REVIEW: ‘Tell Me Why Chapter 2’ – It Just Gets Better (Xbox One)

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Tell Me Why Chapter 2

This article on Tell Me Why Chapter 2 uses trans* which is an umbrella term to include not just transgender and transexual people but also people who are agender, gender non-conforming, gender-fluid, etc.

Following the events of Chapter 1, Tell Me Why Chapter 2 has been released and I do daresay that it’s even better than the first? Developed by DONTNOD Entertainment and published by Xbox Games Studios, Tell Me Why Chapter 2 gets into the nitty-gritty of Mary-Ann’s past, further develops Alyson and Tyler’s relationship, expands on other characters’ backgrounds, and creates not only a trans* narrative but one that expands on LGBTQ+ struggles.

Following Chapter 1’s revelations, Alyson and Tyler are back in their childhood home getting it ready to be sold. However, going through their old things proves tumultuous as the twins use their supernatural ability to relive both good and bitter-sweet memories. Their work is interrupted when an old friend of their mother shows up to apologize to Tyler and offer his help to get their electricity back up and running. Investigating the barn to fix the fuse box, the twins experience a forgone memory where Mary-Ann talks to their uncle Eddy the day before her death. Mary-Ann is distraught and despite the twins remembering the event differently, they decide they need to confront Eddy again. But when Eddy is resistant to their questioning, the twins take their future into their own hands—Tyler and Alyson break into the police department’s archives to find answers.

Tell Me Why Chapter 2 opens with a quick summation of Chapter 1 using the imaginative world of goblins created by the twins and their mother during their childhood. The sequence is adorable, introducing a different animation style, but efficiently catches players up on the events of the last chapter. On top of this, we also get a few cut scenes where we see Alyson’s point of view of the fateful night when their mother died. We got Tyler’s view of things in the first chapter so it’s only fair Alyson gets her time in the spotlight.

The “Book of Goblins” rears its head outside the opening sequence with a new puzzle to tackle and inclusion in more memories. However, probably the most interesting event yet involving the twins’ imaginary world is when they experience something frightening that combines their supernatural powers and their imagination. Their cute goblin world is quickly corrupted and takes on a new presence in this chapter. Between the mystery of their mother’s state of mind in the days leading up to her death and the corruption of their safe goblin world, the twins realize that the chapter of their lives that they were trying to close has only reopened.

Tell Me Why Chapter 2

Pairing the good with the bad, DONTNOD has created an atmospheric game that will take players on a wonderful, emotive journey. The creative team has put so much effort into pairing the visuals with the audio, making for some great ambiance. There is so much attention put into the smallest of details, making the twins’ house look homey and full of personality. Their childhood is everywhere you look from pictures to toys to written letters. Overall, the game is not just beautiful to look at and experience but the details are phenomenal and so well thought out.

I’m glad to say that the one criticism I had for Chapter 1 is now null and void. When looking at the pictures in their childhood home, Tyler expresses his discomfort with the ones that he’s in because they don’t look like him. This reflects how many trans* people look at their past and I’m glad they added it. Beyond this, Tyler talks about other trans* related topics such as binding, top surgery, and gender therapy. These aren’t necessarily a huge focus in this game, but the dialogue between Alyson and Tyler brings them up in a way that helps to explore the trans* narrative.

On top of trans* experiences, I was pleasantly surprised that Tell Me Why Chapter 2 also broaches on general LGBTQ+ experiences. I won’t say who, but there is another LGBTQ+ character besides Tyler in the game. The dialogue between Tyler and this character goes into the emotional labor a lot of queer people experience, especially when educating close-minded people about LGBTQ+ problems. But, I think most importantly, the game broaches on the subject of chosen family and finding somewhere to fit in and emphasize just how life-saving these can be for queer people.

Beyond the inclusion of trans* and LGBTQ+ experiences, Tell Me Why also focuses on the experiences of Native Alaskan peoples. Although Chapter 1 had plenty of Tlingit art to look at and does introduce some aspects of Native Alaskan culture, Chapter 2 expands on this inclusion. Players will experience aspects of Tlingit culture through not only the various letters and flyers you can find but also through Tlingit characters as they expand on their own experiences.

Tell Me Why is turning out to be a gorgeous game. The first chapter was wonderful but Chapter 2 breeds a narrative of acceptance and learning to love yourself that I think everyone needs to experience.

Tell Me Why Chapter 2 is available now on Xbox One and PC.

Tell Me Why Chapter 2
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Tell Me Why is turning out to be a gorgeous game. The first chapter was wonderful but Chapter 2 breeds a narrative of acceptance and learning to love yourself that I think everyone needs to experience.