Life Is Strange 2 is a criminally underrated game, with characters equally as overlooked – none more so than Sean Diaz, Brother of the Year.
By Madeline Carpou
Published May 16, 2021
With a new game coming out this fall, as well as a remaster of the original?games, the?Life is Strange?community is going to have a great year. But they would be remiss to forget about?Life is Strange 2, a game which deserves just as much acclaim as its predecessors. With a raw storyline, a fantastic soundtrack, and?a cast of complex, realistic characters, it truly holds up as an unforgettable experience.
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All of this is, in great part, thanks to Sean Diaz: the playable protagonist and ward of the game’s?little superhero, his brother Daniel. Sean went through hellish experiences at just 16 years old, but his love for his?brother kept him going through it all.
Daniel’s superpowers came as a shock to both brothers, but Sean knew better than to make Daniel suppress something that he couldn’t help. Instead, he made an effort to train Daniel, so he may express his powers in a way that is both useful and well-contained.
Of course, since Daniel was just a little boy, they had some hiccups along the way. But Sean took it all in stride and made sure never to blame his brother for something neither of them could help. Because of this, Daniel was able to get as close to mastering his powers as a 10-year-old could.
Towards the end of the first episode, Sean and Daniel encounter Mushroom: a cute spaniel puppy being offered for adoption at a gas station. After escaping a terrifying situation with the gas station owners, Sean discovers that Daniel rescued Mushroom during all the commotion – and like only the best of big brothers, he let him keep her.
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The gas station owners were cruel,?so the puppy was always going to be better off with a sweet?boy like Daniel. Plus, after?everything he’d been through, a puppy was just the thing he needed to lift his spirits. Even amidst all the uncertainty of their situation, Sean was?kind enough to realize this.
Sean was put in an impossible situation from the very beginning. How on earth was he supposed to explain to his little brother what happened to?their father? Grief, mourning, and loss are all things that are terribly challenging for children to understand, let alone the circumstances surrounding one’s death.
So Sean put his creative skills to the test and began to weave a?story to make their journey more understandable for Daniel. He repeatedly told Daniel the story of the Wolf Brothers, evolving it as their journey progressed, and that ultimately made it easier for Daniel to cope with everything going on around him.
As well as this, Sean still made time to be playful with his brother. Although Daniel thought of himself as an adult, as all little kids do, he was still very young and unable to?process?certain things. So Sean made sure to break up their periods of travel with moments of play – be it games in the woods, or literal board games.
Their dynamic was equally playful, with the brothers?developing an easy, silly banter between them. Without these moments, their journey would have certainly been much more agonizing.
Despite the strain between Sean and his estranged mother, Karen, he still sought out her parents as a refuge from their travels. Although Sean is a brave character, he is still only a boy – he was out of his depth in the situation they were in, and after Daniel came down with a cold, he knew he needed some help.
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So he put past differences aside and trekked through the snow to find their grandparents, which ended up being a life-saving decision. Even though they were worried about Sean’s status as a suspect, they still healed Daniel up, got the boys fed, and did their absolute best to take care of them. All of which is thanks to Sean’s decision to find them.
Both brothers were missing the comforts of home during their travels, and some of those comforts were social. This is especially true for Daniel, who was at the age when playtime with other kids his age is crucial. Sean knew this, so when they met Chris – a quirky boy living next door to their grandparents, he ultimately?let Daniel befriend him.
Even though there was always a risk something would get out to the police, Sean saw how happy Daniel was when he was with Chris, and decided it was a risk worth taking.?After all, they were pretty adorable together as friends!
But Sean needed people, too – he was just a regular teenager getting ready for a party when everything went down. And he couldn’t be a good big brother if he didn’t take care of himself, too. If he’d neglected his own needs, he would have surely either smothered Daniel, or driven them even further apart.
Instead, in moments of respite, Sean was able to connect with others and let them help out, which gave him a much-needed break, as well as socialize like he used to. He?accepted the wisdom of the writer Brody, befriended the crust punks at the farm, and became a brief part of the trailer park community his mother lived at. In doing all this, he was better able to look out for Daniel in the moments that mattered most.
This entire episode was a test of strength and patience for Sean, who had to break out of a hospital, endure humiliation from a pair of racist crooks, and team up with Karen in order to rescue Daniel from?a religious cult. It was one of the most difficult episodes for players to get through, as they knew Sean, and they knew he didn’t deserve any of it.
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Yet in spite of Daniel’s confusion amidst his captivity, Sean didn’t give up on him. He kept pushing, reminding Daniel that he would never give up on him, and that his home was with people who actually cared about and loved him.
Nothing about their situation was fair. As victims in a violently racist world, Sean and Daniel were constantly being tested with horrifying situations, Sean even more so, being the older brother. And since he was so young, it was even more confusing for him to decide what was best for the two of them.
But Sean never gave up. Everything he did was for Daniel’s sake, and for the sake of their survival. He never stooped to the level of their pursuers, and he never once thought of abandoning his little brother. Sean’s bravery, determination, and strength are amongst many reasons why he deserves more recognition, not just as a big brother, but as a character in general.
And of course, sometimes Sean made mistakes. Sometimes he really upset Daniel. That’s just how siblings are. What’s telling is the fact that, no matter how things turn out for the brothers, Daniel shows intense love for his brother in each and every possible ending for the game.
Regardless of how Sean raised Daniel, or how he handled things throughout the game, Daniel never shows hostility or disdain towards his brother by the?end of it all. Whether they’re separated or reunited, they are still the Diaz brothers. And they always will be.
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About The Author
(26 Articles Published)
Madeline is a list writer specializing in video games. She has a diverse background in media production, from hosting a folk music show at her college radio station to co-producing a local history podcast.
When she’s not writing, gaming, or writing about games, she enjoys reading, playing guitar, and hanging out with her dogs.
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