The moments when Life is Strange leaves me asking myself “how did things get so crazy?” are when it shines brightest, and Life is Strange 2 Episode 3 knows this well. It takes the story to worthwhile extremes in its final 20 minutes, but getting there means wading through a new cast of side characters I don’t feel connected to, overly conservative gameplay choices, inauthentic conflicts, and romances that lack any real spark.
The episode begins on a high point by taking things back to the Diaz house months before “the incident” that occurred in Episode 1. When On Melancholy Hill plays through Sean’s headphones as the camera pans across the simple comforts he lost it reminded me what Life is Strange as a series aims to accomplish: creating moments of thoughtfulness and appreciation for the mundane. But out in the California wilderness, I’m slightly detached from this new cast of characters and there’s no amount of alt-rock that can bring me back.