20th Oct2015

‘Life is Strange – Episode 5: Polarized’ Review (PC)

by Paul Metcalf

life-is-strange

With an episodic game like Life is Strange, that has performed so strongly in previous episodes, when we reach the finale there is that worry that it won’t live up to expectations. Life is Strange – Episode 5: Polarized ends perfectly for the story, but feels slightly long-winded in its approach to actually getting there.

After the events of episode 4 most of the questions are answered and we all the pieces are in place for the story to finally come to a close. With the storm approaching though and Max in danger the biggest mystery of them all is just what caused the storm, and can she survive it?

As you can tell I’m being as vague as I can about the contents of the final episode of Life is Strange and that is because I don’t want to post spoilers. I do believe it is safe to say though this is the episode where time travel becomes all the more important, but also the ramifications of this do too. All of the actions you’ve taken in previous episodes are thrown right back in your face and you have to deal with what you have done, in a very harsh way.

Life is Strange – Episode 5: Polarized is a good episode because it definitely manages to hit home the fact that every action has consequences, and when this means messing around with time the consequences can be huge. If only the writers of Doctor Who could take notice of what we see in Life is Strange.

What is truly impressive though is the way that Life is Strange is truly manipulative, turning evil with the player to basically make them consider the fact that sometimes the “nice” option is not the right one. Life is Strange – Episode 5: Polarized is very much a case of giving the Telltale Games addicts some bad medicine and just what real consequences actually look like, and this is coming from a fan of Telltale Games. In Life is Strange the game does “remember that” then takes your actions and judges you in-game as to whether it was the right thing to do.

If there is a problem withLife is Strange – Episode 5: Polarized it is that it has so much to do to finally close the story. What this often leads to is some long-winded scenes that could really do with trimming down. Just wait until you get to the Warren conversation and you will see what I mean. There is meant to be a level of urgency at that point in the game, and the conversation goes on way too long, irritatingly so.

Getting past that though it is in the final scenes that the story of Life is Strange truly shines. You are forced to make a very hard decision and manipulated to know which you have to choose. It may have huge emotional impact on you, but it has to be done. Which is what is so impressive about these scenes.

This is an episode where the weirdness of Life is Strange shines. You are pushed into an episode that feels straight out of Twin Peaks at times. Uncomfortable to play through, hard-hitting and with plenty of emotional impact the writers of the story know just where to kick the player, especially when they are down, and that is the beauty of the game.

Now the game has reached its finale and we can look at the final product what is obvious is that Life is Strange is a very good game which will stick with fans for a long time. With real emotional impact and intelligent handling of some real life issues it can be hard-hitting at times, but as much as it hurts it is so good to play. One of the games of the year, this is a must play for fans of adventure games.

***** 5/5

Life is Strange – Episode 5: Polarized is out now on PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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