After much agonizing wait, fans now are frantically downloading the final episode in Dontnod’s dramatic season of Life is Strange—or at least I know I am. As many might remember, somewhat painfully perhaps, Episode 4: Dark Room, closed on a cliffhanger, leaving many on the edge of their seats. The fifth installment “Polarized” was released October 20th for digital download on a plethora of platforms (PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, as well as Steam), making the game’s addicting story easily accessible. From the get go, the series has received the gaming equivalent of a standing ovation, with critics praising everything from the game’s rich, hand painted graphics, its unique soundtrack, to the expertly woven narrative. Players became engrossed in the world of Arcadia Bay, Oregon, with its golden autumn feel mixed with the ominous storm looming closer and closer, subconsciously reminding players of the impending doom of bending time at their will.
Consistently stressing the importance of choice in the story, developers went out of their way to both reward and punish players with main character Max’s ability to rewind time. While players use this power at their own digression, the choices made tend to come back and bite you in the proverbial ass as Max’s world spirals out of control in this last episode. Things become more surreal than ever, with everything from texts from dogs, uncomfortable cut scenes, and bizarre dialogue choices, and the game begins to resemble less of an adventure, and more of a horror game.
Major complaints with “Polarized” center around one aspect, a stealth section, but it appears to be a expanding vortex everyone agrees upon. Reviewer such as Brenna Hill over at VG247 throws some shade, during an otherwise glowing recommendation, calling the sneak element “pretty balls” while Patricia Hernandez with Kotaku laments it as “a real chore to play.” However, with every other aspect of “Polarized” receiving so much acclaim, this appears to be the only black spot on the episode’s record.
Dontnod, overall, delivered an emotionally wrecking conclusion to their nonstop, nail biting series, sure to leave many players transfixed with the gripping competition of Max’s dramatic journey. The entire season is now available for download for $19.99 (individual episodes still selling at $4.99), and combined with the amount of platforms it can perform on–PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows–there is no excuse not to buy it. Go ahead, you know you want to.