Title: Life is Strange Episode 3 – Chaos Theory
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: Out Now
Price: $4.99/4.99 Euro or $24.99/24.99 Euro for the Season Pass
Tagline: Just because you can change time, does it mean you should?
Family Friendly: Click here to read more
Verdict: Buy it Already
The idea of time travel or changing destiny has been a theme of many video games in the past. Life is Strange is the latest game to pick up this mantra, and up through Episode 2, it had taken a short span view of how changing decisions and choices can affect future outcomes in the life of Max Caufield, our main protagonist and her compatriots. However, Dontnod has upped the ante with this idea and has set the bar for future episodes with Episode 3, Chaos Theory. It takes the formula that we have grown accustomed to and flipped it on its side.
As with the previous episodes, Life is Strange Episode 3 focuses on the trials of Max Caufield, a young 18 year old girl who has returned to her hometown to attend a prestigious arts college. As school starts, she reunites with her childhood friend Chloe who has changed quite a bit since tragedy struck her family several years ago. During their first meeting, Max finds that she has acquired the strange ability to rewind time for a short period to change the outcome of events along with seeing eerie visions of a catastrophic event that is set to strike the city.
In the past, there have been slight complaints about dialog that did not fit the characters and that there were some forced issues that had come into play and that is true to some degree, but in Episode 3, we start to see the setup behind these events and it starts to flesh out the story of Max and how she can start to affect the people around her. She questions her abilities at this point, and asks the questions of why she can change the past and whether she should.
It is these points of conflict that makes Life is Strange so fun, interesting and heart wrenching all at the same time. Max discovers new abilities that bring about ideas of changing life altering events and how that can cause sweeping changes about everything she has come to know and expect. Without going into too much detail, the idea of karma, fixed points in time and events that must come to pass one way or another play out in tragic fashion, leaving players aghast at the ending events of episode three and what this sets up for future episodes in Life is Strange. Gone is the innocence of Max in one fell swoop and sets up guilt and sorrow.
It is these emotions that Dontnot has started to pull at quite convincingly and they have moved past being confounded by creating hip dialog and created event pieces and thoughtful discussion sequences that are moving and show a care for the characters that have been created. It seems like a lot of hyperbole, but the fact that I could not stop playing this episode because I was hanging on every scene is a testament to the power of this latest episode of Life is Strange.
It will be interesting to see how Life is Strange moves forward with its narrative after the bombshell it has left us with in Episode 3. It still seems conflicted with its overarching narrative about the upcoming cataclysmic events foreshadowed in the past, but the game has always been more about the small moments between characters that makes the game such a joy to play. It isn’t quite perfect, but it has found a way to create a deep experience for players that want something more from their choice based adventure games.
- Excellent interactions between main characters
- Great introspective look at the idea of is it always a good idea to change the past
- Creates an emotional bond for the player at the episode’s climax
- Some might object the casual use of the characters stripping down to their skivvies for now real reason
- A few sequences might not fit into place in the story
- Still seems confused about its overarching narrative for the main disaster heading to the city
I would love to recommend this for all ages as I think some of the ideas of bullying, shaming and other situations would be great talking points for parents to have with children. Life is Strange does hit on a lot of this hot button issues in-between its time reversing escapades, but other subject matter might be a bit too much for younger students. There are discussions of drug use and the idea of abuse has been touched on very blatantly. With that in mind, you might keep this one for teens and up.
This review was done using retail Xbox One code paid for by the reviewer.