The Underwhelming Adventures of Captain Spirit
Another year, another Life is Strange game. As a big fan of the series, a new game is always something to be happy about however this time around, I felt a little underwhelmed. If you’re new to the series, it’s worth getting up to date with what’s come before this installment otherwise this mini-instalment could possibly put you off the series for good. if you’re deciding whether this episode is worth your time after playing the others though, let me help you decide!
If you cast your mind back to E3 which took place a couple of weeks ago, you may remember a new Life is Strange game being announced called The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. The game was surprisingly released just 2 weeks later for free, that’s right free! When a new game in a series as successful as Life is Strange is announced for free, it’s pretty obvious that you’re only getting so much for free. In this case it’s just one episode, the same length as your average Life is Strange episode coming in at around 2 hours long depending on how much you investigate. The story this time around isn’t focused around Max or Chloe though but on a young boy named Chris, fans have spent the last 2 weeks speculating his relation to the original game however nothing has or seems like it will be confirmed until the released of Life is Strange 2 which is set for the 27th September 2018. That’s right, another one! Chris lives in a small house in Beaver Creek, Oregon where it is currently December and snow piles high around their home. It is revealed during gameplay that Chris lives with his father and in typical Life is Strange fashion, things get heavy. We find out that Chris’ mother died in a car accident and his father has turned to alcohol for comfort, making him aggressive and abusive towards Chris. Chris however finds comfort in his super hero alter ego, Captain Spirit and often dresses as him, sketches him and pretends to bend things with his mind, which is very sweet. During the game we are tasked with mini tasks like helping Chris’ father around the house, completing his Captain Spirit outfit and finding Captain Spirit’s treasure. All things to help reveal backstory and keep you busy.
Many fans have again speculated as to why Dontnod/Square Enix would have released this episode free to the world with many citing that it may have been to demonstrate how things would look/play in a different engine and on a new generation console, considering that the first game was released on PC and previous gen consoles and was simply upscaled for the PS4 & Xbox one release. Also, that Life is Strange: Before The Storm the 2017 prequel was made by a different studio that time around, Deck Nine. This point is backed up by the fact that once the game starts up players are asked whether they consent to their gameplay experience being shared with Square Enix, which my guess is just monitoring how players approach these kinds of games. Or perhaps it was released to keep fans hyped for Life is Strange 2, either way nobody is complaining about a new game to play.
Now to talk about my experience, weirdly enough I gradually lost excitement from E3 up until the game’s release. I think I kept my expectations low as I know a game that comes for free, has a catch and in this instance, it was that it was just one episode in length. I found myself a little fatigued with the usual take a look at everything method of gameplay when all I really got was little hints into backstory that I wasn’t sure I cared enough about yet. Of course, Chris is a cute kid so naturally, you want to root for him however I was left confused why I should care what this kid has in his room or whether or not he does his chores that day. It just felt like I had no motivation to explore because I wasn’t immediately drawn in at the start. I also feel as if players had too much freedom, players are able to decide what to do and when to do it without much consequence or instruction. Call me lazy but I kind of felt like well, what’s the point of any of these decisions as the outcome will probably be the same either way. Although my point there still stands, I do understand that this was a one-episode game which could well have only been released to generate hype therefore the story couldn’t start and finish in just 2 hours of gameplay.
With some nice homages to the original game (check out the bookshelf in the kitchen!) laced throughout and a heartfelt story that I’ve come to expect from the writers at Dontnod, I don’t feel like I’ve wasted my time playing The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. The game’s purpose was to test out new methods of gameplay, tide us over until Life is Strange 2 and introduce us to some character’s we will meet in the future. As mentioned in the credits of the episode, Chris is set to return in Life is Strange 2, in what form though is yet to be deciphered by fans although many have theories of Chris appearing older in the next instalment, him befriending a different playable character seen towards the end of this episode and more. Only time will tell if this series is able to give us all the feels once again.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is available for free now on the PlayStation store, Xbox Marketplace and Microsoft Windows.
For more from me see the other Life is Strange related articles right here on nerdoutwordout.com as well as what I have to offer on my personal blog hopeelizablog.wordpress.com.