This week, Life is Strange Episode 4 was released and, like pretty much every other person who’s been playing the game, I immediately downloaded it. For those of you who don’t know, Life is Strange is an episodic dramatic adventure game where you control the story and outcomes. It takes place over the course of a week from the perspective of photographer and college student Max Caulfield who, for some unknown reason, is able to rewind time. Here’s a warning though, from this point on there will be MAJOR SPOILERS.
So by Episode 4, you’ve played through the ups and downs of Max’s life as she figures out her superpower. The episode begins almost immediately as Episode 3 left off, which is great as Episode 3 left players with the worst cliff-hanger we’d had in the game, that was until Episode 4’s ending – which over an hour after playing I’m still reeling about, but we’ll get to that. This game has given me a tornado of emotions but this episode has surpassed all my high expectations as it has thrust the much darker side of the game upon us, giving me chills, creeping me out and making me cry more than once. It’s definitely not the teen drama that it started off being in Episode 1 now. The story that this game follows is one of the best in a game that I’ve ever experience and I know that when Episode 5 is released, I will definitely be going back and replaying in order to get different outcomes and just experience it all over again.
This episode is without a doubt, one of the most emotional, dramatic and tense episodes in the game so far for so many reasons. The game is filled with so many intense turns and tasks you with different choices like whether or not to put Chloe out of her misery and let her die in the parallel universe; investigating Nathan Prescott, his family and the Rachel Amber mystery while attempting to bring Nathan to justice; finding Rachel’s body in the junk yard and, no matter whether you chose to let her die earlier in the episode, you have to sit and watch helplessly as Max gets drugged and can’t use her power and as Chloe gets shot and killed by the game’s antagonist who, through four episodes has been thought to be Nathan, but ends up being your trusted, attractive, famous and all-round nice guy teacher Mr Jefferson.
Unlike the last 3 episodes, ‘Dark Room’ seemed to put the time travelling aspect of the game to the side, focussing much more on the story and revealing what has up to now been a mystery. Of course there are a couple of moments where time travel is used prominently in the episode – like at the beginning where you restore your parallel universe back to the original one or approaching Frank, but overall I definitely feel that it took a back seat which, when the game so heavily revolves around it, I wasn’t too fond of. There were so many important plot points that were revealed during this episode like the Dark Room, Rachel’s body and Mr Jefferson’s dark side that it felt like I didn’t have as much control over the story as I had in previous episodes, which I didn’t like as that’s one of the best things about the game.
Episode 4 still comes accompanied by the same exceptionally beautiful graphics and soothing indie soundtrack with a bit of rave music thrown in at the Vortex Club party, so there’s not much to say about that that hasn’t been said in the previous Brash Games Life is Strange episode reviews. I did happen to notice while playing this though that the facial expressions seemed pretty static. Not much changed while they were talking and no matter how many people at the Vortex Club party told Max that she looked serious and intense, I wasn’t buying it since she wasn’t. She looked like she did all the time and it was a little disappointing.
I also had a few glitches with my rewinding while playing this episode. While rewinding, I would try to stop but it just wouldn’t and it continued to take me back in time, erasing actions I didn’t want erased until I had to go to the menu and restart from the last check point. This was especially annoying as I couldn’t simply skip scenes I had listened to already as all my choices were erased when I started again. I had to listen to Frank say “Oh look… The Wonder Twins” about seven times with this glitch and my rewinds.
‘Dark Room’ has left players with tons of questions that we’re praying we get answers to in the final episode, like Why is Mr Jefferson really doing all this? Are Nathan Prescott and his family working with Mr Jefferson in some sort of cult or organisation? Is Chloe really going to stay dead or is Max going to rewind and change that? And finally, is Max and her time travelling the reason for all the unexplainable end of the world signs?
So, is Life Is Strange worth buying? Definitely and if you haven’t already then two things: Sorry about the spoilers, but you were warned and what are you doing? Go buy it! There’s only one more episode left after this one and it’ll be out in a couple of months if the release date trend continues as it is so you have plenty of time to get Life is Strange in your library.
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