Life is Strange: Before the Storm Review
Going to keep this as spoiler free as possible. All 3 of the main episodes are available now with a bonus episode coming sometime this year. Life is Strange was developed by Dontnod Entertainment and Life is Strange: Before the Storm was developed by Deck Nine. Dontnod Entertainment is currently developing Life is Strange 2.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm is a three episode prequel to the hit game Life is Strange, hence the name (Before the Storm is a reference to a key event in the original game). Like its predecessor, Life is Strange: Before the Storm is a graphic, choice-based adventure. The core gameplay is similar to that of games developed by Telltale Games (The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, Game of Thrones, etc.) except I think the two Life is Strange games have done a better job at actually making each of your decisions matter on a consistent basis than Telltale. I really like Life is Strange although it did have a few story issues, a few of which followed over to Before the Storm but overall they’re both definitely worth playing.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm follows Chloe Price, the second lead of Life is Strange, and Rachel Amber (who is missing in the first game). The events of the game take place three years before those of Life is Strange and follows the budding relationship of Chloe and Rachel.
Overall I think the game was great. Sure it had some problems, especially in the third episode, but overall it was solid. I think the story was great, with excellent character development (especially for Chloe), and served as a great prequel for Life is Strange by showing the larger backstory to most of the characters in the original game that, at least for me, enhanced the original’s story. The best part of the game was Chloe and Rachel’s relationship throughout each episode. Their relationship and its highs and lows were very well done and did a great job showing why Rachel Amber was so important to the story in Life is Strange even though she never appeared onscreen. Their relationship also did a great job expanding on the reasons Chloe developed the way she did when we meet her in Life is Strange and how different she is from when Max left her. Unlike in the original game Before the Storm did not contain any powers, but it did give Chloe the special ability of “Backtalk” which was a dialogue option in which the player paid attention to key words in the NPCs side of the discussion which Chloe could turn against them with her angry, sarcastic, sassy attitude.
Episodes 1 and 2 are pretty much tied as the best of the three episodes, and are two of the best of the 8 total episodes between the two games. Their stories, dialogues, and key moments were all really well done plus they ended on two great cliffhangers, both of which factored into the main story. Episode 3 wasn’t bad, in fact I’d say it was pretty good but it had one big issue: Rachel wasn’t in it enough. There’s a good excuse for why she wasn’t but that doesn’t make it any less disappointing to have one of the main characters sidelined for most of the episode, especially since the events of the episode are about her. Even with that disappointment it was a good episode that ended with the second hardest choice the player has to make in the two games, the first being the final choice in the final episode of the first game.
I definitely recommend both games of the Life is Strange franchise if you are a fan of choice-based, character driven games. Don’t forget to stick around for the secret ending of Before the Storm if you’re able to unlock it, if not definitely look it up.
Have you played either or both of the Life is Strange games? Let us know what you think of them in the comments below!