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‘Life is Strange 2’ Episode 4 Review – “Faith”: A Journey Through Trump’s America

Life is Strange 2 has returned for its penultimate episode, a dense and troubling exploration of faith, prejudice and family in a time and place that has rarely been so divided: modern America. Following the events of Life is Strange 2‘s stellar third entryEpisode 4: “Faith” sees Sean attempting to pick up the pieces of his shattered life after Daniel’s violent outburst at Merrill’s farm.

Though the story of Faith” begins in a hospital, with Sean working to recover from his injuries, the trajectory of the tale explores more settings and environments than any previous episode of the series. From wandering the highways of Nevada, to exploring a dusty motel, to sneaking into a remote church, Life is Strange 2‘s 4th entry never lacks for something new to see, or someone new to interact with.

Life is Strange 2
However, the cynical bent of the story is the new centerpiece of Episode 4. Though Life is Strange 2 has never sidestepped the controversy and division of Trump’s America, Faith” leans into these ideas with renewed fervor. Violence is committed more than once against our Mexican protagonist, and his skin color often sees him at odds with the more conservative denizens of the highways he journeys down. In a particularly telling exchange, Sean even finds himself beaten and placed on the other side of a closed compound, with a gun-toting guard glaring at him from the other side. Metaphors don’t really get much clearer than that.

This will, no doubt, lead to more calls of keeping politics out of games and other entertainment by the president’s more ardent supporters, but as other writers have pointed out, gaming has never been apolitical. Further, it would be categorically irresponsible to tell a story like this without addressing the elephant in the room. With these elements in mind, the politics of Life is Strange 2 have never been clearer than in Episode 4: “Faith”, and they account for some of the strongest storytelling fuel the series has found yet.

Life Is Strange 2, Episode 4: Faith
Politics aside, Life is Strange 2 also puts Sean at a variety of other disadvantages. His starting injuries include a lost eye that must be tended to medically throughout the episode, and the various beatings he takes throughout Episode 4 more than leave their mark. This leaves Faith as the typical darkest, and most troubling, episode of this second series, where we find our protagonist at his absolute lowest point, and must continue on with him in hopes of finding a better future. It’s a common enough trope, but one that is used to great effect here.

There are many returns of characters from previous episodes, some through letters and other communications, and others through surprising reveals and revelations. A particularly shocking character joins the story with zero preamble, and emerges as one of Life is Strange 2‘s finest editions yet. To spoil who, or how, would be criminal, but rest assured that Episode 4 is more full of surprises than any of the previous entries.

Life Is Strange 2, Episode 4: Faith
Though the main conflict that eventually reveals itself, that of Daniel being used as a messianic figure for an isolated Nevada church, feels contrived initially, the layers that are eventually revealed, and Daniel’s reason for joining the church, make a lot of sense in the overall scheme of things. Due to this strength of narrative, it really feels like all bets are off during the climax of Life is Strange 2: Episode 4, and that’s a good thing for a game so centered around the notion of interactive storytelling.

Fresh, prescient, and altogether rewarding, Life is Strange 2: Episode 4 — “Faith”, is a welcome piece of fiction in a society that has become so increasingly fragmented. It illustrates some of the horrors of the modern American landscape, but always remembers to remind us that there are good people out there, even when hope has never seemed so far away.

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3 comments

mike September 21, 2019 at 9:42 pm

“This will, no doubt, lead to more calls of keeping politics out of games and other entertainment by the president’s more ardent supporters, but as other writers have pointed out, gaming has never been apolitical. Further, it would be categorically irresponsible to tell a story like this without addressing the elephant in the room.”

So if i don’t like politics being the centerpiece of a game – I MUST be a ardent supporter of the president? Really? And – you can tell a story about two Mexican brothers without MAKING racism the elephant in the room. Its not irresponsible – its lazy writing.

They took an award winning and much loved game with an established fan base – and used these platforms to create a narrow narrative based game, which when it doesn’t do well in sales, will blame it on “the president’s more ardent supporters” and ppl not woke.

Save your money.

Reply
Mike Worby September 22, 2019 at 8:07 am

You’re of course entitled to your opinion. Personally I’ve enjoyed the racial and political angles of the game, and I feel they’re very much in line with the two previous games in the series and what they stood for.

Reply
mike September 22, 2019 at 4:23 pm

An expected answer, given your take on the episode above – here’s what you missed…

The original game touched on bullying, euthanasia, lesbianism (or at least exploring sexuality), and drugs – even security cameras in schools i.e. “spying”.

But it never made these points the central part of the game as a recurring part of the plot.

For all the talk of “bonding” and “brothers” the game purports, when you have recurring themes of racism and politics throughout your game in literally every episode – that’s your game. Which is fine, if that’s the story they felt needed telling. Not bonding, brothers, or the road trip – that all becomes secondary to those narratives.

And sure, you can enjoy whatever game floats your boat – along with the rest of us.

It’s a massive suspension of analysis, though, to try to equate subjects touched on in the first game, with recurring central themes in the second, and say they’re in line – they’re not comparable in the slightest. This isn’t even one persons opinion vs another – as my literature professor might say – this is night and day in how the subjects were approached and expounded on via story line.

Have a good day…

Reply

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