Episode five of Life Is Strange is a culmination of what I love about the game and also the grievances I’ve had with its later episodes. The best things about Life Is Strange, its focus on one friendship, the characters of Max and Chloe, the strange dialogue steeped in pop culture and the seriousness with which it regards violence are all present or even more pronounced here. Unfortunately, so are the game’s frustrating digressions and its overreliance on exposition via dialogue (made worse since it’s the villain explaining his evil plan). This episode ends unsatisfactorily after a few unfocused sections which often appear to be padding out length.
This post contains plot spoilers for Life Is Strange up to and including episode four.
Guns have a very special place in Life Is Strange. They’re not commonplace, as is the case in most games, nor are they merely functional, disposable tools. Rather, the few guns which appear in Life Is Strange are lethal and terrifying; immediately after the game begins you’ll be keeping mental, if not physical, notes of who has which gun. Because the world of Life Is Strange is roughly speaking the real world, characters have the rare luxury of having feelings about guns and who should have them. A key feature of Life Is Strange is the ability to rewind time and redo decisions: one of the main reasons I used it was to change who would end up with a particular weapon in a scene. Since Life Is Strange is a game less about beating your opponents and more about negotiation, I did this as often to take guns away from my friends as to deny them to enemies. Max, the protagonist in Life Is Strange, becomes entangled in dangerous scenarios with increasingly regularly in later episodes of the game. In these moments, guns are an unpredictable ‘nuclear option’ for characters who are either unstable or annoyed enough at Max. By the second episode, almost everyone will agree with her that “guns make me uncomfortable.”