The last time we took control of Max Caulfield, we helped her become a hero, although she doesn’t see it that way. Those around her do, however, and hail her as one throughout DONTNOD’s follow-up, Life is Strange: Episode 3 – Chaos Theory. It’s deserved recognition, given that our time-travelling heroine managed to stop a peer from taking her own life, but there’s also something to be said about modesty.
The third episode of Life is Strange begins just hours after the second one ended. An eclipse is in full swing, the entirety of Blackwell Academy remains in shock, and Max is drained after almost sickening herself due to overuse of her powers; so much so, in fact, that she’s passed out on her computer desk.
Despite her exhausted state, a small chime from a text message manages to wake our hero up not long after curfew has started. It’s from her friend Chloe, as per usual, and urges her to come outside and meet up for some unknown activity. Of course, Max obliges, but getting to where her friend awaits will require some stealthy avoidance, especially when a drunken principal is thrown into the mix. Along the way, though, peers must be talked to and comforted, and Kate’s momentarily displaced bunny rabbit should be fed.
Unsurprisingly, Chloe is up to no good, having stolen her stepfather’s keys to the school. Her plan is to use them for devious purposes, by breaking into the principal’s office in order to see what he knows and isn’t sharing. If he knows anything else, that is. After all, the girls are still on the case of Rachel Amber’s disappearance, and are also wondering why Kate Marsh was being harassed prior to her suicide attempt. Then, there’s the rich kid whose decision to bring a gun to school helped Max learn of her time-rewinding ability. Is the school head hiding any new information pertaining to him?
In fact, the majority of Chaos Theory‘s two-or-so hour-long runtime is made up of criminal activity involving Max and her bestie. There’s the aforementioned sleuthing, another on-campus break and enter and even a dangerous trip to a drug dealer’s lair. Hell, even Chloe’s “Step-Douche” isn’t left unharmed.
This is, arguably, the slowest episode of Life is Strange thus far – at least, as far as its first two thirds are concerned. Things do pick up and become memorable later on, but it definitely takes a while to get there. When it does though, things really begin to get serious. I won’t say much to avoid spoilers, but I will let you know to expect an advancement in Max’s time travelling powers. One that could shake up this entire game and take it places we never expected, especially if this episode’s shock ending creates a new norm.
Needless to say, this is a potential game changer, which leaves me unsure of what to expect from Episode 4. The developers really throw us a curveball here, and do a great job of creating a great cliffhanger ending that will leave us all thinking. Also, when you add-in the episode’s life-changing moral choice (which appears just prior to its concluding scene), things become even more thought-provoking.
In addition to all of its criminal activity, moral choices and game-changing surprises, Life is Strange: Episode 3 – Chaos Theory also features everything else we’ve come to expect. Things like hidden photo opportunities, realistic-feeling text messages from family and friends, and journal entries; not to mention hints at potential wrongdoings by Blackwell’s faculty. It’s a typical day in Max Caulfield’s new life.
All that’s left to say is that, while it starts off slowly and takes its time building towards something poignant, Life is Strange‘s third episode is a no-brainer. It may not be a masterpiece, or a ten bell release, but once things really kick into gear, it ends up becoming unforgettable.
This review is based on the Xbox One version of the game, which we were provided with.
Although it plods along for quite a while, Life is Strange: Episode 3 - Chaos Theory culminates with game-changing activity. As such, those who've invested themselves into this storyline won't want to miss it.