When it comes to episodic content, Hitman and Life Is Strange 2 are at complete polar opposites of one another. The 2016 reboot of Agent 47's stealthy escapades was lauded for its approach to content rollout -- giving players a new map, set of scenarios, and tons of challenges every two or so months to experiment with. It was just enough time to allow budding agents to master what was on offer before an all-new level took its place. An exciting model indeed, which despite being confusingly dumped for last year's sequel, proved that an episodic approach to gaming can work. And then Life Is Strange 2 came along to demonstrate how it can go south all too quickly.
Developer DONTNOD Entertainment clearly set its sights high with the follow-up to Max and Chloe's time-bending adventure, but in doing so, it also dramatically increased the game's development time. Life Is Strange 2 - Episode 1: Roads released on 27th September 2018. Just under 15 months later, on 3rd December 2019, the series finale finally arrived on PlayStation 4. No matter how its offerings are, that's an unacceptable length of time in my opinion. Especially so for a title which places all the emphasis on its narrative.
It's something Hitman managed to get away with because despite weaving a plot through each of its episodes, it wasn't what players were there for. Life Is Strange 2, however, is all about the story. Any given episode could have been the studio's greatest creation yet, but when you're made to wait nearly four months before what happens next is revealed, you are going to forget details and events. Personally speaking, I forgot which brother was which every single time I booted up a new chapter. I had to make decisions based on the actions of characters from the previous episode who I couldn't recall. It put me in a position where I cared less and less for the verdicts I was actually making.
And for a game based entirely on choices, that's a disaster. Made all the more heartbreaking by the fact that I did actually enjoy Life Is Strange 2 as I got into the swing of things in the moment, it'll be the time I spent not engaging with the game that I'll remember the most. Sure, each and every chapter introduced new locations and characters to the Diaz brothers, but that only goes so far when you're stuck waiting a third of a year to see what happens next.
Now that the Life Is Strange 2 experience is finally complete, it's more than worth playing over the quiet Christmas season. Devoid of the wait between episodes, you'll be able to have the sort of experience I was looking for but failed to find -- one where you feel for the protagonists and understand the weight of your decisions. Its final chapter fell far too flat for me, coming off of what was the best one yet. However, maybe you'll have better luck than me. Nevertheless, I think it's incredibly telling that DONTNOD's next title, the Xbox One and PC exclusive Tell Me Why, is releasing all three of its episodes at the same time. The episodic model feels like an endurance run for this type of game, and it doesn't necessarily work anymore.
Do you think it's okay for a game to take 15 months to release all of its episodes? Were you waiting for them all to come out before playing? Control your thoughts in the comments below.