LIFE IS STRANGE
Episode Four: Dark Room
Developed by DONTNOD ENTERTAINMENT
Published by Square Enix
PC Steam Review
Also available on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One
Picking up where Episode 3 left off, Life Is Strange: Dark Room sees Max face-to-face with the results of her time-meddling. After seeing how distraught her best friend Chloe had become after the loss of her father and how her life had become troubled with the appearance of step-father David, Max managed to use her time-rewinding ability to return back to their childhood and alter the course of events so that Chloe’s dad William never got into the car in which he had his fatal accident. Max expected everything to be rosy in the alternate future but the reality is anything but as she discovers Chloe is permanently disabled after a car crash of her own. Max must set the events straight once more if she is to find missing schoolgirl Amber Rachel and also find out what poisonous student Nathan Prescott is up to ahead of the End of the World Vortex Club party.
Life Is Strange: Dark Room is the strongest and most intense episode yet in the five-part game series. Whilst the choice to use Max’s rewind ability is pretty much linear with less decisions open to you to time travel and fix, there’s plenty of beefy plot to suck you into Arcadia Bay and discover just what the hell is going on. The strange weather seems to be at an all time high as Max and Chloe near the truth of missing schoolgirl Rachel Amber with whales beaching themselves and an appearance of a double moon. Without a doubt, strange things are afoot at Arcadia Bay but as Max and Chloes find out, there’s some downright sinister ones too.
Previous episodes may have contained filler but Life Is Strange: Dark Room seems to have concentrated purely on story. The segment that involves Max going back in time to save Chloe’s dad William only to fuck up Chloe’s life does feel a bit unnecessary but I suppose it’s there to show that not everything can be fixed by rewinding time with that old Butterfly Effect very much applicable in Max’s world as it is ours. Sometimes the time rewind ability can aid Max’s quest but not solve it completely.
Emotion runs very high in this fourth episode but, as always, it’s best to use Max’s conversation skills to find out information about slimeball Nathan Prescott, a troublesome student who Max has got suspended. The majority of the episode involves finding clues and details and putting them together to find out where Nathan was on the day of the Vortex Club party where fellow student Kate was drugged, something which later led to her committing suicide.
Although the dialogue is a bit stale and the conversations a little too lengthy, Life Is Strange: Dark Room really does pack an emotional punch that is worth playing through and experiencing. The episode even feels a little longer than usual at around 2.5 hours long, but that might be because there’s so much that is packed into it to set it up for the gripping finale. And boy, do they leave the episode on a cliffhanger!
I’m looking forward to where the final episode, available now, will take the story and whether good will truly triumph evil.