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Review: Life Is Strange, Ep. 3 – Chaos Theory

Review: Life Is Strange, Ep. 3 – Chaos Theory


Spoiler warning: If you have not played the game, or at the very least read my previous two reviews, steer clear of this review until after you have done so. You have been warned!
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get this crazy wibbly wobbly, timey wimey review going! We’re back again with Life Is Strange. Episode 3 – Chaos Theory. 
Fresh off the tragic events of the previous episode where our heroine, Max Caulfield either saves her friend Kate from suicide or watched her jump from the dormitory roof, shocking the entire campus. We have the entire school stuck in a rather dark, depressing state where everyone is wondering “Why did she do it?” or “Could I have helped?” Meanwhile, Max is still trying to piece together what happened that lead her to this, and what did Kate’s suicide attempt have to do with the still missing Rachel Amber? To help her with this, she turns to her rebellious best friend Chloe, who somehow managed to grab the keys to the school in the hopes of finding evidence in the principal’s office.
Chloe_and_Max_Ep3The gameplay continues as you’d expect a point-and-click adventure to: Find X, Y, Z ingredients to break into the office, use your time powers to solve X puzzle and break into the school swimming pool for a well deserved cutscene and story progression. But, sadly, this is growing a bit stale on me. Finding X, Y, Z is getting somewhat ridiculous in places, as the game has been conditioning you so much to look in every nook and cranny (so as not to miss items or events) that the developers are throwing logic out the window in an effort to lengthen the play time. At one stage, you have to find eggs and milk, and you can’t even open the fridge right behind you. Instead, you have to look on the sitting room table, followed by the front door because clearly this is a family that doesn’t believe in spoilage.
As for the story, it’s very hard for me to decide as the episode ends on, not only a cliffhanger, but a complete upheaval of the story so far. On the one hand, I thought I knew where this story was going and I planned it specifically so I could do this, that and the other and end it in a certain way. On the other hand, everything I knew about the game was tossed into the air, and I still have no idea where it will land, making all my plans null and void. Honestly, depending on what the next episode is like, Chaos Theory could either be the episode that shapes the series and brings it to a whole new height of story telling, or just lives on to eternally annoy anyone who ever played it.
As quoted in the first episode, Chrysalis, John Lennon once said that, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans”.  Well I planned my game, and now that plan is possibly completely worthless. It’s like the game wanted to point out that you can’t plan out every second of your life to reach the end, and you have to roll with the punches. If that’s the case, they did it in a very subtle way from the beginning. That is a brilliant idea, and it instills a real sense of confusion and choice in the player.
Life_Is_Strange_Chaos_Theory-05But on the other hand, where does that leave all my previous decisions and efforts? For those unfamiliar with the concept of the Chaos Theory, also known as the Butterfly Effect, it can essentially be explained as this: a small change can have very large consequences. Life Is Strange has played with the concept before, being so heavy handed as to literally throw images of butterflies at you in every episode, making it ridiculously easy to miss small things such as writing on a dirty van. I spent way longer than I had to in certain areas making sure I did everything I possibly could. I did that specifically so I could see the effects it would have later on. Was all that effort pointless, or do I still matter as a player and therefore a central point to this story? It’s like the developers have taken all my save files that have hours of planning and meticulous strategy and screamed “F*ck you! Your time and effort was worthless! Mwahaha!” which kinda makes me wanna punch the developers right in the gabba! Though, of course, only time will tell on that one. Curse you clever developers, toying with my feelings!

A better experience that the previous episode. 8/10