Life is Strange by DONTNOD Entertainment (2015)
Episode 3 – Chaos Theory (May)
Read – Episode 1: Chrysalis
Read – Episode 2: Out of Time
While Out of Time was an unfortunate train wreck of character introduction and poor level design, its dramatic climax did set the stage for an exciting third installment. Chaos Theory, completely shedding all responsibility of exposition, does just that by propelling the story forward in a meaningful way while keeping close attention to the little details that make this series so unique.
As the shadow of Out of Time’s finale sets a darker tone, the atmosphere of Arcadia Bay grows tense and its inhabitants even more so. In their search to make sense of it all, we see a more personal side of Max and Chloe’s friendship that was glossed over in previous episodes due to the multitude of characters being introduced. While giving depth to the background characters has helped to flesh out the world we’re surrounded by, it has also distracted us from the main characters. In terms of balance however, Chaos Theory does an excellent job making sure the protagonists get their long awaited screen time, while the other characters don’t get ignored completely.
Keeping with the Life is Strange style, this episode takes on a darker tone with fresh nighttime visuals and some more methodical music tracks. Immersion is achieved through the small details of every room and the continually well-done voice acting. As this episode contains far less ‘puzzle’ work, interactivity is driven by the choices you make leaving any puzzles to be mere distractions or small plot devices to progress the scene. Closely imitating reality, the consequences of your choices crop up here and there in passing, never truly revealing themselves keeping their impact a mystery.
Ever since the last episode, I was quite curious as to how our decisions truly affect future events, an interesting gameplay aspect had yet to be resolved. Without spoiling anything, I must say that while this episodes’ ending made my point somewhat moot, I was too shocked to even care. While I like to think that my decisions up until that point were of some significance, only these last two episodes will tell. I look forward to going deeper into this rabbit hole of time travel and indie music in Episode 4 – Dark Room.
Life is Strange is also available on both PlayStation and Xbox.
A BIRD’S EYE VIEW