22nd May2015

‘Life is Strange – Episode 3: Chaos Theory’ Review (PC)

by Paul Metcalf


If you’ve played the first two episodes of Life is Strange you’ll already know that it wears its geek crown proudly, to hipster levels of whimsy.  Now that the third episode Chaos Theory has been released we have hit the episode where the game has revealed its ace card and truly become something special, to mind-blowing proportions.

It is hard not to spoil the plot to the previous episode, and this one by mentioning too much but by giving just the basic plot that should be safe enough.  Previously we’ve learnt of Max’s ability to rewind time and that she has returned to her home town of Arcadia Bay reconnecting with her childhood friend Chloe in a bid to discover what has happened to a missing girl.

In Chaos Theory the episode takes us into the recognisable trend of being an investigation episode bombarding us with details about the characters who could be connected to what is going on in Arcadia Bay.  We learn many facts about the town’s darker nature and a picture begins to form regarding the nature of Rachel, the missing girl’s disappearance.  The game then moves to cementing the friendship between Max and Chloe, and this is important as we begin to get invested in the relationship between the two girls.  The episode as the previous ones has a movie feel to it, with this one being particularly beautiful in the way it is presented both audibly and visually.

The way we as the controller of Max become so invest in the game really is down to the voice acting which is outstanding, and the actual directing of the game.  The focus on detail for each scene is beautiful, with the swimming pool being the standout location, this is a real bonding moment for Max and Chloe and it is intentionally done to make the gamer feel just how strong the friendship is becoming, a trap well set for events that are to come.

The fact is this episode is the moment when people will start to compare it to the impact that Telltale Games had with the first season of The Walking Dead.  This is the episode where the emotions definitely make an impact and the effects of changing time really hit home.  We are constantly warned by Doctor Who, and Doc Brown in Back to the Future what messing with time can do it is almost ingrained in pop culture by now.  Life is Strange really hits you with a sledgehammer with the effects of the time manipulation though.  It is absolutely mind-blowing, with a huge emotional impact and it is very impressive that even if you do feel a certain dread with what is coming it still manages to be jaw dropping in impact.

Now that we have reached the midpoint of Life is Strange we will be spirally towards the conclusion, and at this point I want the rest of the game now.  I want to know if some of my decisions can be fixed, or even if we should? Has Max set things in motion that are going to result in the very thing she is trying to prevent?

Life is Strange as a game isn’t perfect, in this episode I did become annoyed the nature of having to constantly reverse time to get the correct process of events, but in story terms it really is outstanding, and the way it feels like you are playing through a movie.  Life is Strange is becoming a must buy, and I’m sure that some are waiting for the entire game to be released before they dip into it.  All I can say to that is you are waiting then you are in for a huge treat when you finally take the dive into this game and if you are playing it episode by episode like me, then you’ll love Chaos Theory, the best episode by far.

****½  4.5/5

Life is Strange – Episode 3: Chaos Theory is out now.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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