Life is Strange Episode 3: Chaos Theory Review

What a twist!

Now three episodes through Dontnod's episodic adventure Life is Strange, it's hard to talk too much about the events in Episode 3: Chaos Theory without spoiling too much from the past. As expected, the episode picks up directly after the shocking moments of Episode 2: Out of Time which, depending on your decisions, could have ended drastically different for you than me. Because of that, the Max and Chloe relationship you're witnessing could be totally different than mine. And honestly, so far that's one of my favorite aspects of Life is Strange — that the decisions and choices you make are having a direct, noticeable impact on the story unfolding.
Episode 3 has much more of a "game" feel to it, as Max and her childhood best friend Chloe attempt to solve the mystery of Arcadia Bay while continuing their investigation into the disappearance of Rachel Amber. Though none of your questions are really answered in the episode, much of the episode is dedicated to driving the storyline forward. To do so, Episode 3 has you play through a number of repetitive puzzles and fetch quests similar to the ones we played in Episode 2 — quests like searching for the materials to make a pipe bomb or finding the ingredients to make pancakes.
By no means are these quests exciting from a gameplay perspective, but they serve a much more important purpose — providing all sorts of background details and information on the town of Arcadia Bay and its citizens. It's through this repetitive searching that you uncover all sorts of details about the characters you've been interacting with, and interestingly enough the things you discover might change the way you view certain characters.
Life is Strange Episode 3
Beyond the fetch quests, there are a few sequences where you must make use of Max's rewind powers. Like in the past, the decisions you make will directly impact your story. Though you are able to rewind the sequences to see the immediate reaction to your response, the overall impact of your choice isn't immediately made clear in the episode. Having said that, I found myself very rarely rewinding — which is either a sign that I'm confident in my choices and the type of Max I'm playing as, or the luster of the mechanic is wearing off.
More than halfway through the five planned episodes, you'd expect things to start making sense in the mysterious town of Arcadia Bay. Though the episode certainly takes steps in driving the story forward, Dontnod throws a complete twist into the story at the end of Chaos Theory when it's revealed that Max can travel even further back in time. Through her actions, she completely alters the course of history, essentially creating an alternate universe culminating in a revelation that had my jaw on the floor.
With just two episodes remaining in Life is Strange (at least the first season), I'm more lost than ever; but, it's a good lost. Though not without risks, introducing this new wrinkle in Max's powers has left me both heartbroken and ecstatic for Episode 4.Lill