More heartwrenching than episode one, Life is Strange: Before the Storm Episode 2 doesn’t fail to deliver the drama.
So, if you read the review of the first episode, or if you’ve played the game (which you totally SHOULD be playing), you know how Deck Nine and Square Enix absolutely delivered everything we loved about the first game. From passionate characters, love interests, family turmoil, and more drama than any CW teen drama could achieve, Before the Storm is turning out to be just as an amazing of a story as its predecessor.
Prepare yourself for major spoilers. Turn back now to avoid. You have been warned.
Episode 2 of Before the Storm picks up right where the last one left off. The whole episode actually only takes place over twelve hours of in-game time, and takes about 4-6 hours to complete, depending on how you play. But these twelve hours, whoa buddy. They’re not playing around.
It jumps into major decisions immediately, hardly even preparing the player for what’s about to happen. If you played the first game, you already know Chloe is expelled from Blackwell. The first scene of the episode depicts how that plays out, of course depending on the choices you’ve made. The drama doesn’t end there however, because once you’re in the parking lot, there’s more provocation from Joyce and David. David eventually announces he’s going to move in with them. Of course, Chloe is steamed so she goes back to her haven, the junkyard.
And this is where it starts to get amazing. You create more of a relationship with Rachel as you navigate the game and dialog options. The trusty back-talk ability doesn’t ever seem to fail, but that could just be me. I love it so I use it every time I can in one of my play-throughs. Rachel and Chloe’s feelings toward each other become much more obvious, as if it wasn’t already screaming at us. Although some of the fetch quests and mechanics carried over from the first Life is Strange feel forced and dull, the interactions between most of the characters more than make up for it.
Of course, I did find myself attempting to rush some parts of the game to get to other parts. Most things outside of Chloe and Rachel’s relationship feels a bit stagnant and underutilized. The tumultuous relationship with her parents plays a big role in Chloe’s life and there are many decision-making factors within those scenes. However, the way they play out is predictable and once again left me saying, “Yada yada, get back to Rachel.”
Despite those less exhilarating moments, I couldn’t stop playing.
It was amusing and offered some of the sweetest moments I’d ever seen from a video game. My favorite part of the episode, which is definitely a fan favorite, is when Chloe is pressured into taking over the role of Ariel in The Tempest. Depending on the decisions you’ve made up until that point, the dialog will be different than what it is in the actual play. In my favorite version, Rachel changes the dialog making Ariel (Chloe) promise to stay with Prospera (Rachel) forever. Not exactly Shakespearean, the play dissolves into a romantic moment that left me cheering and then crying because of Rachel’s ultimate fate.
Nearly the entire episode consists of the girls speaking and planning leave Arcadia Bay. After the play, they’re walking down the street at night, planning an escape. They decided to leave that night in Chloe’s newly renovated junkyard truck and head to Rachel’s house to grab clothes and the like. However, they’re stopped by her parents who convince Chloe to stay for dinner. And this dinner isn’t a happy affair. You get a further peek into Rachel’s mysterious background and things are not pretty, to say the least.
The girls don’t end up escaping together at the time the episode ends. Everything in me is rooting that they do, that it’s Chloe and Rachel forever, even if we all know that’s not how it ends. Regardless, I can’t wait to play the last episode of the season to see how it concludes.
Episode 3 is still to be announced.