Game Review: Life is Strange (Episode 3)

My review of episode 2 was very, very late, but I played through episode 3 yesterday as soon as I finished the review for the previous episode, so it’s fresh in my mind and hopefully I’ll have more to say about it.

The second episode ended with a bang, I would call the third episode more of a “breather episode” the kind of episode that gives viewers (or players, in this case) a break from the tension of previous and forthcoming episodes. Don’t get me wrong, this episode isn’t completely devoid of tense moments (a standout includes having to escape from the cops and hiding in a change room stall), but there’s also a long scene with Max and Chloe chilling in the school pool together after hours (which is definitely not loaded with subtext). You can even take it further with a choice later on in this episode (which 83% of players chose to do).

The one annoying part of this episode was the introduction of the “focus” mechanic, where you need to press A and D and the mouse buttons to focus on a picture, and then STOP when you hear voices. The instructions for explaining it aren’t very clear, and I tried and failed at least three times before consulting the Steam forums.

At this point, it would be nice if the game started explaining some things, like why Max has her powers in the first place. I’d assume that it will be explained somehow in episodes 4 and 5, but so far the game’s focus is mostly on the shady shit going on at the school and Max’s powers are taking a backseat. It’s not that I mind not having an explanation, but it would be a nice thing to have. Another thing that has been consistent throughout the series is that the lip-syncing is way off. This didn’t bother me too much in the previous episodes, but it was really noticeable here.

As far as triggery content, there’s a lot of talk about the (attempted or actual, depending on your decisions) suicide in this episode (since I saved this character, the dialogue with other characters is about visiting her in the hospital). There’s also a really unnerving scene involving a teacher and a student with the student suggesting an exchange of….favours… return for winning a contest, which the teacher refuses. If you’re sensitive to animal death, one of your choices could end up getting a dog killed (just throw the bone in the parking lot to avoid this) and there are dead birds on the ground (and dead whales in a cutscene).

See you soon with a review of the fourth episode!

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