(WARNING – minor spoilers mentioned, in addition to a slight mention of suicide issues)
This episode was an emotional train-ride from start to finish, focusing on flaws within specific characters and the consequences which can come about bullying. It tests your memory and can break your heart through the choices you make with its incredible finale. This story has suddenly shown how much a video-game can impact your emotions.
Episode 1 brought us plenty of different characters which everyone’s experienced in their life, the school bully, the ‘cool kids’, skaters, nerds and most importantly the bullied. The characters performances in the game were often strange and disorganised, whether it be their scripting or the way lines were said, it remains to be an issue. While the plot itself would slow down while Max gets to know the people within each scene in case she needs to rewind time later. Though the choices made and their impact are hidden from the player rather well, the subtle decisions can mean a huge change later in the episode or maybe even the series.
Players may have been more focused on Max during the first episode, wanting to understand her new-found power and her relations between the other characters. This episode has a profound effect on Max’s future and spends a lot more time giving other characters the spotlight, allowing you to warm to different people such as Chloe and her characters arc while not just sticking to the main protagonist, increasing the chance of relating to her and enjoying playing through the story.
This episode our attention is turned to Kate Marsh, a previously met character who has been the victim of an unfortunate and humiliating event which has been posted on the internet and gone viral, and leads to a very dramatic story. I found myself bonding with Kate for so many reasons and did everything I could to try and make her feel better, even if it didn’t seem to be the best intentions from her point of view where there have been a lot of dark issues (drugs, sexual abuse).
Placed in a situation where I had to make a lot of very tough decisions which i’ve not felt since playing ‘The Walking Dead’ by Telltale, Dontnod found the perfect way of making the player feel guilty if they made the wrong choices in an incredibly upsetting outcome.
It’s very unfortunate for the player because they don’t wish to dedicate all their time to Kate and I found it really hard juggling the different friendships in this episode and it’s made me realise that in certain situations no matter what you do someone’s going to be hurt.
The episode really dabbled with emotions, and during a scene with Chloe in a junk-yard she considered her special place, it gave you more of an insight to Max and how she felt about her best friend after so many years. While exploring you felt slightly jealous of how close Rachel (the girl who has been missing for a long time now) and Chloe were, especially since Max left her before the series. Episode 2 managed to make the character understand and be reminded of those teenage friendships and the bitterness that came with it, while Episode 1 set the initial stage for it.
The unfortunate downsides to the second episode focus on similar aspects to the first, mainly concerning the dialogue and character movements, especially when delivering their lines. I can understand the difficulty of making the painted graphic aesthetic work well with the scripting at certain points. While the writing works well especially in scenes of drama a lot of the time some lines sound inappropriate in their placement and you sit there going ‘did she really say that now?’
Even with the fantastic scenery this episode a lot of people have commented on the weakness of the puzzle-solving in the game such as the tedious scene with Chloe where you had to prove to her your powers by watching everything that happens within a diner, rewinding, and then proving it in sequence. While the significance of this is shown later it feels pointless and you ignore its importance (While learning that Max is slowly being affected by her powers).
Out of Time has taken all its initial elements from Chrysalis and capitalised on them really well. Allowing the player to continue rewinding time and make big decisions whilst also testing the powers in a series of puzzles. While the previous one caused you to constantly change your decisions, hearing both sides of a story you ended up feeling more decisive this time, and when I was prevented from rewinding at a certain point everything that followed carried incredible weight on myself and felt very stressful. It’s led to a great cliffhanger and I now can’t wait to continue the next episode just to see where it moves on to.
This game could lead to something truly amazing!
8 / 10