The first Life is Strange made its mark for showcasing the hardships of life and the parts about us we often hide from the world. The developers’ courage to pursue topics like grief and depression authentically is what made the series so special. Before the Storm continues to be brave and bold, presenting difficult situations similar to those we saw in the original. This prequel gives new insight into Chloe, showing her gaining confidence while she struggles with the loss of her father. With Rachel, a character we only heard about in the first game, we now know what was so unique about their connection and have plenty of their moments to cherish.
The tale takes place two years after the death of Chloe's father (and three years before she reconnects with Max). Chloe is testing her boundaries, sneaking out to concerts, and ditching school. It may be a cry for help, but it’s also the best way she can deal with her grief. Enter Rachel, a girl who seems like she has everything: She’s popular, gets good grades, and has an ever-present aura of confidence.
The girls find each other at a time when they desperately need someone else to understand their struggles, and it’s a great reminder of how listening to someone can go a long way. Before the Storm’s biggest accomplishment is how Deck Nine developed one of the most genuine relationships I’ve seen displayed between two women in a video game. Since this was only a three-part arc, some episodes seem rushed (especially the finale), but Deck Nine creates a bond and makes you care for Chloe and Rachel as individuals and a pair. The writers also offer plenty of moments to accentuate their connection, from Chloe and Rachel’s performance in a play to Rachel’s disastrous family dinner with only Chloe there to help her pick up the pieces.
After knowing each other for only a few days, Chloe and Rachel’s relationship progresses at an accelerated rate, but the chemistry is there from the beginning so it doesn’t feel completely out of left field. (Please visit the site to view this media) I also wish we saw more about how they had their falling out from the first game, and how Rachel eventually gets involved with Frank, but I’m also okay that the writers chose to showcase the early blossoming of this beautiful friendship. Before the Storm makes me feel for Chloe more than I ever did, and I now care about Rachel, who was merely an ephemeral, missing girl in the original Life is Strange. The bulk of the game centers on dialogue choices and some simple puzzles, where you locate items in the environment and put them to use.
This mechanic feels out of place in some instances, as her reactions are so over-the-top, but it becomes toned down as the story goes on. Unlike Max, Chloe doesn’t have supernatural rewind powers, so Before the Storm is grounded in reality. This forces you to own your choices, for better or worse. Your decisions may not completely alter the narrative, but you get little callbacks that make them satisfying, like another round of D&D or seeing that stealing wine actually turned out to be a good thing.
The game doesn’t judge you for this choice, but it says a lot about your vision for Chloe’s character and her relationship with Rachel. Before the Storm made me care about Chloe and Rachel, giving me backstory into both of their lives before Max comes back. The journey is bittersweet, knowing the tragic events from the first game for both characters. As a prequel, Before the Storm succeeds because it tells its own story that leaves you content, while also connecting to the original game in a meaningful way.
Bonus Episode: Farewell Fans who purchased the deluxe edition were treated to a bonus episode with Chloe and Max’s original voice actresses. This story is told from Max’s point of view, right before she tells Chloe her family is moving. The two live out their childhood once more together, playing pirates and reminiscing about their friendship, like when Chloe got into magic tricks and they both loved boy bands. Sadly, their lives take drastic turns, forcing them to grow up in different ways.
March 07, 2018 | Source: Gameinformer