“Life is Strange, Episode 3: Chaos Theory” Review
Without spoiling anything, it felt like Episode 2 of Life is Strange either ended with you falling into a bottomless pit, or you simply hitting rock bottom. Episode 3 marks the beginning of the ascension from that fall, only to find that the land above that pit isn’t familiar at all.
What Is It?
Life is Strange is an episodic point-and-click adventure that puts you in the shoes of Maxine Caulfield, a talented young photographer studying photography at Blackwell Academy, a prestigious school in Arcadia Bay, Oregon.
Though she appears to be someone striving to be an average schoolgirl, Max also has the ability to travel back very short distances in time.
This time-rewinding mechanic is what separates Life is Strange from every other point-and-click game out there, and while there’s definitely a hint of darkness with the game’s plot, it’s generally one that young adults who watch The CW should be accustomed to. Heck, characters in the game even freely use the word “hella” despite the fact that none of them are shown to have any northern California roots.
Why Should I Care?
Entitled Chaos Theory, Episode 3 picks up immediately where Out of Time left off. Depending on what occurred during Episode 2’s ending, the students at Blackwell find themselves coping with the day’s events the best way they can.
As for Max Caulfield, she ends up meeting up with her old bestie Chloe Price to get down to the bottom of everything going on at school — which they do by breaking and entering the principal’s office followed by having a celebratory dip at the school pool, among other things.
The entire episode is essentially a sequence of shenanigans for Max and Chloe that allow players to get a more in-depth understanding of Arcadia Bay’s missing girl, Rachel Amber (who happened to be a good friend of Chloe), as well as the details surrounding the Prescott family’s stronghold on the town.
As far as gameplay goes, Max’s rewind ability is also starting to be put to better use. Early on in the episode when you have to sneak into the principal’s office, Max ends up texting a friend to get directions on how to make a bomb in chemistry class. Upon making it explode and unlocking the door, the school alarm goes off. So what’s there to do? Go inside the now-opened office, and turn back time while in the office to open the door from the other side. No need for a bomb!
This goes to show that Max isn’t just traveling back in time. She’s controlling it the way she wants to. It’s almost as if she’s completely mastered it.
The episode also demonstrates the use of Max’s ability to get information out of people. All Max has to do is talk to someone, get the information she needs, and then rewind to make it seem like she never spoke to anyone. With this, she can bring up topics for people more to easily elaborate on. This is an essential tool towards the end of the episode when Max tries to get the keys to the trailer sitting at the parking lot of the diner Chloe’s mom serves at.
Later, we even find that Max actually has the ability to go back further in time, as she travels back to a time wheen she’s a child. This is where “chaos theory” is applied. She changes one thing, only to come back to the present day to find that things are arguably worse since she virtually ruptured the space-time continuum.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
Like it or not, Chaos Theory puts a big emphasis on the direction of Max and Chloe’s relationship. As you delve deeper, it’s starting to become clear that while Arcadia Bay and Blackwell definitely have their problems, Chloe’s problems seem to be front and center for Max — so much so that the game takes a wild turn at the end because Max is so intent on helping her best friend.
I actually started to lose interest in the game due to the fact that it seemed to focus on this secondary character so much despite all the crazy things happening in town. But, lo and behold, the ending revealed a new Arcadia Bay that might as well feature its same problems, but not necessarily the same friends we thought Max knew.
If you’ve gotten this far into it, there’s really no point stopping now.
Reviews of Previous Episodes of Life is Strange:
|Title:||Life is Strange, Episode 3: Chaos Theory|
|Platform:||PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC|
|Release Date:||May 19, 2015|
|Editor's Note:||The season pass for the Xbox One version of the game was purchased by the reviewer.|