’ve named everything in her pockets before she starts getting excited? Why does Chloe think that answering your phone for a 2 minute conversation is rude? Why doesn’t Max get better at grabbing that bottle the second time a-la Edge of Tomorrow? Why is she so clumsy that it would literally be impossible for her to live her life without time travel? Why does someone just randomly throw toilet paper out of a door and why does the person it hits behave like such a baby “I’m not feeling social”? Screw you you whiny baby! Why can’t anyone tell that Kate is drugged in a video of people making out with her- if it was bad enough that she couldn’t remember anything, that sounds like a date-rape drug- surely she’d be in an absolute state? How has this incident moved from the teenage gossip circle into the adult’s? (one thing about bullies is that they’re not going to get adults involved because the adults might try to sort it out). How has her entire family found out about it? Why hasn’t she at least shared her suspicion with her closest family when she’s so easily prepared to tell Max?

    The scene where you prove your powers was the absolute worst. It was like an incredibly un-cinematic and boring version of the Groundhog Day scene. Instead of the character proving it by saying what is going to happen just before it happens, having lived the events so many times you have to.

    1. First go back in time and watch what is going to happen. (Interesting that nothing is going on until she decides she’s going to prove it and then 4 things happen in about 15 seconds)
    2. Tell Chloe bit by bit what you saw (I was wondering- if you got it a little bit wrong, would she just not believe you?
    3. Watch it happen again with Chloe intermittently saying vapid, cringy things that basically surmount to “gosh!”

    • RabbitIslandHermit says:

      Well to address one of your criticisms, Kate’s extremely fundie family would probably take “I was drugged” as excuse-making, and Kate knows it.

    • Silith321 says:

      If you get anything wrong you have to do it again. And again. Until you get it right. It made me almost throw the controller against the screen because I had to redo it a couple of times since I didn’t get what was happening. And then the bottle shooting… Ugh. After the bottle shooting it gets better though so try to get through it.

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        Harlander says:

        Hopefully they’ll realise that those ‘puzzles’ were awful and try something else in future episodes.

    • Justin Keverne says:

      Weirdly everything you cite as a reason the story doesn’t make sense is what makes me feel like these are real people.

      • ribby says:

        I see what you mean- some of them are just things that don’t really make sense to me

        others are just things that make me hate them all… I think I got a little confused half-way through the rant

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    Wisq says:

    There’s a very specific series of choices that let you accuse Nathan at the end without everyone trying to undermine you. He gets suspended until the investigation is complete, instead of Max.

    “Accusing” Jefferson doesn’t really accuse him so much as saying “he talked to her, she ran off crying, so I knew something was wrong” and gets you out of that question. So yeah, if you’ve screwed up and can’t finger Nathan, that’s a good alternative, though (like everything) it does have repercussions for him.

    But yeah, I agree, accusing the security guy is the only option that feels completely wrong. On the other hand, that’s really only because of his heartfelt “I don’t want to fight, I’m just trying to help” a few scenes prior, and the fact that (as an adult) I can see where he’s coming from, even if his methods are pretty suspect. In the mind of a rebellious teen, I could see fingering him because he’s such a stuck-up “facist” authority figure.

    I think what perhaps disappointed me the most is knowing that no matter how much you neglected Kate, there *is* a very specific path of options that allows you to prevent her death — whereas focusing entirely on helping her only reduces the number of “correct” answers you need and gives you more chances to recover from screwing up. It does feel a bit game-y and a cop-out to say that no matter how much of a jerk you were, you can always recover in time if you know exactly what to say.

    Similarly, you can pretty much always be a jerk to Chloe, and she’ll be briefly upset but okay with it in the long run. And this isn’t just “I know what each decision does”, this is “I know she’s a core part of the plot and has a lot of immutable dialogue, so I can get away with anything and she’ll be okay with it in the end”.

    But then, going either of those routes isn’t really what this sort of game is about. I just find it’s really hard for me to properly play the role, knowing what I know about game design and branching dialogue trees and whatnot. I’m used to roleplaying in games being something *I* do, pretty much entirely outside the game, and then I play the game “weirdly” to reflect that. Having the game actually give me my role seems to lead to me trying to min/max my decisions, especially when going back and trying other ones (within the same scene, at least) is explicitly encouraged.

    • tehfish says:

      Ooh, interesting. Thats what happened when i accused Nathan and got him suspended, didn’t realise there was an alternate outcome to that!

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        Wisq says:

        Yeah, it’s interesting because if the game weren’t so focused on letting you try out decisions and see what happens — and making you doubt and rethink and double-rethink those decisions — I think the path that gets Nathan suspended would be the natural path for a lot of people. Like, reporting him is the “safe” thing to do, staying hidden in the closet is the “safe” thing to do, and if you only had one shot at it (short of manual reloading), they’re probably what a lot of people would do.

        Instead, they seem to explicitly encourage you to try all the options, and there are some that seem to be the “win” version, that seem to have an immediate positive outcome. And yet, those outcomes are the same ones that bite you in the ass down the line.

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          Harlander says:

          Nah, I went straight for the ‘dob Nathan in’ option and didn’t even look back. To hell with that rapist sleazebag. Him getting suspended felt satisfying, even if nothing will probably stick to him in the long run.

          Though from reading the other comments, that could have gone differently if I’d acted differently up to that point.

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      Wisq says:

      Oh, and a couple quick notes (since there’s no edit):

      I think the aspect I like the most so far is how the game makes you doubt yourself and your decisions.

      My first playthrough, I told the principal about Nathan, because jesus there’s a guy with a gun in the bathroom. I had slightly spoiled myself when I came to that decision and I knew he wouldn’t see any punishment; what I didn’t expect was Chloe telling me I shouldn’t have, and Nathan trashing my room and then attacking me in the parking lot.

      So, in a second playthrough, I tried not doing that. And I also took the blame for Chloe’s pot, because in the short term, that seemed like the answer — David already hated me, Chloe was my friend, and here’s my chance to really cement that friendship while not making any more enemies than I already had.

      Of course, that all backfired on me when I tried to finger Nathan in the principal’s office, and suddenly I’ve got both the principal yelling at me that I never told him, David yelling that I was a pothead, and boom, I’m suspended. Oops.

      So I think they did a great job of making sure that there’s no one “right” decision, and that you’ll piss different people off depending on what you do. I wouldn’t be surprised if, despite the mounting pressure on Nathan, he turns out to be a much worse problem than expected, and/or to be not as guilty as he seems.

      The aspect I dislike the most so far: the sudden tonal shifts because they try to splice dialogue together awkwardly and get you back on the “main path”.

      The notion of a single main path has always been pretty evident in games — unless you’re hitting a major plot branch, they’re always careful to make sure that every branch of dialogue doesn’t change things so much that they can’t reuse most of their “core” cutscene footage to contunue the game. If they had to rewrite most of the plot to suit every one of your decisions, they’d blow their budget in an instant.

      But in a lot of those games, characters (NPCs) are much more expendable and their presence is much more temporary. They also tend to focus a lot more on what those characters can do for you, and less on their emotions, leaving them rather emotionally atonal. So it’s really easy to take a quick dialogue diversion, then stitch it back together with the dialogue you would’ve seen if you hadn’t taken that diversion.

      Here, though … Several characters seem to go through crazy mood swings between lines, because of this stitching. Take the blame for Chloe, and give her the photo to confront her dad? Boom, she’s super happy … for a couple lines, then suddenly back to neutral. Let her get busted and slapped? Same thing, other direction. Trying to talk Kate Marsh down? Did everything right? Everything seems to be going great, and she even agrees to come down. “Can we hug on it?” Suddenly, “NO, we can’t! nobody loves me!” and you’re back to just a couple chances to save her.

      Given that I understand the limitations of game design and development, I totally understand what happened there, but I also find it so incredibly jarring. Maybe those sorts of mood swings are normal under these sorts of stressed circumstances, and maybe a non-gamer would just think that’s what happened, but knowing why they did it seems to make it all the more jarring.

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        Wisq says:

        Sorry, that should’ve read “emotionally monotonal”, not “atonal”.

        Damn I miss the edit button. :(

  6. thedosbox says:

    This was a great writeup on many of the aspects of the game I liked – particularly the aesthetics and sense of place. Kate’s story line has been well done thus far, and made me decide to stick with one playthrough from now on.

    It has spoiled me for the Telltale games though, as the clunky mechanics in those games feel archaic.

  7. Justin Keverne says:

    I’m a little surprised anybody actively “likes” Chloe at this point, she comes across as self-obsessed in a really shitty way; which ironically is so like some actual people I know that I’ve never had trouble with her believability. It really struck me as petty when she got upset because Max took Kate’s call instead of immediately leaving the dinner with her. Talking to her mother and eventually to her step-father reinforced the idea that she’s largely rebelling against nothing, David’s an authoritarian ass at times but Chloe seems to go out of her way to provoke him. I can tolerate Chloe because she can be fun to be around when she’s not trying to be in everybody’s face with how much of a rebel she is. Underneath it all she seems lonely which probably explains to some extent why she’s starting to get clingy with Max.

    I’m enjoying a lot of the side stuff that’s going on, like how Warren clearly has a crush on Max, who you can either play as being totally oblivious, and that Brooke fancies Warren and is jealous of Max. It’s the little character stuff like that which helps sell me on the world more than whether or not the language is appropriate for a very specific time and place.

    There’s also the developing story of Dana and her abortion, which was handled with a subtly I wasn’t expected.

    At the end I didn’t need to bring up bible verses to convince Kate, but my girlfriend did in her playthrough. The two verses that are options are referenced earlier, which explains why Max would know them; Kate has post-it notes in her bible with those two verses on, however the one from Proverbs has been crossed out.

    • RabbitIslandHermit says:

      I was honestly disappointed that there wasn’t an option to politely but firmly remove Warren’s arm from Max’s shoulder during the ending.

      • ribby says:

        Did anyone else think Max was kinda shitty for leaving Warren behind to be beaten up by Nathan… The person she knows is capable of murder?

        • rmsgrey says:

          I didn’t at first, then I thought about it some more, and kinda did, but then I thought some more and played through that scene again, and now I don’t again.

          Firstly, it’s not like Max had time to think things through – it was a snap decision choosing between doing what Warren (the guy she’s been friends with for a month or two) and Chloe (the friend she hasn’t seen for years and has just had re-enter her life in dramatic fashion) are both yelling at her to do, or doing what Nathan (the guy who was just threatening her) was yelling at her to do.

          Secondly, if you pay attention as Chloe drives them away, in the background, Campus Security arrives to break up the fight, so Warren is actually reasonably safe.

  8. BTA says:

    I loved the first episode and I thought this one was even better- though do similarly wish they did a little more with the time powers.

    The only real issue I had, though, was Warren. Well, there was the incredibly frustrating bit where I ran around while Max kept telling me about some popular bonfire spot that I couldn’t find and had to look up, and it turns out that was not what I’d describe that spot as at all. But mostly Warren. It frustrated me so much that I’ve done almost everything I can to push him towards Brooke (who actually likes him) and they still had that ending scene as if it was subtly romantic or something. I can’t understand at all why Max should definitely be attracted to someone who’s clearly trying way too hard to impress her and feels like he’s going to immediately whine about being friendzoned if the game ever does give you the option to reject him outright.

    …ok, I guess it’s not exactly unrealistic at all, but I was hoping they’d be showing Max growing to realize that maybe someone who, for example, associates owing him with going on a date with him is kinda gross, not cute/sweet. But with that scene I’m growing less hopeful that they’re going that way, and that’s kinda disappointing.

    • rmsgrey says:

      My feeling is that Max is just incredibly oblivious about Warren’s feelings and the signals she’s sending him – she sees him as a friend, probably a good friend, but the idea there might be anything romantic between them just doesn’t enter her head.

      The reason you don’t have an option to shoot him down at any point (so far) is that Max would have to realise there was something there to shoot down before you could do it…

      So far, Max is too busy shipping Warren/Brooke to realise there’s a triangle there, let alone that she’s part of it…

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    Thirith says:

    The most recent Errant Signal video is on the first episode. It’s not one of the better ES ones, but it’s still worth watching IMO:

    link to youtube.com

    Concerning the supernatural/sci-fi/weird elements: if they handle them well, the story can work both as poignant teen drama and genre story. At its best, Buffy managed this pretty well, where yes, there’d be a supernatural Big Bad behind it all, but the text and subtext reinforced each other. It has to be handled extremely well, though.

  10. aee says:

    Late to the party, but I feel like I should point out that the Matthew verse comes up if you search Kate’s room thoroughly. I mean, the gamey thing to do would have been to prevent you from choosing the “correct” option if you hadn’t discovered it, but I personally liked how not doing so made me feel like I was actually researching and being smart rather than just obsessing about looking at everything interactive.