This post contains mentions of familial death and psychological dissociation.

The LIFE IS STRANGE games are not what I would call a ‘fun time’ — practically every post I’ve made about the series has content warnings — but LIFE IS STRANGE 2 is especially tough. It opens with a mostly idyllic Hispanic family: two sons, one pre-teen — Daniel — one firmly a teenager — Sean — and a father. Their mother is mostly unknown to them, but the three of them have a happy life.

At least, until Daniel makes the mistake of playing zombie in their front yard.

Matters escalate. Police get involved. Their father is shot by a policeman. Daniel reacts impulsively, self-protectively, and sends out a kinetic blast, killing the policeman.

Sean grabs Daniel and they go on the run, leaving behind his teen love because he knows there’s no better option.

It may sound twisted, but my favorite part of LIFE IS STRANGE 2 simply consists of Sean and Daniel endlessly walking through the Pacific Northwest, solely because — despite the fact that I’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest — it feels like I lived part of this game. As I’ve mentioned in prior LIFE IS STRANGE posts: New England is not the Pacific Northwest. (Duh.) However, they’re basically kissing cousins. Very similar landscapes and remote culture. Tall trees, lush and vibrant greenery, and folks existing peacefully on the fringes of society.

There have been times in my life where I’ve been stranded, when I had no money and I had no one I felt I could confide in (although, truth be told, I did and probably should have) and so … I’d just walk hours on end, sometimes even overnight, through New England roads which are sparsely populated but the trees …make you feel protected. Insulated. Even though the woods also are home to predators, it felt …natural.

LIFE IS STRANGE 2 is a game centered around desertion and opt-ing out of society, because sometimes, that is absolutely necessary. As you venture through the game, you meet up with folks who are off-the-grid, including one face you might not expect from LIFE IS STRANGE 1. Whereas the prior games were all born of suburban trauma and feeling penned in, LIFE IS STRANGE 2 is a wild road trip adventure.

I’ll note that LIFE IS STRANGE 2 also features a small moment regarding an older journalist — a transient, basically — who helps them out in a time of need, and that’s it, and he drives off. Again, it’s small, but it makes an impact.

It sketches out how the world is different for so many people, and that there are so many different ways to live in it, which is essentially what LIFE IS STRANGE 2 is about.

“It feels like we’re walking nowhere.”