|System: PS4*, PC, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360|
|Pub: Square Enix|
|Release: May 19, 2105|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Violence, Use of Drugs|
Episode 3 also sets the tone well by using elements of our own culture to resonate with the player. For example, it’s not afraid to address bigotry and misogyny. Characters claim that Max is a “feminazi” quite a bit, so much so that the word loses all meaning. It’s simply something that angry and frustrated teenage boys yell when they are angry at a girl. Hits kind of close to home, doesn’t it?
It also shows how awful teenage internet culture can be very frequently. While it doesn’t go as far as Episode 2 did to show how people’s lives can be ruined with a few posts on Facebook, it does show how heartless people can be when they have anonymity on their side. This, coupled with the power that some of the more affluent students in school have, creates a situation where we see certain people caring more about being right and dominating others than having human compassion. Once again, it’s as if DontNod is holding up a mirror to the gaming community and saying, “look at yourselves” through their narrative, and it gives you the chills at points.
Another important introduction to this game is yet another new power. Instead of rewinding events by a few seconds, Max can now rewind events by years. When the game was first being advertised they mentioned these “butterfly effect” style scenes, and we get our first big taste in Episode 3. Choices that Max makes in these flashbacks have deep and profound ramifications that will ripple through time so much that you’ll barely recognize where you are when you return to the present. In fact, these ripples can be so profound, you are left wondering if you did the right thing, or if you were just selfish. It’s these scenes that lead the episode to its incredibly heart wrenching conclusion that once again shows that DontNod are masters of emotional impact.
The final thing I want to mention is the camerawork in Episode 3. It’s rare that I praise a game for its cinematography, but Life Is Strange is a master of knowing where to put the lens. There is one scene where Max and Chloe talk about simply hanging about like old times, and you get this long shot of both girls as music plays in the background. It perfectly conveys the desire for a simpler life. This holds true for every scene, as the camera pulls tricks like focusing on something small before pulling out, moving to a wide shot as important characters move through the scene and more. It uses techniques we usually only see in movies, and I hope that other games start adopting these techniques soon.
Giving a final rating for Episode 3 is a bit difficult. Honestly, the game started to slog at various points. I hated every single puzzle it threw my way, and couldn’t stand how I had to brute force my way through most of it. But the story was still so good and the ending was superb. At this point, I’d say the episodes would be better off sticking to Telltale style choose your own adventure formats. DontNod simply isn’t up to the task of designing puzzles. I swear to god, if I have to find one more bottle… but I digress. If you can deal with the frustration of the puzzles, then Life is Strange: Episode 3 is a fantastic game. If not, then I wouldn’t blame you if you simply watched this on a Let’s Play.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Date: May 21, 2015