Captain is taking us back home (Spoiler-Free Review)
It’s been a while since I’ve actually written anything. But this is beyond any break, hiatus or tiredness I can feel.
Where do I start? Where? Since the moment you fire up the main menu in Captain Spirit, and you listen to the music; the sound of nature around you, the crazy idea that the blizard you hear right then gives you shivers – like you’re actually outside in the snow – you know you’re playing a Life is Strange game.
This feeling stayed with me the whole way. I played The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit until I was able to mark as “done” everything (almost) in Chris’ awesome ‘things-to-do’ list. It took me more or less two hours, give or take, and time flew. I was engaged from the get-go to find every single possible thing I could interact with and I read every single word written about this marvelous world with a thirst I wasn’t sure I would feel after how disappointed I was with Before the Storm.
Then again… this is Dontnod. Dontnod took the wheel again this time and you can feel the difference already when you look around; how every item, every toy, every picture was put there with such care and purpose. I’m not saying DeckNine didn’t do a good job overall in many aspects, but I also have to stay honest with how I felt about both games in general.
The music again hits your feels instantly, the familiar yet new tunes keeping you company during brief moments of calm or even just walking around, interacting with everything you see. The silences, also so special in the first season for me, felt as real as ever, to the point I did stay idle for a bit just listening to the sound of the wind and the snow falling.
We have a very different point of view this time, from a completely different character. We play as Chris, a ten year old boy living in Oregon with his dad. They recently lost their mom and wife respectively, and you can see how that has affected them on many levels, even if our main character deals with it as many kids do with grief. They pretend it’s not there, or that they are strong enough to take it. Yet… as the episode goes on, you can see nothing is as marvelous and as awesome as kids sometimes pretend it to be.
Hard topics are there, as expected. Relatable and painful as we know Dontnod likes to address them. I’ve felt anger, pain, pity and sadness in equal parts, exploring these very fleshed-out characters, despite being such a short adventure in comparison with a whole season. I want to know more, I want to learn more about them. I want to understand them better. I wasn’t expecting to care to this level when I saw the trailer but hell, consider me absolutely hooked here. The amazing power Dontnod has to write these characters, these situations, blows my mind in ways I didn’t anticipate. It’s like when you say… they hit the nail on the head once, what makes you think they can do the same again?
But I’m sure they can, and I’ve already seen evidence of it.
There are a lot of easter eggs out there so that anyone that holds the first season close to heart, will feel this weird thing in their stomach. It’s more than just thinking: “Hey, I know this name” or “Hey, yeah, I remember this character”. You feel it like it’s happening to you. You feel it go back to life instantly. You feel Captain Spirit is not just a spin-off, but part of something bigger, something you are already part of and you want to see through all the way.
Possible hints for Season 2 are all over. The theories running through my mind every time I found something that felt meaningful to the plot get more and more intricate by the minute. And I have to say I can’t wait to see what the future holds ahead, whoever our main character may be; whether it’s Chris or a new one, I’m already dying to meet them.
The supernatural elements also show up in a way that blew my mind. By the end of the episode, i literally felt like I was watching the snow fall in a differen setting, on a cliff during the golden hour; with Obstacles playing in the background. The exact same feeling I didn’t expect to have again and I ended up staring at my screen, absolutely speechless, with a massive smile on my face and tears in my eyes.
I was unsure of Cpatain Spirit at first. I didn’t know what to expect. Regardless of me knowing and believing that Life is Strange is more than a town, a set of characters or time travel powers, Chloe and Max left a mark on me that I will never be able to (nor want to) erase. So I was afraid. I felt conflicted, regarldess of being grateful to see a whole new cast take the lead.
Oh boy I was so wrong. After playing this prequel, there is no doubt in my mind that Life is Strange Season 2 will be something else… then again, it already feels like home.
Here? I’m the punk queen of Arcadia Bay, of course.
In real life, I’m an artist, gamer, crappy musician, game dev and a wannabe writer. Oh, and I’m always running late. MaiQueti in a nutshell.