Suffice it to say, Life is Strange may very well be one of the most surprising games of the year for many people, myself included. Prior to this game’s release, I knew very little about it apart from the fact that the premise looked promising and it might be worth checking out. Now, having played through more than half of this series and it having finally found it’s stride, I can happily tell you that I am seriously glad that I did.
*Warning! The Following Will Contain Some Spoilers!*
Episode 3: Chaos Theory picks the story right up directly after the results of the climactic ending in the last episode. Depending on the end result of whether or not Max was able to save Kate, it is immediately apparent how the entire event has affected the campus. Upon inspecting Max’s computer, the player is given their first glimpse at the various immediate and varied responses that people had in regards to Kate’s decision to commit suicide. If you were not able to save Kate from jumping off the dorms, you are able to find a slew of mixed and confused posts on social media. Quite a few of these posts in fact, are pretty typical of what many people who are harassed on the internet are exposed to on a regular basis. Meanwhile, if you were able to save her, there are many posts both praising Max and sending support to Kate. Going over this episode several times with different playthroughs, as I had, it is not hard to notice how very different each result really was.
From this point, Max has several more opportunities to see how her friends are doing before going off to meet with Chloe and snoop around the classrooms after hours. Sparing you the details, from this point on we get some fairly important sections of character development and a further understanding of the relationship between the two girls. It becomes quite clear that a huge turning point for Chloe, and what she consistently places the blame for how she is, was the passing of her father when the two girls were much younger. On more than several occasions, she expresses her desire on being able to change that fact. These moments in particular really spoke to me as I (and I’m sure many others as well) can relate to the desire to have the chance to change something we regret. So when Max eventually gets this opportunity to change this monumental moment, it comes to no one’s surprise that she takes it. However, no matter how well intentioned the thought was, Max ended up changing way more than she bargained for.
What I most liked about this episode however, was how all of your decisions so far, both large and small, have a distinct effect on the overall plot so far. As I touched upon in the review for Episode Two, the small decisions are really what moulds each experience for the player and is one of the best aspects of this series. It is even more important that we are now three episodes in, as we are able to start seeing how each of these decisions are likely going to turn out. Kate’s death (or lack thereof) is just the latest and biggest example of the various factors that are in play within the third episode. Whether or not Lisa the house plant is still alive. Whether or not Frank is still in possession of Chloe’s gun. Making the decision to save that bird in the first episode. Even saving that one chick who always seems to be in the wrong spot at the wrong time. All of these are prime examples of the small decisions that are starting to have a real effect on the storyline. This, in my opinion, is what really sets this game apart from Telltale’s current line-up of episodic games and is likely why I have enjoyed playing each episode several times already.
The Verdict: 9.0 out of 10
The latest episode for Life is Strange continues to raise the stakes and is a significant turning point for the series so far. Packing plenty of emotional drama, impactful decision making, and showing the best aspects of the series signature grounded storytelling, Chaos Theory has finally made the series a worthy recommendation for most gamers.
For more information about what the score means, check out our official review scale.