Life Is Strange: Episode 3 – Chaos Theory marks the third of five planned story instalments in Remember Me developer DONTNOD's divisive high school story. We had our fair share of problems with the first two episodes, but left the door open for the developer to truly deliver on the glimpses of promise that it had shown thus far. Well, it seems that someone at the Parisian outfit has been listening, because this third outing has struck back with a vengeance.
The nature of episodic games makes it tougher for us to touch upon the specific narrative beats as we don't want to spoil things, but rest assured, there's quite a lot that happens here. Building off the extreme ending of the previous instalment, Chaos Theory picks right up from there. It starts at a heightened emotional point in comparison to the previous two episodes, and rarely lets up until the absolutely stunning conclusion.
This is the most marked improvement in the new episode: there are rarely any periods of filler. Everything that happens feels like it advances the plot in a meaningful way, which is a far cry from the previous two instalments. And we cannot emphasise enough just how game changing the conclusion is. For reals.
On that point, the writing is finally settling down, too. The dialogue through the first two episodes was physically painful to endure at times, but Episode 3 strikes a delicate balance between cheesy and grounded. The teen speak is used much less liberally, and as a consequence seems less forced. This helps the conversations to feel far more organic, and by doing so raises the material to a higher level than before.
The game isn't just better on a dialogue basis either: the gameplay is getting more complex as well. Max – our protagonist – is now beginning to get a firmer grasp on her powers, allowing her to do more with them. This brings with it more complex and engaging challenges; the puzzles are still relatively simple, yes – but they bring some variety to the walking and talking. Towards the end, you'll even get access to a new power – and while we're past the halfway point now, we're curious to see if any more get added to the mix.
While proceedings are much improved across the board, it is still, ultimately, the same game, so the poor lip syncing that's been present from the start is still a problem – but like the odd framerate fluctuation, it's not so bad that it ruins the experience. This is great, as we wouldn't want technical hiccups to get in the way of the game's generally excellent art direction – including a trip to one particular location that we've been wondering if we'd get to visit since Episode 1.
We weren't particularly sold on the first two episodes of Life Is Strange, but we could see the kernel of potential that was hiding beneath the surface. Episode 3 – Chaos Theory is where that promise finally bursts to the forefront, delivering an almost perfect balance of tense storytelling, organic dialogue, and improved gameplay – all while setting up a potentially brilliant follow-up episode. This series is finally delivering what we always thought it could, and that makes us hella happy.
Hella hype! Great review, Graham - glad this episode appealed to you more.
Finally a good score from Graham, if for he it's 8, for me should be like 9+.
I'm waiting for this stores to be done so I can buy the whole thing.
A man doesn't wait, Valar Morghulis
Arguably my favorite episodic adventure to date. I thoroughly love reliving my adolescence with the added bliss of superpowers.
@ferrers405 I wanted them to impress me And they hella did it!
@KAPADO Valar Dohaeris
hope this review doesnt scare anyone away from this game. to the right person its GOTY material as far as im concerned, despite it only being 2 episodes in. im deeply emotionally involved with this game which is A LOT more than i can say about most other games. i very much look forward to future projects from dontnod.......whos with me! ???
I knew you'd see the light, Banas lad!
spoiled the 2nd power x.x
@NomNom yeah! dammit. i actually wouldnt have guessed there would be more powers
Great review and I already really enjoyed the first two episodes so this is a no brainer! Looking forward to this
After all I had read I so wanted to enjoy these, but I sat down to start the first episode last night and actually switched off within an hour or so as the dialogue was so awful it actually left me feeling embarrassed to continue playing :S
Just finished the episode, it blew my mind well out of this time zone....Wow, I can't wait for episode 4.
It was a great episode and the game itself has been my fav too. I could try to guess how the story plays out, but I just want to enjoy the ride Dontnot is giving us and so far it's been great!
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