After the release of the final episode of Life is Strange: Before the Storm, fans were left with some mixed emotions about the game as a whole. Whether you love or hate the new version of this game, there is no doubt that a new direction was taken, even if it was not what fans were looking for.
In this release of the game, Deck Nine, the developers took a different route with the story and how it plays out. Before the Storm is a prequel to the original Life is Strange and adds a new level of drama and teen angst to the story we have already seen. Rachel and Chloe get their story told in Before the Storm and players get to make more decisions and there are no time traveling powers which has left us all feeling, different.
As anyone who reads these reviews knows, I like to talk about the plot. For this game, doing so is much harder because talking about the plot will not only ruin this game but also the original Life is Strange. I don’t even know if I could accurately describe the story. So far, we have a lot of characters we don’t know or haven’t seen. We also have characters we know and are sort of really attached to but don’t really know their back story and don’t really get one either. I played the original Life is Strange and loved it but even I was struggling to remember where some of these characters fit in to the original story. I believe that if you have not played the original, you would have a better grasp on the story when you play Before the Storm.
If you have played the original, you might be angry of how Chloe is portrayed. For the first game, Chloe is seen as a smart girl with a pretty level head on her shoulders. She also makes decisions that seem to head in the smartest direction too. Now, comparing her to the Before the Storm version, Chloe seems a bit too preoccupied with her friend Rachel and making much poorer decisions. I found myself at the end of episode 3 generally disliking Chloe. While changing how a main character is perceived can be a bold and exciting move, this one just made me feel angry that Chloe was de-evolved and taken so far from her original characterization.
For a choice based game, the choices in Before the Storm mostly fit in the category of either (A): don’t matter or (B): you have no idea you could make a different choice. Category B is the bigger sin as choice based games depend on you being able to make a choice. At the end of every episode players are given a scorecard that displays what the common choices are that players made and where they ranked. There were events that I saw that I didn’t even realize that I had a different choice to make. Choices in these types of game must be made clear or the entire game falls apart.
Graphically, the game looks great. The soundtrack, one of the strongest points for the original Life is Strange, still manages to capture the mood and feeling of the game. The problem is that the stakes are not high enough. In the original game, many lives were at stake, but in this one it seems the big stake is one person’s feelings. If you’re a fan of the original game, I still recommend that you play this game, but be prepared that it is not the same experience. Here’s hoping that the Farewell episode, which will go back to Max and Chloe, ends this season on a higher note.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm is available now on Xbox, PS4, and PC.