Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Life Is Strange Episode 4: Dark Room Finished

Game: Life Is Strange Episode 4: Dark Room
Release Date: 2015
Platform: PC
Date Started: July 30, 2015
Date Finished: July 30, 2015

This is my favorite episode so far. It starts really melancholic but halfway through it gets really dark and turns into something like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo or True Detective. The episode is twice as long as the previous ones and it should take 3-6 hours to finish, depending on how much you explore. The first third of the story Max spends in the alternative timeline where she has to deal with consequences of time travel that made her best friend paralyzed. She witnesses Chloe's pain as well as her parents mental and financial struggle. Max and Chloe watch Blade Runner and talk about childhood memories before Max is faced with the hardest decision in her life. Getting back to the original timeline was a relief. I've heard some reviewer called it "cowardly and convenient cop-out" but I disagree. If anything, staying in the alternative universe would be a cop-out since that would make all your previous choices absolutely irrelevant. This way we get a nice window in "what if" alternate universe and see just how little control Max actually has over time and how her actions could unpredictably spiral out of control.

All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

Conversation with the drug dealer Frank is the highlight of the season for me because that scene shows just how much the choices you made in previous episodes affect the situation. And there are so many factors that can change. Did you let Frank take David's gun? Did you steal the money from the handicapped fund? Did you talk with Nathan about Frank? Did you ask the cop about Frank? How did you deal with Frank's dog? Did you find the gun in Frank's RV? Did you let Warren beat up Nathan? All these choices add up to the complex algorithm. And of course, the way you handled the situation with Frank in this episode will probably have consequences in the finale.

Once you get a client list from Frank, you have to connect it with other clues in the best puzzle in the game. They really stepped it up with this one. When I saw the complex detective board I was like "oh no, this will take a while" as I just wanted to move on with the story but it didn't take long and I found myself in a full detective mode focusing on every detail. The puzzle isn't very difficult but you will have to think about it and solving it will feels very rewarding, especially cracking the phone code. 

It's been a while since a game made me take notes. Writing the numbers down came really handy later on. btw I didn't write dog names for the puzzle, I just wanted to know who bought what drugs

After that the game takes a dark turn as we get to visit some creepy locations and uncover disturbing secret. Ashly Burch again delivers a heartbreaking performance during the emotionally intense scenes but I feel like all of the actors stepped up their game for this episode. Leading up to this episode I was under impression that the end of the world party will be the setup for the big finale but nothing huge happened there. The ending didn't really shock me. 

Collectible photos and my episode 4 choices 

+ twice as long as other episodes
+ choices and consequences
+ detective board puzzle
+ emotional roller coaster

- lip syncing is still an issue


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