Game Review: Life is Strange (Episode 5)

It seems like it’s been years since angry dudebros on the Internet complained about this game being too feminist, and here we are at the end.

The last episode ended with a twist some of you may have seen coming, and what follows is Max’s attempt to try and fix everything that’s gone wrong up to this point.

In the first episode, I mentioned how Max annoyed me a little due to her hipster attitude, in this episode, the characters shine. Max and Chloe have one of the most intense friendships (or is it more than that?) that I’ve ever seen in a video game. Even characters you’ve grown to hate, like David, are fleshed out and, I would say, sympathetic, in the end. I also feel like the voice-acting in this episode was particularly good.

This episode is much more puzzle heavy than the previous episodes. The troublesome focus mechanic from previous episodes makes an appearance, but luckily the devs have thrown us a bone and enabled us to skip focusing by pressing and holding the spacebar. One particularly frustrating moment for me was a puzzle involving sneaking around while avoiding various light sources. Another puzzle was a bit more gruesome in which you try and prevent a murder. This puzzle actually unnerved me, as I had to watch this character die over and over again before I finally found the correct solution. Fortunately, there’s no ridiculously annoying and long detective work sequence to deal with this time around.

Naturally, for the final episode of a reasonably popular game, the fandom seems divided on the issue of whether your choices actually mattered. Personally I think the journey I took to the endpoint is more important than reaping the consequences of every single decision I made, but at the same time I feel like we were left with a lot of unanswered questions. On a purely technical note, it seemed to me like the graphics weren’t as clear as they’ve been in previous episodes (texture issues, perhaps?). I’m not the graphics police but it definitely seemed like there was a slight lack of polish.

As for potential triggers in this episode, again there are photographs of drugged women in vulnerable positions (one of which you need to use for the focus mechanic), needles, shooting deaths, and the surreal “nightmare” sequence, which may leave players wondering what the hell is going on.

The entire game has been a roller coaster ride, but episode five ends it with a bang and overall, as much as I hate the ending I got and the way it gave me so many feels (TOO MANY FEELS!), I enjoyed my time with hipster girl and her wacky time-traveling adventures, and would love to see a second season, perhaps focusing on a new power. If you’ve been reading my reviews of the previous episodes and wondering whether this game is worth the purchase, I would definitely say that it’s worth the money, especially if you enjoy high school dramas, magical realism, or can appreciate stories about strong friendships between ladies.

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