Before the storm that wrecks Arcadia Bay, two teenage girls begin a journey of life and love both driven by the same consuming need: freedom.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm is a prequel to the immensely popular Life is Strange. A decision based, highly narrative, story driven game, Before the Storm follows Chloe Price, an intensely sarcastic rebellious teen, and her relationship with the most popular girl in school, Rachel Amber. The game is developed by Deck Nine (formerly Idol Minds) and is published by Square Enix (Final Fantasy, Tomb Raider). The first episode was released August 31st, with two more episodes to be announced later on.
I bought the deluxe edition the day the first episode premiered. I finished it once that day and then twice more for good measure because of course I did. Why do anything halfway? It absolutely did not disappoint. I feared that since the story lacked Max Caulfield and her awesome rewind power, that it might be lackluster and mediocre in comparison to the first. To me, it absolutely held up, even if Ashly Burch didn’t come back to voice Chloe. It captured the spirit of Life is Strange, which is the interaction between characters, the relationship building. Plus, there’s this amazing sequence where you can play a tabletop roleplaying game ala Dungeons and Dragons. A game within a game? So dope.
What I personally had the most fun with however, was Chloe’s back-talking ability. Unlike Max who would take a much subtler and demure route for information then just rewind time, Chloe just basically talks her way into anything she wants. While listening for talking cue from the person with whom you’re arguing, you basically create a line of savage verbal beat-downs that actually caused an ‘oh s–t’ reaction from me a few times. It seems a bit too easy at times, but hopefully we’ll face more challenging conflicts in the later episodes.
The entire point of this prequel is to discover and design Chloe’s relationship with Rachel Amber.
They introduce Rachel as a dynamic, stand-out character. Known for being smart, popular, and attractive, others describe her as ‘too cool for the cool kids’. She possesses a highly emotional side and is attracted to Chloe because they share the same longing: the need to escape from their lives in Arcadia Bay.
There’s no lack of humor or drama. It sets up for a very interesting story, really making me wonder where this game is going to go. Of course Chloe gets in trouble; that’s obvious. The real wild card in all of this is Rachel Amber. Sure, she was spoke of excessively in the first game, but actually seeing her and interacting with her is nearly bizarre. You, as the player, feel like you know so much about her, yet really you don’t know anything at all. There’s so many questions left to answer, and even more draw up as you begin playing. I, for one, am exceedingly excited to see where the rest of the story takes us.
And I have to talk about this for a moment. (This video shows the ending to episode 1 so MAJOR SPOILERS if you have yet to play or finish the episode.)
Look at this s–t! Even the look on Chloe’s face screams what the actual hell. Could Amber have abilities too? Did you see that heart wrenching scream? Something elemental was happening there. I don’t believe hers is as strong as the rewind power, but this definitely seems to be an illusion to something fantastical. Of course, that begs the question that if Rachel did have powers, why wouldn’t Chloe have known about them? Or Frank the dealer for that matter? The scene simply could have been over dramatized for story purposes, but I’m really hoping it wasn’t. Amazing and devastating things seem to happen in Arcadia Bay. Max shouldn’t be the only one to benefit.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows.