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Life is Strange finale worth the journey

Dec 10, 2015

By Alexander Cattani - G4 Canada

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Life is Strange Episode 5: PolarizedLife is Strange, the five part episodic adventure from Dontnod entertainment has finally reached its long awaited conclusion. Fans who’ve stuck with the game have waited with baited breath for its rather overdue finale. From the get-go, Life is Strange went in a different direction. Themes within its narrative were unique and challenged conventional story telling found in most modern titles. While a commendable creative decision, in doing so, it forfeited any chance of mainstream status. Its a-typical story was a breath of fresh air and resonated deeply with a certain crowd of gamers. As each episode released, the game’s cult following grew and grew. 

Life is Strange Episode 5: PolarizedNow, Max Caulfield’s’ emotionally strenuous tale of confusion, angst, tragedy, and heroism has finally reached its climax. 

The fifth and final episode of Life is Strange entitled “Polarized”, sees Max faced with some of the series most significant trials yet. Trials much more dismal than the inane classroom dramatics seen at the start of the season. Episode Five leans heavily into the multiple timeline side of things, and what happens when seemingly small decisions made in the past result in huge ramifications In the future.  Max quite literally holds time in her hands, as well as the fate of Arcadia Bay. 

Life is Strange Episode 5: Polarized“Polarized” is by far most straightforward episode in terms of both gameplay and exploration. You won’t be navigating new areas of Arcadia Bay in the finale, instead, you will be shuffled along with haste and presented with a series of set pieces and flashbacks. 
I found this to be jarring and inconsistent, especially in contrast with the rest of the seasons overall pace. It was if the Dontnod crammed two episodes worth of exposition into one. 

Furthermore, the hands off nature of the whole episode left something to be desired. Thankfully, towards the middle of the episode some fun, albeit extremely brief puzzles appear to remind you that you’re still playing a video game. 

Life is Strange Episode 5: PolarizedThe final ultimatum presented at the climax is every bit as gruelling as expected. With this said, the clear choice is pretty obvious. This is made even more apparent after viewing both possible endings. One of the two endings is undoubtedly the one Dontnot entertainment put more effort into. The other, feels like a brief “what if” cut scene thrown in for the sake of have multiple choices. 

Episode Five ended with me feeling slightly disappointed due to its abrupt pacing and unambiguous ending choices but as I reflected on the season as a whole, I had realized that the true satisfaction that I had taken from Life is Strange was the journey, rather than the destination. As odd as it sounds, getting to know the students of Blackwell academy, gossiping amongst my peers, melding broken friendships and trying to make sense of Max’s divine ability was amply more satisfying than manipulating the fabric of time. While the series in no way flawless, it is without a doubt special.

 

Life is Strange Episode 5: Polarized Life is Strange Episode 5: Polarized
Format: PlayStation 4
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Dontnod Entertainment
ESRB Rating: M for Mature (17+)
Official Site: http://lifeisstrange.com/

Rating: 7 / 10

 
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About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.