Life is Strange 2 has been a pretty wild ride so far. The first episode established some seriously dramatic stuff. It set up a narrative filled with potential, even if its execution was a little ham-fisted. The second episode was more focused and a little less ridiculous. There’s been a steady improvement with each episode, a trend that continues here. With Wastelands, fugitive brothers Sean and Daniel find themselves in a precariously secure situation. But how long will it last?
A month after the turbulent events concluding the last episode, Sean and Daniel are living in the woods in a kind of hippy commune. Earning their place by working on a weed farm, the boys seem quite content with this friendly group of misfits. Things seem peachy for the first time since their tale began, despite some obvious cracks in the brother’s relationship. Daniel’s telekinetic powers - frighteningly strong and increasingly difficult to hide - are consistently straining the pair.
Despite these supernatural powers being central to the episode’s tension, Wastelands is mostly a mellow and conversational affair. It’s certainly the most laid back chapter so far. You spend the majority of your time chatting to people, drinking, smoking weed, and generally having a good time. There’s also the part where you’re trimming weed plants in a prison-like marijuana operation, but, hey, you’ve got to make ends meet somehow.
Talking Green In Life is Strange 2 Episode 3: Wastelands
There may be a slower pace here than in previous episodes, but at no point does it ever feel like tedious filler. Having some time to unwind with these characters provides a nice change of pace, and the underlying tension of the boy’s precarious position keeps things interesting. The writing is consistently engaging and grounded, making everyone you interact with feel believable and relatable. In particular, the friendly, guitar-playing Clarrissa is a standout. Her immense likability, strong performance, and fleshed-out backstory make her the true star of the episode.
Naturally, with this being such a conversational episode, the gameplay side of things is mostly pretty self-explanatory. You talk to people. Thankfully, the dialogue is sharp and consistent. The cast of characters the boys share camp with are varied, interesting, and fleshed-out and it’s fun to learn about their lives and history. There are some key moments here, too, ensuring you stay invested in the brother’s journey by forcing you to make some tough decisions.
There’s more going on than that, of course. You’ll also spend a bit of time working on the farm trimming weed buds and engaging in a small handful of other minigames. They’re nothing major, but it's enough to keep things engaging when there’s little else going on. Fortunately, these minigames know not to outstay their welcome.
Life is Strange 2 Episode 3: Wastelands | Final Thoughts
Life is Strange 2 continues to shine on a stylistic level. The art is fantastically expressive and vibrant, while Sean’s sketches look great and offer a rewarding moment of respite. The game doesn’t look quite as solid in motion, however. Character animations are a little rough and the lip sync is noticeably off. Fortunately, Wastelands doesn’t suffer from the same technical marring as the previous episode. While Rules was buggy and a little wonky, episode 3 is much more stable.
Wastelands is ultimately the strongest episode of Life is Strange 2 yet. Offering a tighter, more consistently engaging chapter of the boy’s journey without less contrived controversy and over-the-top characterizations. The writing has seen a marked improvement, presenting a well-rounded cast of grounded and relatable characters. The devastating and dramatic finish provides a satisfying payoff, leaving a strong and memorable cliffhanger.
TechRaptor reviewed Life is Strange 2 Episode 3: Wastelands on PC via Steam with a copy provided by the publisher.
Life is Strange 2: Episode 3: Wastelands provides some much-needed breathing room for Sean and Daniel, allowing them to unwind and relax a little. The result is the tightest, most rewarding episode yet with a top-notch cliffhanger.
- Another Engrossing Chapter
- Strong and Consistent Writing
- Art Style Continues To Shine
- Quality Cliffhanger
- Awkward Animations