After learning a new way to manipulate time in the previous episode, Max and her friend Chloe (who is now aware of her abilities) set about figuring out exactly what has happened to the latter’s former best friend. However, their journey towards the truth will reveal startling facts and have serious repercussions for both girls and their hometown of Arcadia.
The majority of Life is Strange – Episode Three: Chaos Theory has Max and Chloe searching various places for clues about where Rachel Amber is and what information the principal and Chloe’s dad have on Amber and the students of Blackwell Academy. This episode doesn’t rely on time manipulation as much as the last two episodes and is more focused on exploring Rachel and Chloe’s lives. We also get to learn more about Dave, Chloe’s stepfather and what he’s been up to as far as stalking certain students.
One of the key subplots of this episode has to do with the students dealing with Kate Marsh’s attempted suicide which Max intervened in. No matter if Kate lives or not, this was an event that shook the students and therefore was always in the background of this episode. What this served to show was that Max has the ability to alter things in a truly drastic way. It was a sign to the players that Max was just now fully discovering what she could do… as we would soon discover later.
The big twist of this episode comes at the end where Max is able to go back five years into her own past self. After learning that Chloe’s life “went to shit” after her biological father died, Max stared at an old picture of herself and Chloe which was taken just before the tragic loss. This allows her to go back into the past and gives her a chance to change Chloe’s life. She changes the past but learns that not all is what she expected upon her return to the present.
This plot twist was a welcome one as this episode and the previous one were becoming a tad boring and predictable. While Chloe ending up paralyzed in the altered present was somewhat predictable as well, it was still a nice change of pace from what was becoming ho-hum. The question now is: does Max change things to how they were originally or leave Chloe in her current state? Chloe may be paralyzed but she does seem happier than she was in the original timeline. Does Max take that away from Chloe if she truly is happy?
There is also the matter of the tornado to deal with. This episode didn’t touch on it too much but it did present another intriguing mystery. Animals are now turning up dead and in pairs of three. Max first sees three dead birds in Chloe’s backyard and then sees three beached whales by the shore. There is no doubt that these events, along with the tornado, the freak snowfall and the unexpected eclipse, are all related. It may also be safe to assume that Max and her powers have something to do with it. After all, you don’t mess with the fabric of the universe without expecting some consequences.
Though most of Life is Strange – Episode Three felt a bit on the dry and dull side, the ending more than made up for it. The next episode will most likely give us a better glimpse of the new world Max created and will probably have her wrestling with whether or not she should change things to how they were, despite the state her friend is in. There is still the missing Rachel Amber, and several other plot threads that need to be wrapped up in the next two episodes. I suspect things will be anything but boring from here on out.
This review of Life is Strange – Episode Three: Chaos Theory is based on a digital review copy for the PlayStation 4 provided by Square-Enix.