Developed by: Dontnod Entertainment Published by: Square-Enix Reviewed on: Xbox 360 (also available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PC)
The first 30 minutes of this episode has a very slow, incredibly somber tone as you play through it. It starts just minutes after where Episode 3 had ended: inside of an alternate timeline that Max had inadvertently created with her powers. As Max spent her day noting the many differences between the true timeline and the alternate timeline, that part of the game concludes by creating one of the hardest choices in the entire game. I personally spent forever trying to make a decision before finally continuing with the game.
After struggling with that choice and making my way back to the original time line, the investigation to the events around Arcadia Bay and the disappearance of Rachel Amber makes incredible headway. Max and Chloe take every bit of information you may have gathered from the previous episodes and finally put it all together to uncover a major truth. Several other side stories that weren’t really part of the main plot points conclude in this episode. However the stinger in the final minute of the game was so mind blowing that it only raises more questions and keeps you eagerly waiting for Episode 5 to be released, especially since there’s less than 24 hours left until the hurricane from the beginning of Episode 1 reaches Arcadia Bay.
There’s still much of the same old walking around and performing fetch quests every so often with the occasional, “solve the puzzle to get the item” mission. My favorite part in this episode is where you take all of the clues you snagged from the investigation across all four current episodes, post them all up on a board and the player has to deduce and decipher what you know so far. It wasn’t terribly hard to get to the conclusion of the puzzle, but you do need to pay attention to the details before you can see the answer since the game will block you from progressing until you manage to pick the right combination of clues. The game is still heavily story based, but you are doing more than just choosing different dialogue options for a couple of hours and there are moderately challenging puzzles from time to time.
Graphically, there seemed to be tons of screen tearing. Every time there was a screen transition, if it the screen moved too quickly, or during a flashing light, it got so bad it could’ve been noticed by anyone who aren’t normally aware of video issues like that. The game itself doesn’t struggle to run and suffer from any audio issues, but the tearing was just awful in this episode.
Also, Episode 4 felt like that it ran much longer than any of the previous episodes, which is actually good since they were able to put so much into it, but I’m a little worried that the final episode will feel rushed and short by comparison. Especially since it felt like they put a great amount of work into this episode. But I am still hopeful because since they so much in this episode, maybe Episode 5 will get tons of story and events put in, too. Either way, Episode 5 will have a lot to live up to after Episode 4.
This has been the best Life is Strange episode so far. After bringing me in and making me questions my moral choices the way this episode has, the percentages revealed at the end of this particular episode show what other players had done when they played this game. This episode was monumental. One of the decisions was an even 50-50 split. Now is a great time to get into Life is Strange if you haven’t yet, but the only problem with getting into it now would be that there’s a good chance that you’ll be as anxious for the final episode to be released as I am.