If you were a huge fan of the original Life Is Strange game, featuring Max Caulfield, the Hipstery photography student then you’ve probably wondered whether Before The Storm is worth playing.
After all, it was Max who had the power to rewind time and undo or redo actions that had taken place. Not to mention the mystery of Arcadia Bay, the melancholic yet eerily calming soundtrack and her relationship with Chloe Price. What could there be to gain by going back, and three years before ‘the storm’?
It’s a question I asked myself, but my experience with the first game utterly sucked me back into Arcadia Bay.
Playing as Chloe Price, at this point a girl with a lot of anger issues and plagued by visions of her Father’s death two years previously. You get to see her isolation, and feel her loneliness. Max is gone and in Seattle, seemingly ignoring Chloe’s attempts to contact her and keep their friendship alive.
Chloe is left with nothing better to do than smoke weed and drink, whilst playing truant from school.
The game starts with you having to help Chloe get into a gig she’s dying to see, as with the original game there’s much of the optional dialogue and plenty of clues to investigate. At this early stage of the game you can’t help but feel that any clue is going to somehow be important later.
Upon getting into the gig, you can explore around and talk to various people. Eventually you head up to the loft, and you’ll soon be plunged into a dangerous situation.
This is when Rachel Amber arrives, the girl only mentioned in the first game. Rachel is confident, beautiful and wild. At this point in time, Chloe does not have the confidence she has when we meet her in Life Is Strange and you can’t help but realize how important Rachel is going to be in helping Chloe become the girl that she is in the first game.
The rest of the first episode centers around Chloe’s relationship with her Mom, her struggling to accept David – her Mom’s new boyfriend, and her new friendship with Rachel Amber.
At the end of the episode you’re left with a cliffhanger as the forest around Arcadia Bay goes up in smoke. Something that I found a shock since it was never mentioned in the previous game. You’re left wondering how bad it’s going to get, and who and what it’s going to effect.
There are plenty of highs and lows, lots of intrigue and all the atmosphere of the original game.
All in all it was a solid first episode to a game that has all the promise to be just as exceptional as the first. Sure we don’t have the kind of gameplay that allows us to rewind time, but does it really need it? I’m not sure it does, as this game stands up on it’s own merits and keeps true to all the best bits of Arcadia Bay.
Episode 2: Brave New World Review
The second episode of Life Is Strange: Before The Storm picks up where the first episode left off, with the fire beginning to rage and the fallout from that as well as Chloe & Amber ditching school the day previously.
Already in the second episode the mood has changed a lot, and you can feel things getting darker. This is backed up by the imagery, the subtle changes of lighting and of course the choices of music utilized as the episode progresses.
In Episode 2, even such a short time after becoming friends with Rachel, it’s clear that Chloe is beginning to grow more into her future self. Or perhaps that she’s just becoming more confident with who she really is.
This episode is a fair bit longer than the first episode, there was plenty of dialogue initially, with a good dose of exploring opportunities that followed. Fixing up the truck that we see Chloe using in the original game was an unexpected addition.
There were lots of these unexpected moments in the game, the developers did a great job in this episode of constantly changing the pace. Which is something we all expect from Life Is Strange, but that was perhaps lacking in the first episode. You don’t even really realize that until you’ve played through the second episode, such is the huge improvement of this episode over the first.
There was an interesting dream sequence again with Chloe’s deceased Father, and more references to the crow which is consistent throughout the game.
Shortly after this you’re accosted by Frank to help him recover some money that he was owed by a student at Blackwell. Chloe is tasked with a simple case of breaking and entering, that provides some interesting puzzle-like challenges.
After this, you end up at the theater production of The Tempest. Depending on your choices, this is where things will go a little different, so we won’t go into specifics about how our game went. But we thought it was a really cool addition to this episode, something that we really weren’t expecting.
After the play you end up walking back to Rachel Ambers house with her, and eventually staying for dinner. Tensions are running high in the Amber household and this is where a huge bombshell gets dropped at the end of the episode.
Basically, episode 2 is pretty much the Rachel Amber show. While you’re experiencing everything through the eyes and decisions of Chloe, and while she has a lot of her own shit going on during this episode… It all falls away in comparison to what’s going on with Rachel.
Whether this is to signify a growing interest from Chloe toward Rachel it’s not clear. It could simply be that the developers are prioritizing Rachel as the character that Chloe just kind of ambles along after. Much like how Max was overshadowed by Chloe in the original game.
What’s Up With The Crows?
We’ve just got to say that we think something is up with the crows. Well, there definitely is. It’s far more than just style, it’s symbology and the dream-sequence in episode 2 backed this up.
Could it be that the developers have something out of this world crazy planned?
People once believed that, when someone dies, a crow carries their soul to the land of the dead. But sometimes, something so bad happens that a terrible sadness is carried with it and the soul can’t rest. Then sometimes, just sometimes, the crow can bring that soul back to put the wrong things right. – The Crow (1994)
We’re probably just getting over-excited, and it’s probably just wishful thinking. It’d be hella cool though if we can somehow change the events of the original game through the way we play Before The Storm.
What if Rachel never continues down the path she’s on? Is there a way we can prevent Chloe from needing to die? It’s a bit of a jump, but we’re not ruling it out given what we know about the symbology and mythos of what crows can represent.
Episode 3: Hell Is Empty Release Date
Currently there’s been no announcement on the release date of the third episode ‘hell is empty’.
Although we’re expecting that this will be cleared up soon, so check back as we’ll keep this article updated.
We can’t wait for the third episode, and we can’t wait to review it and share more theories with you guys. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the game so far, and enjoyed our before the storm review so far.
Until the next episode is out we’re all going to be feeling the way Arcadia Bay always leaves you feeling, wanting more.