This title was reviewed on Xbox One, but is also available on PS4 and PC.
It’s been almost four months since the last episode of Life is Strange 2 hit the scene, and honestly, I kinda missed the adventures of Sean and Daniel. After twoapp surprisingly solid episodes, I was looking forward to the third one. Now that Episode 3 – Wastelands is here, does it continue the game’s adventure in a way that lives up to the previous episodes? Let’s have a look.
Just like last time, the visuals haven’t changed much since this is just the next episode of the game. However, there are still a few things to comment on. For one, the game goes back to the forest aesthetic of the first episode, which is a shame, as it lacks the individuality Episode 2 had with its winter aesthetic. Despite that though, I really like the redesigns Daniel and Sean have. They’ve been camping in the woods for about two months since the last episode, they look scruffy and unkempt as they should, which is a welcomed change reflecting their environment well.
The story picks up two months after the last episode, with Sean and Daniel staying with Finn and Cassidy, who they met in the last episode, camping in the woods. They are working at a pot farm in order to make ends meet and save up to continue their journey to Mexico. The story here is quite well done. Unlike previous episodes which jumped from location to location, Episode 3 sticks to the pot farm and the adjacent campsite, which makes the story overall way more focused. This focus is great too, as we get the same realistic relationship between Sean and Daniel that carried the last two episodes, and the tension between the two is quite real. Daniel has been bonding with Finn and is at odds with Sean over having to limit his powers. The cast here are quite likeable, and Cassidy in particular gets way more screen time than in the previous episode. Cassidy’s flirtatious nature with Sean is also really well done and quite natural, especially with Sean’s nervousness over it being his first time.
Just like the previous episodes, there’s plenty to do to prevent the game from feeling like a massive cutscene. The campsite is fully explorable with plenty to see and do, such as more opportunities for Sean to hone in his drawing skills, and there are even some chores Sean and Daniel have to do around the camp. There are more moments of interactivity between the duo as well, such as helping Daniel with practicing his powers or practicing knife-throwing. As to be expected, there are plenty of choices as well. Thankfully, a lot of these choices actually have an impact I felt, and the ending I got in particular seems to have real implications on my experience in the next episode, whenever that comes around. Despite that, there are a few choices that feel like they have no effect, such as a conversation with Daniel about his mother where both of your responses are basically ‘no’ or the fact that if you disagree with Finn about his ‘plan’ (no spoilers), he goes ahead with it anyway, so the final encounter is always the same.
The audio is just as solid as previous episodes. The game’s beautiful musical score constantly punctuates the game’s key moments as it should. The voice acting is also great. The actors for Sean and Daniel are more than comfortable with their roles, and the side characters all sound great, even the minor ones like Jacob.
Wastelands is a fantastic continuation of the adventures of Sean and Daniel. While the return to the forest aesthetic robs it of a unique visual style like Episode 2, the way Sean and Daniel have changed over their journey is reflected well. The story is also top notch with some rising tension between the brothers as well as some great side characters and a natural relationship with Cassidy. On top of this, while there are a few dud choices, plenty of choices feel impactful, and the story itself is carried by the usual great voice acting that the previous episodes were known for.