The darker the secret, the deeper you have to dig. The truth always lies right at the bottom where it is no longer covered by all the lies and deceit, but as you slowly wipe away the darkness in search of the light, you’ll sometimes find that the very light which you were hoping would illuminate your way to the truth is much darker than you could ever have imagined. Things are slowly starting to fall into place in Arcadia Bay, and our protagonist Max is right in there, in the middle of it all.
Picking up after the traumatic events of episode 2, the students of Blackwell feel worn out and there is a definite air of remorse and despair. These events have finally given Max that final push to really uncover the truth and find the culprit(s) behind all of this. There is still much unknown but the seemingly odd yet complimentary duo of Max and Chloe team up to try and actively uncover the truth. Nothing is as it seems though and even the people they thought they knew are hiding something too, and this includes Chloe’s close friend, Rachel, who seems to be at the center of it all and it makes her missing person’s case all the more mysterious. I won’t delve further into that but things are slowly coming together and all the major players are being revealed.
The story is much better paced than episode 2. There are moments of genuine sincerity and the dialogue exchanges within feel natural and heartfelt. There are still too many ‘hellas’ being thrown around but it’s become a quirk of those using it so it never became too grating. There were some surprisingly tense moments as well that were well choreographed and acted and it gelled well with the overall scenario as it made the quieter moments feel more meaningful, and it’s those moments that really shine.
The relationship that Chloe and Max share is as beautiful as it is intricate, but the intricacy stems from the troubled past of Chloe. I genuinely felt sad as they showed more of Chloe’s life and what goes on in her mind. Sure, it sometimes devolves into typical teenage melodrama and uses some clichéd tropes (you’ll know it when you see it), but it never brought the experience down as it did in episode 2. Its smart design and the developers crafted scenarios that flowed well together which accentuated every little nuanced moment. All of this leads up to an ending and cliffhanger that left me with my jaw on the floor and a body full of goosebumps. It’s a shame then that there are still some lingering issues that hamper what is otherwise an outstanding episode.
The gameplay this time around is a bit better than in previous episodes but it still stumbles over itself. Far too often it has you scavenging the area looking for a set number of items. Now, if I wanted to do some fetch quests, I’d play an MMO, but with a game like this that relies more on its storytelling than actual gameplay, mindlessly searching every draw and cupboard for an item only ends up hurting the overall flow of the game. Thankfully, there were more interesting uses of the time rewinding mechanic this time around but I just wish they focused more on it. It’s frustrating. Life is Strange has a really good mechanic going for it but it never fully utilizes it, instead it relies on genre tropes and doesn’t even do that well. Luckily, these moments don’t last too long and I just hope that they put less emphasis on this in the coming episodes.
One aspect of the game that does not disappoint is still the presentation. The look and feel still feels authentic and the musical tracks are expertly chosen and suit the scenarios they’re played in. The voice acting is still the same as before but the script is much better this time making the overall performances much more believable. There is one serious caveat when it comes to the graphics in this episode though. Episode 3 has a 300+ meg patch that goes along with it that fixes some game breaking graphical glitches. It’s unfortunate, but luckily the patch sorts out all the issues therefore treat this patch as a mandatory download if you want to play this episode. As a side note, I am not sure if this issue is in all versions of the game but it was definitely present on PlayStation 4.
Last Updated: May 19, 2015