Spoilers for Life is Strange 2, episode 1
Hey, a quiet moment. And with nana coming by, when will the next one of those be? Better blog.
Did the gas station. I will assume you have, too. If you haven’t, stop reading.
That was annoying. Counter intuitive and annoying.
Well, I retract some. I thought the first bit, when you’re deciding whether to beg (I didn’t) or look in the trash can (I didn’t, as people were there) or steal (I didn’t) and what to buy (I picked sleeping bag, hot dogs and mac and cheese. Couldn’t afford bread) was good. Tense. I didn’t play the claw game for Daniel and felt guilty.
Then to make all of that not matter, that was good. I get the feeling no matter what you did, that guy was just going to think you were a dirty Mexican criminal. So here I was thinking about how to present myself, do I clean up, do I beg, do I scrounge, do I steal, what do I say, and, in the end, the racist jerk didn’t care about all of it. That was good.
But then the “how do I get out of the back room” bit was annoying. Broke the tension. Tension, good. Frustration, bad.
I’m also thought the bad guy was rather ham handed. As you are aware, I am quite left wing. That said, the charicature of the “real American” who “wins awards” and then beats kids and says “This is why we have to build that wall” while sneering was a bit much. We get it, game. We do.
I throw out there something I’ve been meaning to throw out there: Dontnod isn’t American. This game was made in France by French people (mostly). I’m not entirely sure if and how that’s going to color how we think about the views of this game, but it’s certainly something to keep in the back of our heads.
I don’t trust this Brody fellow one little bit.
Anyway, for my “black screen” choices I went “Discuss with the redneck,” then “try to steal the camping gear” cuz fuck him, and, at that point, things had already gone bad and then, when we stopped me, I just picked “flee.”
Mixed feelings about this sequence.
I, of course, also washed up and avoided stealing (for what it was worth, i.e. nothing) and tried to discuss things with the gas station jerk, and decided to just steal the tent once the store was wrecked, but then ran off when he yelled at me.
Because we are the same person.
Although I did look for food in the trash, once the people drove off, because I figured we were desperate. I found a gnawed-on apple that I think we probably didn’t even get around to attempting to eat before the owner showed up.
He did seem a bit heavy-handed in his enormous jerkishness, it’s true…but then, it’s also pretty heavy-handed to shoot unarmed people in their own homes because they seem threatening, so maybe the only reason it rings false is that he wasn’t a cop? But a lot of people feel justified in taking on that role when it comes to policing the behavior of people who Don’t Look Like Us, so maybe another reason it seems over the top to us is that we’re white?
Though handcuffing someone in a locked room IS probably a step beyond what most people would do.
SOOOOO suspicious of Brody! He seems very nice, but…you trust no one right now. Especially not a random white dude.
Good point about this not being an American game. That perspective could be interesting.
Dude, really? Seriously? We’re gonna get through this whole game and the only thing we’ll do differently is cookies/chips?
One of these days, someone should study how we came to be the same person for their dissertation. Their terrifying, upsetting dissertation.
Though Ooo! There’s a difference in our trash-picking choices.
Handcuffing people in a locked room is a step beyond. It is. As is kicking children in the head. But weren’t we supposed to think he was doing all that not because he thought Sean and Daniel were, like, shoplifting but because he knew they were murder suspects? All the same, was a bit heavy handed.
Brody…Yes…..very nice……random dudes who live in cars and watch porn in gas stations and chat up children travelling alone are……very nice……..
Dude, really? He seems sketchy as hell.
I think it will be an interesting perspective. Yes, racism exists in other countries, but this is going after some very American things (Trumpism, police violence, the specific plight of Mexican Americans) from a very non American perspective. This could either a) give us another, interesting perspective or b) miss a whole lot of nuance.
So far I fear it’s B.
Ah, you didn’t buy Brody’s explanation that he’s writing an article about nudist colonies or whatever? He seemed so chill about it that I was kind of like, “well, maybe he does have a good reason to be looking at naked people.” I thought he might have acted more sketchy, if it were more sleazy, you know?
But perhaps this just shows that I’m easily fooled by a thin facade of excuses, because you’re certainly correct that “I’m doing research for a writing project” is a very easy explanation for pretty much any dubious thing you want to be looking up on the internet.
“It’s just research, dude! I’m totally not plotting to send my army of naked people to take over the world!”
Well, it hardly matters, since we were going to wind up going off with him anyway, and whatever his character flaws or positive qualities may be generally, he was certainly helpful to Sean and Daniel at that moment. And certainly that’s part of what the story is saying…in times of crisis you sometimes have to fall back on food (half-eaten trash apples) or company (random sketchy dudes you meet in gas stations) that you wouldn’t normally choose, just to survive. And sometimes maybe they turn out to make things worse (the apple didn’t give us food poisoning, but some trash food might), but sometimes you find out they’re not as bad as you might have thought (if Brody doesn’t turn out to be a serial killer).
So…don’t judge hastily? Or maybe do judge hastily (since in fact we leaped into Brody’s car with no time to pause and consider)?
Yeah, dude, it was sketchy. And he talked to Daniel first. I mean, shit. If you were in a store and some random dude started chatting up Blasto when you weren’t around, and said dude was looking at porn at the time, you would likely be rather displeased. I would be rather displeased.
Though, if he was sending a naked army, I would be OK with that. Better than what we have now, anyway. And are there sorceresses? Count me in if there’s sorceresses.
I suppose it’s a note about judging hastily….though I think there’s also some degree of framing it through a child, or at least a young adult’s eyes. The intro there was trying to frame Sean as at that phase in life where he’s teetering between child and adult. He like Jenn, but has no earthly idea how to deal with it. He has a weed pipe, but still wants Dad’s hugs. He feels like he should be doing “grown up things” like partying and stuff, but doesn’t really want to or know how. He’s still a kid.
I’m not sure that he’s so young and innocent as to think that sketchy gas station porn man who talks to kids isn’t sketchy, but then, this game has painted with some broad strokes.
Well, but again, the fact that he addressed this himself made it seem more OK to me. He was all kind of apologetic, like “I know it’s weird for a random guy to be talking to a kid in a gas station while looking at naked pictures,” or whatever he said.
And yeah, saying “I know this seems weird” doesn’t actually make it not weird, at all, but it does indicate that the other person shares your conception of what is weird, so at least you’re not operating from completely different realities. Which makes it seem like, well, at least I can talk to this person.
Which could totally be an intentional tactic, to disarm us! In which case, Brody is a cold, planning monster who has the ability to understand how other people think and use it against them.
Also–not that this excuses anything if he is a monster–I assumed Daniel had talked to him first, because Daniel just talks to people. He just started talking to the woman behind the counter, right? And is it weirder for a porn-watching guy to answer a kid who starts talking to him, or to huddle up in a defensive crouch over his computer and remain silent? ‘Cause THAT doesn’t set off any alarm bells. They’re both bad options, honestly.
Anyway, I’m not sure why I’m arguing so hard that Brody could be harmless, because as I already said, I too am extremely suspicious of him at this point. EXTREMELY. SUSPICIOUS.
I guess I’m just looking for signs that he could also turn out to be OK.
That is a hash tag for our times.
Have you played past this? You Know Things I Don’t, don’t you?
I also thought that he helped them so readily to be suspicious. If you were just sitting in the back of your station wagon in the woods, looking at porn, and two dudes were all “We just busted out of a gas station and we need to run!” would you just let them in? Probably not unless you had an agenda.
Video games. Forcing you to ask the tough questions.
I know many things. I have finished Episode 2.
But my suspicion of Brody is fresh in my memory. I mean, even his name is so…Bro-y.
Interesting point…yes, his immediate response of being helpful rather than skeptical could be seen as even more suspicious, except that it’s not just “two dudes” who busted out of a gas station, it’s one very young dude and one little kid, and even non-sketchy people might be moved to help if a scared kid and his scared, bloody-nosed older brother come along. I mean, I’d like to think if I happened to be sitting in a station wagon in the woods watching porn (as who among us does not from time to time! so relaxing!), and a couple of panicked kids showed up, I’d try to help first and ask questions later.
I mean, I probably wouldn’t, we all like to think we’d be great in a crisis and not either ignore the needy or fall back on our worst instincts and assume they deserve it, but at the same time, I could WISH I would, and can I really fault this character for doing what I wish I would do? Helping a couple of scared, hungry kids?
As with talking to Daniel back in the convenience store: is it less sketchy to just drive away alone, or to sit there ignoring their pleas for help, than it is to actually help? Because I’m not saying that’s not possibly true, I totally get your gut sense on it, but also when you think about it, that’s a weird way to rule on a question of basic morals.
Video games: making us ask the hard questions.
Episode two. I should’ve known. Sorry, dude. I’m trying here.
And, well, there’s helping and there’s helping. Helping, yes. Fine. But when that help is “Let me put away this porn, load you kids in my car and drive away down a deserted road to lord knows where,” that’s, in the words of Shel Silverstein, the kind of help we all can do without.
I don’t know, man. I don’t like the guy. This is going to go poorly.
Though I forgot to bring something else up!
It’s an interesting twist on general game ideas that, in this game, we’re not the one that appears to have the powers. As far as I know, Sean is a normal person. Daniel seems to be the one that can blow shit up.
This is weird in games. Yes, there are times you might be playin a fighter and someone else is a mage, but, even then, you can do stuff the mage can’t. There have been games where you’re just a person (see Gone Home, Rapture, Edith Finch), but I can’t remember a game where you’re normal and someone else isn’t. Even in the first LiS, you played as the person who could bend time. This is an interesting twist.
Yes! I wanted to say that too! It is a very interesting twist that Sean, the character we play, is not the ‘hero’ by conventional standards. I mean, he’s the protagonist, but it’s his little brother who seems to have superpowers. And yes, that’s very different from…any game I can think of where superpowers are involved, that’s for sure.
It’s a very different story, “boy helps his brother harness powers,” than the more usual one we expect, “boy learns to harness powers.”
It’s very interesting. I think at some point Sean will maybe have to deal with some feelings of jealousy or resentment, like “why don’t I have cool powers and/or why do my brother’s weird powers have to ruin my life,” and again, that’s not the story we usually see. We’re so, so accustomed to playing the Hero. The Chosen One. The Dragonborn. The awesome super-powered adventurer.
This is like if we got an Uncharted game where we just spend the whole time playing Sully. And just a normal Sully, not one who developed adventure-powers like Drake’s for the game.
I’m into it. I mean, I love playing superpowered adventurers and chosen ones, don’t get me wrong. It’s fun to be a badass. I don’t want to spend every game playing a supportive sidekick.
But it’s cool to see how a game CAN do this. How the focus can be more on relationships and character than on the awesomeness of having superpowers.
It is neat. Very different. I hope they don’t pooch and give Sean powers in Episode four or something.
Or maybe they’re making us ponder what “powers” are. Yes, as far as I know, Sean cannot flip cars. That said, he does know how to make a fire, and can recognize bear scratches, etc. Daniel can flip cars, but he would be lost without Sean.
Sean is more than just a supportive sidekick. Batman would be fine without Robin, but Daniel wouldn’t be OK without Sean, car flipping or no.
Speaking of power, before the gas station I got an alert that Lyla had texted, but my phone is dead. I have a charger. Was I supposed to use it and I missed something?
No, you didn’t miss anything with the phone. Or at least, if you did, so did I–I didn’t find anywhere to charge it at the gas station. I kept looking at its dead screen too, but don’t worry, it will come up later.
And it’s true that Daniel can’t survive without Sean right now…but he’s a kid. What about when he grows up and becomes Batman, and Sean is still just some normal guy? At some point he’s got to wonder if he wants to spend his life being Alfred.
I don’t think that’s within the scope of this particular game, mind you. We may never see grown-up Daniel. But it’s the kind of question that you’d kind of have to think about at some point, looking at your superpowered younger sibling.
True, though the first game was about a person with powers coming to terms with same, but realizing that she needed her very not superpowered friend/lover (I hold Max was in love with Chloe) in her life. She didn’t say “You know, now that I’m a hero, who needs you?” Yes, you could go back and sacrifice Chloe, but not in a “who needs you, for I am hero” way.
This game might be the same from the other perspective.
Ah, maybe so.
Also, I don’t want to detract from your point that maybe the game is making us think about what ‘powers’ are. As you say, Sean has skills/powers that Daniel needs now, and now is the game that we’re actually playing, so the fact that Daniel presumably won’t need Sean forever is irrelevant to the experience that we’re having as we play it.
True. One must judge the story one has.
Whatever that is. I’m still rather confused that we now have a numbered sequel, a prequel and that weirdass captain spirit that takes place in the universe and no real connection. Is this one story? If it is, I certainly hope they start pulling things together before it spins out of control.
One must judge the game as it is, sure. But when the game packages Captain Spirit on the disc, isn’t that a close enough tie that we can judge it that way?
Ah…play Episode 2. Much will become clear about Captain Spirit. They actually tie it together pretty well.
I can’t speak to Before the Storm yet.
Ah. That’s good. Hope it makes sense. But I’ll blog about it either way.
There’s a whole big warning before you start: “this will make more sense if you play Captain Spirit first. You should really do that. Are you sure you want to proceed without playing Captain Spirit?”
We deleted the save file for Captain Spirit at some point to free up space, hence it couldn’t tell I actually did play it. I idly contemplated playing it again, but decided I probably remembered it well enough. I can always go back and review our posts on the topic if I need a refresher.
If I remember, it was basically a kid with a bad father who sat around drinking and watching sports, who kept imagining/pretending to be a superhero, like turning on the TV with his “mind” (which was really the remote) etc. There was much sitting and listening to music. Then, at the end, he falls out of the tree house and freezes/floats/flies before hitting the ground.
What I’m fuzzier on was some weird dream/nightmare sequence stuff that involved a car wreck or something, right? That I kinda forget.
Yeah, mostly that is what I remember. I remember the dream-sequence stuff around the water heater, but there might have been car crash stuff too?
I remember he was playing in the truck for a while, and there was so much of his imagination making things more interesting than they really were, that there could have been something about a car wreck he was imagining. I don’t have a clear memory of it, though.
We didn’t actually say that much about that game, probably because it’s so short. Here are our posts: https://playfirsttalklater.wordpress.com/tag/awesome-adventures-of-captain-spirit/
No mention of a car wreck. I guess if there was anything, we didn’t find it striking enough at the time that we made note of it.
Crap. Past us let us down.
Oh, well. We’ll muddle through.
I know! Thanks for nothing, past us!
Let that be a lesson to us that no level of wordiness about any tiny aspect of any game will ever be too much.
Of course the ONE TIME we need past us to not shut up……
It WAS a very short game. I suppose even past us could only muster so many words.
True. But we’ve been known to muster 2000 words on load screens.
Which reminds me of Red Dead. Which reminds me that my monthly wine box is coming, and they desribe one of the bottles thusly:
Saddle up your horses for this full bodied red. This wine smells and tastes like both, and we love it. With notes of new leather, espresso and soppressata, we say to pair this with ALL the charcuterie!
So…..tastes like horses.
Horses AND leather! I’m intrigued yet disturbed.
But hey, assuming it doesn’t actually have horse hair and saddle scrapings in it, I’d drink it.
If it does have horse hair and saddle scrapings in it, I’ll only have a couple of glasses.
It does have alcohol, which is what matters.
As does this one:
This light bodied white has notes of acacia honey, fresh butter and skittles (yes..skittles!).
Last month I got one with notes of “newly sharpened pencils.” The month before that, “a whiff of sharpie.”
I do believe they are fucking with me.
“I can really taste the wine in that one.”
I am rather amused that they were that specific on the type of honey and yet they were very vague on the flavor of skittle.
Good point. That makes a difference, wine people! Red skittles are not the same as green!
And don’t get me started on those fucked up sour ones.
We started so well today.
We did, darn it. Well…we got some decent thoughts in.
And we wound up discussing wine that is described as “a satin nightgown for your mouth.”
Yup. That’s the third one.
You’re good at interpreting shit. You got a theory on what THAT tastes like?
Uh…no. I’m not sure I do. I guess maybe smooth? And light?
And…uh…like wine? I hope it tastes like wine. You’ll enjoy that.
I can only hope it tastes like wine.
Or, at the very least, that it has alcohol in it.
That’s our absolutely non-negotiable requirement.
We’ll accept a lot of things in our wine, including possibly horse hair, saddle scrapings, and shreds of satin, as long as there’s alcohol.
Even some skittles.
But not the sour ones. I have SOME standards, after all.
Your standards are higher than mine. I’d drink sour skittles, if they were sufficiently alcoholic.
Oh who am I kidding? So would I.