The fourth episode of Life Is Strange, entitled Dark Room, was released early this week. It was supposed to be released sometime during the middle of July but was pushed back until the last week of the month. I was wondering if was going to be worth the wait. I’ve been having a blast with Life Is Strange as a whole and I was wondering how they were going to start Episode 4, especially with the shocking cliffhanger of Episode 3.
Well, I played Dark Room and, wow, it looks like things are starting to pay off!
As with my previous reviews of the earlier episodes of the series, I will make this review a SPOILER FREE review. That’s because I love you guys and gals so much!
Anyway, Episode 4: Dark Room starts off immediately where Episode 3: Chaos Theory ended. Max Caulfield has to deal with Chloe Price’s new situation, which she indirectly caused. But once that’s taken cared of, it’s back to trying to find what happened to Rachel Amber as well as the problems facing Blackwell Academy and the whole of Arcadia Bay.
This is actually the longest episode of Life Is Strange. I started playing the game at around 12:30 AM and finished at 5 in the morning! The entire episode is roughly 4 and a half hours long! Normally, I would say that would be a good thing; more game means a better experience, right? But, in this case, I felt like it dragged its feet! But, for the life of me, I can’t figure out anything they could’ve cut out from the entire episode.
Oh, wait… there is.
Way back when I reviewed Episode 3, I mentioned the cliffhanger twist it had. Well, they totally squandered it! The cliffhanger ending of the previous episode is rendered moot pretty quickly. To their credit, the people at Dontnot put a lot of effort in trying to make the entire sequence seem significant but you’re not given a huge amount of time to really fully explore this part of the game. This part felt tacked on and made Episode 3’s ending utterly unnecessary.
Dark Room, however, finally makes you feel the choices you’ve been making actually have some meaning. The people of Blackwell Academy and the whole of Arcadia with react differently to Max and Chole depending on the choices you made in previous episodes. If you were mean to a certain person or hurt them, you may have much more difficulty getting their cooperation this time around!
Speaking of which, I actually have a problem with the writing of the choices this time. While they were always rather vague since they are just short phrases, this is the first time I honestly felt I made the right choice but didn’t get the desired reaction from Max. I was extremely upset when this happened that I reloaded the game from the last checkpoint! I knew I could’ve rewound time to get back to that point and make the right choice but… I didn’t feel like I made a mistake! I do hope this is the only instance this happens, though.
It is kind of disappointing that, once again, the time travel mechanic takes a back seat once again but at least the puzzles this time around are some of the best ones so far. There’s one part in Dark Room where you actually *gasp* do some real investigative work! This time around, you put together all the clues you’ve collected and make some solid progress on attempting to find out what happened to Rachel Amber! The puzzles can be solved through pure logic, which is always a good thing!
I do have to say the writing is actually pretty good in this episode. The dialogue does sound kind of klunky at times and, like I said, some of the choices could’ve been worded better. But the way they present each scene is well done. An example would be the titular Dark Room. They never hit you over the head or outright say what happened in that room. But, because they give you a lot of visual clues, you can easily fill in the gaps with your imagination with the answer.
Would I say Episode 4: Dark Room is the best Life Is Strange chapter? Not quite; I would say the Episode 1: Chrysalis still beats it out since the story was much tighter there. It’s definitely the most emotional chapter yet. And, once again, they end the episode with a pretty awesome cliffhanger. I sure hope they don’t spoil it when Episode 5: Polarized is released at the end of August!
Have you played Life Is Strange: Episode 4: Dark Room? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!