Review Life is Strange – Episode 5: Polarized

Written by Twisted Ideas

Life Is Strange™_20151020194640

It has been a better part of a year since we’ve met Max, Chloe and the residents of Arcadia bay. For Max, this has been the longest week of her life. Life is Strange – Episode 5: Polarized will be the end to this story. How it ends and how you get there will be to you.

Life is Strange – Episode 5: Polarized

Developer: Dontnod Entertainment

Publisher: Square-Enix

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

What do I think?

Wow, after a shaky start to the series, Dontnod really did it. Each episode has been raising the bar for this story to be more emotionally gripping than the last. After the massive cliffhanger in Episode 4, I didn’t know how the story would wrap up. It was obvious that you couldn’t make an entire episode based off of Dark Room’s cliffhanger, especially when you have the premonition rearing its ugly head. What I didn’t expect was how urgent and absolutely insane the whole episode was. All the small things that have been building up have come to a head, bringing the story full circle. This is the heaviest episode yet. It takes you on such a ride that you want to take every slow moment there is to calm yourself down. Polarized is the perfect end-cap to Life is Strange.

Life Is Strange™_20151020201016Forgot about all the dead animals and tornado warning, didn’t you?

Life is Strange started off as a (mostly) innocent story about high schools and minor time travel with the friendship between Max and Chloe being the focus. With Max’s power, she could influence the world around her in a way that other choice based adventure games couldn’t. Even if your choices ultimately didn’t influence the story, the final episode sure as hell made you remember them. This unique mechanic slowly becomes the story rather than it just being the game.

Life Is Strange™_20151020204413The remember what you did, do you?

The time travel mechanic really changes how the game is played compared to Telltale’s recent titles. Telltale’s games feel like you’re reacting to events that you have little control over. You feel like you might have control; you might reset your game to have more control over the story but you don’t. Life is Strange really makes you think about your choices and makes you live with the consequences, once you stop rewinding and changing things. The uncertainty of the future weighs heavy than split second decision that you’re openly criticized for.

It took about 9 months to tell this story and it was worth the wait. Dontnod made improvements in design as the months passed. They reduced the amount of aimless exploration and improved their story and greatly improved the dialogue. The left us on emotional highs and lows after each episode  leaving us on an emotional high with each passing episode after the first.

Should you get it?

Life is Strange really is an emotional roller coaster. It’s hard to really talk about this game because so much is worth experiencing for yourself. The season does start off rough with the cheesy teenage dialogue and the aimless feel episode one episode. However, this is a game with great characterization, attention to detail and an extremely powerful conclusion. Life is Strange may seem like a Telltale series but it has a different approach and can stand along with The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us as a great new age adventure game. I’ve been praising this game ever since the first episode till now. If you’re fan of this type of game then you must play Life is Strange.

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