Life is Strange – Episode 5 – Polarized Review (PS4)

After episode 4, which I have to say I’ve been calling who was the main villain since episode 1, revealed who the actual “bad guy” was, I was so eager to jump into episode 5. I just had to see what happened and how Max was going to fix everything or how she was going to make everything even worse then what it turned out to be. Did the last episode make the game as a whole worth it? Keep reading to find out.

Episode 5 picks up right where 4 left off. The villain is revealed and Max is now locked up in the Dark Room. Without having the ability to rewind time she has to find another way out of there fast because like Rachel Ambers and a few other main characters, she’s going to be the next to die. Without her rewind power she’s going to have to use the pictures scattered about to go back in time and mess with things even more. Turns out that all of this time jumping and time “fixing” is what’s causing the crazy weather in Arcadia Bay meaning that this big ass tornado that’s heading for the town was created by Max. Mind Blown. Max will figure out that saving Chloe in the first episode and all of the decisions she made afterwards altered time just a bit too much and in the end it will be up to Max to decide if it was even worth saving Chloe to begin with. Needless to say, a lot happens in this episode with Max being kidnapped and it seems like every single thing she goes back and changes only leads to more disaster.

I absolutely loved this episode and was glued to my TV the entire time as I wanted to see what happened next. Do one thing and something bad happens, do another thing and something even worse happens. There’s a lot of rewinding and going back and forth in time to try to fix things that Max actually messed up in the first place. The last decision in the game was the hardest decision that I’ve ever had to make in any of these episodic games combined. I liked how in the end, Chloe kind of grows up knowing that all of this is happening because of Max’s need to save her for whatever reason. Is she saving her out of guilt because she wasn’t there for Chloe when her father died? Is she saving her because she’s actually in love with her? Or is she saving her because Chloe is really the only friend that she’s ever known? Things can play out a lot of ways and that’s what’s so great about this game. While there were still some unanswered questions by the time the credits rolled, I was satisfied with how the game ended and I’m really hoping that this series will continue.

Playability wise, there were a couple of things I could have done without this episode. There is this one big scene grouped together where Max passes out on the way to the lighthouse and you are navigating Max through this in between universe type of area. The whole area is dark and it depends on you moving without being detected. This means a lot of rewinding coupled with the fact that the area is just too dark and you basically are blindly walking through this area. At times this was frustrating and took away from the episode just a little bit. Then the navigating through the storm itself and trying to save as many people as possible had the same problems since the area was really dark and not much could be seen. I understand that this was supposed to be an utter chaos scene, but I just think it could have played out a little better or had been easier to navigate through. Other than that everything ran smoothly. At the end of episode 5 I’m happy to say that there were no bugs or glitches that came with this game. Everything played out and ran as it should

Graphics wise, this episode was the same as the previous 4. I thought the graphics were pretty stellar throughout the game as a whole and I just had a few problems with some of the characters looking a little cartoony while everything else had a more realistic look to them. Other than that this was a worthy PS4 title that was optimized for a great playing experience.

There are another 12 trophies for this episode and if you’ve been getting all of the optional photos for each episode, by the end of this episode you should have yourself a new platinum trophy. I found that these optional pictures were a little harder this time around and there are a few that you might miss during your first playthough. If you pay attention and basically do as much as possible you should be able to get all of them without a problem. If not you can always go back.

This episode, like all previous episodes is a strictly one person experience. Although if you have a buddy or significant other who wants to sit and watch you play that could be enjoyable as well.

Overall I give this episode a 4.5 out of 5

What’s Great:
+ Solid ending to a game that will hopefully either have a direct sequel to tie up some loose ends or just another predecessor.
+ Major character developments, especially from Chloe.
+ Twists and turns that you might or might not see coming, either way they keep the episode interesting.
+ Even though the game as a whole has been a tear jerker, this episode takes the emotional cake and I would strongly suggest keeping some extra tissues near-by.

What’s Not So Great:
I hate having to say that there was something wrong with this episode and take some points away because I really did love it, but the wandering around in the dark was not appealing and I wasted way too much time getting caught and having to rewind or just getting plain lost.

Overall I thought this game as a whole was amazing. The story was deep as were the main characters and the supporting cast of characters. I would definitely say that this is one of those games that you should have in your gaming log just to say that you experienced it. I’m seriously glad that I did not pass this one up and I’m excited to see what DontNod can do in the future.

SPOILERS! Below are my choices from the fifth episode.

Life is StrangeLife is Strange

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