Oxenfree II Lost Signals Review: A Haunting and Brilliant Narrative
Revealing the successor to an acclaimed game is always a daring move and Night School Studio, creators of the much-loved supernatural adventure game Oxenfree, faced this challenge with the release of Oxenfree 2: Lost Signals. Striving to replicate the successful formula of their original while refreshing the narrative and mechanics to captivate returning players is no easy feat. Nevertheless, Oxenfree 2 comes out swinging, ready to draw players back into its eerie yet captivating world.
Oxenfree 2: Lost Signals embraces the storytelling legacy of its predecessor while introducing a new main character, Riley Poverly, an environmental researcher who’s returned to her old stomping grounds of Camena. Joined by her partner Jacob Summers, the pair find themselves embroiled in the town’s paranormal underbelly. The game’s narrative is beautifully crafted, unfolding through player-led dialogues and encounters with a reduced, yet potent, cast of characters. A new walkie-talkie mechanic expands player interaction, opening up avenues for side quests and broader exploration.
The game’s unique dialogue system, an appreciated carryover from the original, still allows players to shape the narrative, now enhanced by seamless location transitions. However, forced pauses in exploration to accommodate dialogues sometimes disrupt the game’s pacing. Despite this, the captivating narrative, driven by a perfect blend of supernatural and everyday events, remains engaging throughout.
As far as adventure games go, Oxenfree 2: Lost Signals offers a robust narrative experience, skillfully combining elements of horror and mystery with immersive character development, similar to the acclaimed Life is Strange series. However, its distinctive dialogue mechanics and puzzle elements set it apart, making it a unique offering in the genre.
You may be asking, why Netflix? Well, Oxenfree 2’s immersive narrative fits perfectly into Netflix’s gaming strategy. With its recent foray into gaming, Netflix seeks to create a library of games with strong narratives akin to their film and television aspirations (we know, we know…). The rich storytelling and interactive experience of Oxenfree 2 align with this approach, serving as a potential benchmark for the quality of narrative-driven games on their platform.
Despite minor hiccups in pacing and occasional repeated dialogue, Oxenfree 2: Lost Signals stands as a worthy successor to its predecessor. It weaves an engrossing story within its charming 2D-illustrated world, and the soundtrack underscores the atmospheric journey, complementing the visually distinct landscape.
Oxenfree 2: Lost Signals is a testament to the artistry of Night School Studio, maintaining what fans adored about the original while seamlessly introducing fresh elements. It’s an immersive experience that leaves a lasting impression, encouraging multiple playthroughs to fully unravel its layered narrative. In the spectrum of adventure games, it shines brightly.
RATING: 4.5 out of 5.
Oxenfree II is now available via Netflix, Nintendo Switch, PC, and PlayStation 4 and 5.