In the true spirit of Life is Strange, get ready for a new adventure
Title: The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit
Platform: PC, Xbox One, PS4 (reviewed)
Developer: Dontnod Entertainment
Publisher: Square Enix Co,. Ltd
Release date: Out now
tl;dr: Get ready for heartbreak with gorgeous new textures
Price: Free (across all platforms)
Family Focus: Click here for more information
After the first season of Life is Strange came to its heartbreaking conclusion, Before the Storm stumbled through its final episode, and Farewell rocked up to kick us while we were down, the newest chapter of the series has come to our screens – The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. A demo of sorts for season two of Life is Strange coming later this year, it’s showing off the improved tech, as well as a new cast of characters, with a lovely dose of the feels, for your viewing pleasure.
The aforementioned Captain Spirit is none other than a young boy called Chris, who’s living in a small, run down house with his dad, a lot of toys, and one hell of an imagination. Truthfully, there’s not much of a plot – Chris is going about his day and dealing with his chores as Captain Spirit, his heroic alter ego, all while trying to keep a lid on his dad’s temper, and the nosy neighbour away from those bruises on his arm.
While the gameplay is your usual “walk and examine,” from the first season, there’s a handful of puzzles thrown in, directly inspired by some in Farewell. The dialogue choices have made it back, without any timers counting down, this time, and the charming ability to use Captain Spirit’s powers to assist with mundane tasks. For example, Chris can pretend he’s irradiating the mac and cheese in the microwave, clean the dishes like a superhero, and trek down to the water heater to defeat the evil thing once and for all. It’s very much in character for a kid so young, and it fits the tone perfectly – quite the feat for a free, two hour long demo, with a collection of different endings that give you a reason to come back for more
Graphically, this is where the game shines – Farewell looked good, but these look even better. Textures have been given a bump up to the next level, as has the lip sync and the facial detailing. The series has always has exquisite attention to detail in its environments, but it’s outdone itself this time. As the game drips the details through, when you’re wandering around examining things, it becomes quickly apparent why the house is so shabby and run down, why they’ve had to move in a hurry, and why Charles (Chris’ father), has drunk three cans of beer before noon.
This is what the series as a whole excels at – filling in the blanks with tiny details. Farewell wouldn’t have been so horribly sad if we hadn’t been surrounded by pieces of Chloe and Max’s lives together, even going back as far as baby photos, and Captain Spirit is no different. The game slowly guides you through the events that turned Chris’ family upside down, and why Charles is the way he is, down to a scribbled note in a comic book, hastily painted over graffiti, and a fist-shaped hole in the door. It’s not beating you over the head with sad themes, but it lets its implications speak for themselves – a hard thing to do in storytelling, but they’ve pulled it off.
Overall, I think this spells excellent things for what is yet to come – season two of Life is Strange will release on September 27, 2018, and it’ll much likely be in the same vein as Chris’ adventures as Captain Spirit. After the punch to the gut that was Farewell, and the heartbreaking scenes in The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, I’m confident we’ll be seeing something great from Dontnod’s newest endeavor, even if it does mean a new adventure without Max and Chloe.
Since it’s a free demo, I absolutely recommend you picking this up if you were a fan of the original series. Now, if Captain Spirit could come and do all of my chores, that’d be wonderful…
- Textures have absolutely improved, along with lip sync
- The story shows rather than tells, and is very well done
- The release date for the next season isn’t too far away – I want more!
- Chris’ voice does get a little grating, but that’s what you get when you play as a nine year old boy.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is currently unrated by the ESRB (other than may contain unsuitable content for children), and PEGI 16. It contains heavy themes and overt, physical child abuse.
Disclaimer: This review is based on a retail copy of the game purchased for the purposes of this review.