Life is Strange: Episode 3 - Chaos Theory (PlayStation 4) Review

By David Lovato 01.06.2015 11

Review for Life is Strange: Episode 3 - Chaos Theory on PlayStation 4

Dontnod Entertainment and Square Enix continue the story of amateur time traveller Max Caulfield in Life is Strange: Episode 3 - Chaos Theory. Episode 1 saw Max discover she has the ability to rewind time, while Episode 2 revealed her powers aren't all that they seem. Episode 3 lets players explore a world reeling from the major events of the second episode, and guiding Max and her friends toward the truth behind the ominous underbelly of Blackwell Academy and the town of Arcadia Bay.

Chaos Theory picks up hours after Out of Time's gut-wrenching climax. Environmental aspects and NPC interactions will depend on players' choices, but the main focus of the story does not: Max receives a text message from Chloe asking to meet in the middle of the night. From here the first part of the episode is slow and, in comparison to the previous one, less exhilarating. There isn't much on the line, nor is there a lot to do among the empty halls of Blackwell Academy, with the world tucked away in bed. A few moments of character development carry an otherwise mostly mundane exploration segment, although it isn't without its surprises and plot twists.

The picture-taking mini-game is more complex throughout this episode, with some of the photo opportunities requiring Max to be in a certain place at a certain time, and most of them well-hidden around the world. In-game previews serve as a guide, but actually finding the photo ops requires thinking outside the box, and sometimes even interacting with the environment and leading things to the perfect setup. Rewinding time can be fun, but viewing the same dialogue bits repeatedly can be tedious, even with a skip button available.

Screenshot for Life is Strange: Episode 3 - Chaos Theory on PlayStation 4

Dialogue is less annoying this time around; cheesy remarks are cranked way down without much sacrifice to the story's feel or tone. The audio itself feels rushed, though, with certain lines clearly louder than others, and sometimes the delivered dialogue sounds like a rough take that somehow made the final cut. This is accompanied by a few graphical stutters and texture pop-ups, but the sound and visuals are more or less saved by expert lighting decisions and the moody soundtrack.

Most importantly, things ramp up after the first segment, and the team at Dontnod proves it still has a lot of tricks up its sleeve. The ability to control time is a lot of power to wield, but things are never as simple as they seem, including one section where players will have to navigate many routes of dialogue to solve a certain puzzle - or get juicy tidbits on the game's backstory - without causing too much trouble. The episode culminates in another major development regarding Max's powers, ultimately leading to a beautiful instrumental track guiding the audience through a climax as emotionally powerful - although much less predictable - than that of Episode 2.

Screenshot for Life is Strange: Episode 3 - Chaos Theory on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

There's a lot of risk in making an episodic, story-centric game, but Dontnod and Square Enix have pulled out all the stops, as shown in Episode 3 - Chaos Theory. Even if the next two episodes bomb, the first three have already crossed the threshold from "videogame" into "interactive experience," and whatever the future holds, Life is Strange is a title people will remember for a long time.

Developer

Dontnod Entertainment

Publisher

Square Enix

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I really wanna get this, but waiting for a full series sale. Really appealing setting and group of characters. I should probably try out that trial.

I played the first episode on PC and although it was intriguing, it was a bit too slow paced for my liking, and the constant rewinding of time got tiresome quickly. Any 'atmosphere' was lost on me because of repetitive gameplay techniques and a lot of either aimless wandering around at times, or overly lengthy cut-scenes. I have the Season Pass, which is annoying because I don't feel motivated to really play the other episodes Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Have heard it starts slow but gets better, and judging from what I've heard about Ep 3, that seems to support that. Odd that the trial's only on PS3, not PS4.

I would definitely say the pace picks up. In the first episode it doesn't really feel like a whole lot is on the line. That changes toward the end of the second episode, and then the last half of the third pretty much re-defines the game. It's like playing a whole different game with each episode, though I'm not sure the tediousness of rewinding will really go away. I wish they would at least throw in different camera angles when viewing repeated dialogue.

NNID: crackedthesky
My blog, mostly about writing: http://www.davidjlovato.com

Okay, fair enough - I'll give the second episode a go Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Hope you enjoy it! Definitely seems like the kind of game that's not for everyone, but the people who like it are going to REALLY like it.

NNID: crackedthesky
My blog, mostly about writing: http://www.davidjlovato.com

How often have they been releasing new episodes? Once a month, or longer? Is it a bugger having to wait so long between eps?

Once a month, it seems, similar to Telltale with Tales from the Borderlands and GoT.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

The original plan said an episode every six weeks. So far I think it's been closer to every 7 or 8 weeks, so basically every two months. My personal prediction is Episode 4 will drop July 21st and Episode 5 will be September 15, but it could be sooner or later than those.

Waiting between episodes can be rough for sure. The first one's ending was just slightly intriguing, but two and three are total cliffhangers, and waiting between them could be hard. Part of me wanted to hold off on everything until the whole game was out, but I just couldn't wait that long.

NNID: crackedthesky
My blog, mostly about writing: http://www.davidjlovato.com

Oh, really? Longer than I realised! Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Yeah, I remember now people going a bit nuts wondering when the second episode was arriving. Does seem a long time between eps. This means it's gonna be a while yet before I should get all episodes!

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
Nayu, Ofisil

There are 2 members online at the moment.