Life is Strange: Episode 4 Review – Whoa! (PS4)

July 29, 2015 Written by Mark Labbe

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It wouldn’t be Life is Strange without some type of completely shocking and horrifying “whoa!” moment that have players leave feeling  simultaneously devastated and eager to jump into the next episode. The recently released fourth episode certainly delivers on those emotions, although it does have a few stumbles along the way.

Getting to the Bottom of It

I don’t think it would be wrong to say that Episode 4 – Dark Room is the most emotionally charged and intense episode of the bunch. The entire episode kept me in a near constant state of dread, excitement, stress, and jubilation, a combination that really isn’t all that easy to pull off, but it seems to fit this episode. There are several truly breathtaking moments, defined by a variety of disturbing events, incredible realizations, and heartwarming moments. This is one of the longer episodes of the bunch, which makes sense, considering it is the second to last episode in the season.

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And because it is the second to last episode, things are starting to wrap up. The various mysteries are beginning to come unraveled, and they are also starting to come together in an effort to make the different storylines form one, coherent story. The strange going-ons in Arcadia Bay are actually beginning to make sense, and seemingly disconnected characters are coming together. There is the theme of connection going on in the episode, foreshadowing an ending that will truly bring together the entire town of Arcadia Bay and all the seemingly disconnected mysteries and stories.

Disconnect

However, one thing seemed to really defy that theme connection – the dialogue. Perhaps it is because the different characters Max talks to now have so many past decisions to reference, or maybe it is because this episode just has so many different characters, but a sizable about of dialogue seems unnatural and disconnected. It seems like there are a lot more generic answers and responses to things rather than responses that actually would make sense follow what was said, leading to somewhat jarring dialogue. Compared to past episodes, where conversations felt fairly smooth and realistic, many of the conversations in Episode 4 felt a bit contrived.

Another thing that felt a bit contrived was the reactions different characters had to horrific or life-changing events. I know I’ve brought this up before in the reviews of some of the past episodes, but considering how pronounced it felt in this episodes, I figured I’d bring it up again. Maybe the entire town is just way too used to awful things happening, but the causal attitudes in the face of extreme danger, pain, or sadness seems completely out of place. And considering the immense amount of danger, pain, and sadness in this episode, the reactions felt very, very unnatural.

But, despite the occasional jarring conversations or the surprisingly calm reactions to horrific events, Life is Strange: Episode 4 is able to deliver some intense emotional blows, while at the same time begin to wrap up some key mysteries and keep the entire adventure highly exciting. This is one of the best episodes in the season, and it alone can be listed as a reason to buy Life is Strange if you haven’t already taken the plunge.


Review copy provided by publisher. For information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here.

8.5Silver Trohpy
  • Emotional and action-packed
  • Things are beginning to connect and wrap-up
  • Leaves you needing to play the last episode
  • Some dialogue seems disconnected
  • Reactions to horrific events are still too casual