Well, I guess it would be nice…
Sean Diaz is beaten and bloody and beaten and bruised and beaten and broken. If we’re chasing alliteration, blind too — at least partially. The conclusion to Episode 3 lands Sean in the hospital with major eye damage and frequent interrogations from the feds.
It never gets easier. The rest of Episode 4: Faith, to put it eloquently, kicks the shit out of Sean. Gut punches — emotional and literal — come in quick succession. You wonder which one’s going to keep him down for the count. But he always gets back to his feet. That Diaz kid has got a lot of fight in him.
Life is Strange 2: Episode 4: Faith (PC, PS4, Xbox One [reviewed])
Developer: Dontnod Entertainment
Publisher: Square Enix
Released: August 22, 2019
MSRP: $39.99 (all five episodes)
The majority of Faith doesn’t feel like the rest of Life is Strange 2. That’s because Sean and Daniel are separated, and their familial bond has been the driving force behind the first three episodes. Without Daniel to look after and educate, Faith feels empty. It’s lonely.
Although the aim is to find Daniel, a lot of time is spent getting there. Sean takes a mandatory road trip from California to Nevada, committing at least one more felony along the way. (Who cares about a rap sheet at this point?) There’s urgency, but not in the way we’re used to. All of Life is Strange 2 has been a delicate balance between survival and being a good role model to Daniel. Without the latter at stake, Faith sort of just exists.
That’s only the first act, leaving Faith to veer back into familiar territory but with a very different dynamic. Daniel has been taken in by a religious sect with an egotistical preacher. He performs “miracles,” leading the congregation to believe the preacher has been chosen by divine intervention. The preacher is completely unwilling to let the goose who laid the golden egg just up and walk out the door.
One of Daniel’s most dangerous personality traits manifests just as in Episode 3. He’s young, so he seeks validation and acceptance. The religious zealots give him that adoration, so he thinks they’re family. However, unlike Episode 3, Daniel’s willing to cut out his real family this time. It’s a stark contrast to the first three chapters where no matter how bad things got, at least they had each other.
Sean gets help. A lot of it, actually. A quick appearance by a new cast member rivals Brody (Episode 1) as the most selfless character in the whole story. Two people from his past show up to offer (mostly) unconditional assistance. These characters come with tough conversations, but they’re conversations that need to be had. Daniel isn’t by his side right now, and Faith expertly reminds us that Sean can’t do any of this by himself.
Faith serves a few important purposes within the Life is Strange 2 story. It shores up some loose ends from the brothers’ past, it proves the lengths Sean is willing to go to in order to protect Daniel, and it gives Daniel further autonomy by letting him make his own decisions. It’s an exciting chapter that leaves everyone worse for the wear. That’s the cadence we’ve come to expect from Life is Strange, though.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]