Life Is Strange: Before the Storm (review) – Chloe meets Rachel

Life Is Strange: Before the Storm chloe rachel
Dontnod Entertainment developed something very special with Life Is Strange. The game became a hit with critics and fans, and it did pretty well with sales. Now we have the prequel out called Life Is Strange: Before the Storm, and it’s developed by a different team: Deck Nine. I was a bit worried about another team tackling the characters that were loved by many, but after finishing the first episode, I can say that Chloe and Rachel’s story is in good hands.

Life Is Strange: Before the Storm takes place three years before the events of Life Is Strange. Instead of controlling Max, you get to control the rebellious Chloe as she deals with depression and meets Rachel for the first time. Rachel is popular and pretty much has her hands in all the different school activities. What does a popular girl want with a loner?

The coolest feature in the first game is the ability to time travel. Sadly, you won’t be able to do that in Before the Storm. There is a cool feature, “Backtalk,” where you can intimidate people. Okay, so it’s not as cool as time travel, but it’s neat to see how Chloe navigates a conversation. For example, your mission is to sneak into a concert in order to see a rock band you like. The problem is that there’s a bouncer guarding the door. The way Chloe talks will help her advance through the story, and if you say the right things, you’ll able to make the bouncer respect you, thus allowing you inside.

Chloe is still recovering from the death of her father, and her mom isn’t helping things out by dating a new guy named David, a war veteran who really gets on her nerves. With dialogue options, you have choices of being a smartass or being polite. So far I’ve chosen to be an ass to as many people as possible, with Rachel being a few exception. Yeah, Chloe can get annoying, especially when she’s disrespecting her mother and just being a pain in the ass for everyone, but she starts to open up when she meets Rachel. And this is when players can start to feel for her. The dialogue options so far don’t feel like it affects the story in major ways, but we’ll see once episode 2 hits.

One of my favorite moments is meeting up with fellow students and playing a fantasy tabletop role-playing game. Imagine that, it takes a video game to make me play my first tabletop RPG game… even if it’s in a virtual setting. With that said, it definitely made me want to try it in real life, especially with the way Chloe got into her elf character.

The soundtrack is really important in Life Is Strange, so it’s essential that Square Enix and Deck Nine got a musician who understands the material. Here they picked Daughter, an indie folk band from England, to work on the majority of the songs. I recommend listening to “Numbers” (this was shown in the E3 trailer) and “The Right Way Around” (used in the main menu).

Final Reaction

Life Is Strange: Before the Storm’s first episode, “Awake,” is off to a good start and I already feel sad thinking about Rachel and Chloe’s future. (If you have played the first game, you’ll know what I’m talking about.) I know I’ll probably shed a few tears here and there for the future episodes. Hell, I even got teary-eyed at the end of this one. Although the characters’ choices will sometimes make you go “WTF”, you may forgive them because they can still be relatable and charming.

Rating: 4/5 Atoms

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John Nguyen
John Nguyen 10441 posts

Assassin, scoundrel, head honcho.