Here we are again. If you remember my previous review of lifeline 1 it was a really positive experience for me. Lifeline 2 was no different.
[Your one and only spoiler alert!! Go play this game if you haven’t]
In lifeline 2, you meet a new character in the Lifeline franchise named Arika. Unlike Taylor, who is kind of an abstract character – The Space Astronaut – Arika is a fully realized character. She is a girl named Arika Lanphear. She has a history, a quest and a witty personality. Arika contacts you by mistake, at least that what is first implied. She was trying to contact her missing brother. Instead she “stumbles” on you. At first I felt like Arika was very cautious towards me. She wouldn’t trust me. she even went so far one time to disobey me and said something along the lines of “you know what? I don’t agree with that I’m going to do this instead” and I was awestruck.
Arika was so different from Taylor in a number of ways. First she was a fully realized female character. With Taylor – one can argue by some actions whether Taylor is a female or a male but it is never mentioned. You need to determine that for yourself. Second – Arika is a spellcaster. She has arcane knowledge and most dealings in the story are regarding magic or magic artifacts while Taylor dealt with Science most of the time. Third – Arika is a teenage girl even though she experienced things far worse than what any normal teenage faces, while Taylor is a student working on a space ship.
The franchise featured some new mechanics in Lifeline 2. I was able to type in my name (or any name I wanted to be called) when Arika asks for it. Once that was done, the entire story became a bit more personal as Arika references you by your name.
Arika wants your help to find 3 artifacts of power she needs in order to complete her quest. She needs an ever-burning lantern, a metallic key and a magical ribbon. These 3 artifacts are found in 3 different places and are dangerous to acquire. With you guiding her she sets out to work on the task at hand.
One element ever-present in the game is Arika’s Blood magic. Aside from normal spells she can use like Healing, for instance, she is able to cast powerful magic by cutting herself and using her blood. That is usually done with a special knife she owns. Throughout the story, you can either encourage her to use that blood magic more often, or scrutinize it. Although, Arika will not completely listen to your guidelines about using that power until she trusts you. For instance, if she tells you she needs to walk eight miles and she needs to hijack a car but you say no to both her teleporting or hijacking a car, she will simply try to teleport anyway because you don’t make any sense and she doesn’t trust you yet.
That is one element of the game that makes it so invaluably amazing – you need to prove yourself to Arika. She holds the power. She can disconnect the channel open between you two anytime she wishes. She didn’t come to you begging for help like Taylor did. She is independent and can manage without you and she makes sure you know it.
The purpose for all of this journey is to find Rand, her little brother. Throughout the story while advancing in getting the artifacts she needs, you learn more about Arika. You learn how her life was destroyed when her neighbors revealed themselves to be evil green creatures(Sound familiar?) and killed all of the people in the village she lived in including her parents.
Arika also reveals to you later on that her brother Rand might still be alive. in an act of desperation before she and her family were attacked, she opened a portal in space into the ether and hid Rand there, not knowing the full intent or consequences of such an act. Doing so saved his life from the imminent danger, but exposed him to even more dangerous experiences and Arika realized that too late.
The final battle is played out according to your accomplishments in the acquiring of the different artifacts Arika needs. For instance, it is suicide to bring her to the final battle without the Lantern. but if you played it honest with the merchant and revealed to him who Arika really is – he would teleport the Lantern to Arika on the battlefield. Which was quite amazing if you ask me. She wanted to kill me after that encounter but we moved on to other tasks.
Like in Lifeline 1, being kind-hearted worked best in my opinion. Sometimes you can also be over-protective and tell her to walk instead of using her blood powers. That can trigger “so you are going to walk 8 miles in solidarity with me right?” or something along those lines(because you can’t take away her wit) and then you realize that you wouldn’t have walked either, so why demand that from her? Be kind-hearted and level-headed and that will play out as it should.
In the end, if you were successful and Arika defeated the enemies she sought to visit vengeance upon using the lantern, she will try to use the ribbon and key to reopen the portal. The one which she hid Rand behind so long ago. I felt profound joy when she did and was reunited with her brother. The culmination of that story results in a friend which you acquire. Before going with Rand, she thanks you and says that she suspects she will see you soon.
I suspect so too but to understand why, you will have to wait for my review of Silent Night 😉