Episode 2 released roughly two months ago, and since then I’ve been chomping at the bit to see what hilariously hipster references Max will make next. So how does Episode 3 compare when held against my reviews for episodes 1 and 2?
That’s right. Grunge Max is here. Let me just start off this review by saying that Episode 3 delivers some serious resolutions and continuing drama to many of the conflicts and relationships started in the previous episodes.
Since I’d like to keep these reviews spoiler-free, there isn’t much for me to say that hasn’t already been said, but I’ll do my best to give you a justification for its high rating.
Your relationship with Chloe takes a front spot to all others this time around, and you wind up spending most of your time with her. There’s actually a really amazing moment with Joyce (Chloe’s mother) that puts Chloe under a different lens. It’s easily one of the defining moments of the game thus far. It’s one thing for a game to make you root for a character, but another thing entirely to infuse doubt about that person’s character (or just whose side you should be on) via relationships with connecting characters. If nothing else, the writers at DONTNOD are masters of creating real and sympathetic people. While the epic conclusion of Episode 2 (regardless of how it turned out for you) was a climax of action, almost all of Episode 3 is a climax for deeper understanding of the characters you’ve been spending so much time with.
Now don’t get me wrong, Episode 3 isn’t all talk and no play. There’s plenty of power-using and running around like a maniac. The game even managed to stump me early on by requiring me to rewind a little further than I’m used to. Episode 3 also signals a shift in Max’s way of thinking. She begins to take advantage of her powers with, you guessed it, the constant nagging of Chloe to explore new ways and less savory methods of solving problems. Again, it’s a testament to DONTNOD’s ability to craft fascinating characters that I was often tempted to do as Chloe wanted. She’s a powerful presence in Max’s life.
Episode 3 is easily my favorite thus far and the ending left me on the edge of my seat with my hands in the air, furious that I couldn’t continue playing. The only negative for Episode 3 is that it was markedly shorter than episodes 1 and 2, clocking in at just under two hours (including my time scratching my head over the aforementioned rewind segment) which felt noticeably short. Apart from that, the two hours that I did play were packed full of heartfelt, jaw-clenching, teeth-grinding, awe-inspiring moments that I won’t soon forget.