Life is Strange: Before the Storm began with the unenviable pursuit of behaving as a voluntary to a very self-contained story. The first deteriorate of the episodic journey series sealed out the story of Chloe Price and Max Caulfield with two probable conclusions. So when Before the Storm betrothed to concentration on the very opposite loyalty between Chloe and Rachel Amber—a impression that’s mostly only talked about in the first game—I had my doubts.
Thankfully, the first of Before the Storm’s 3 episodes nailed the approach. Chloe and Rachel competence not get as much time on-screen together as the categorical season’s duo, but their attribute starts much stronger. An emotionally bleeding and capricious Chloe opens up to Rachel in a way that lets us see how she became the impression Max comes to meet. It’s that beef of the story that navigates the prequel by some spasmodic hilly B plots.
Whereas 2015’s Life is Strange has a clever dispute at its center—Max and Chloe’s hunt for a blank Rachel Amber—Before the Storm is some-more generally about the heading ladies’ hunt for their place in the world. Chloe is flattering much branded a derelict from the jump. Rachel doesn’t like that everybody expects her to be perfect. The two outsiders naturally attract any other (romantically, in my playthrough) and tub along from there.
Piling on expectations
A executive poser does eventually rise in Before the Storm, but it’s still mostly an forgive to pull the characters closer together. That’s a good thing. That close attribute is accurately where the diversion shines brightest—particularly nearby the finish of any particular chapter.
Rachel’s use of Chloe as an shun pushes some-more expectations onto Chloe’s very capricious shoulders and exacerbates her struggles with her rising, maybe unjustifiable punk image. Chloe wants to abet for reasons even she can’t explain at first. So when expectations destroy to meet reality, of march sparks fly.
Before the Storm succeeds mostly by using plausible discourse between the two teens operative by that friction. The two teens meet somewhere in the center and find they like it just fine. Rachel doesn’t caring about bucking management so much as doing what creates her happy (which happens to embody being with Chloe). Chloe is just behaving out some unused pain over the death of her father but also finds herself in a position to insurgent against some honestly awful management figures, like her mother’s overstepping boyfriend.
It’s a prolonged walk to that center ground, though. Along the way, and between the well-pitched romantic beats, are some much poorer thespian ones. There’s a aroused drug play who just arrange of disappears. There’s a stalker subplot that doesn’t offer much purpose besides environment up a teenager knave that also disappears.
Between it all, there’s Chloe’s hokey punk talk. She’s not as badass as she thinks she is, at first, with an overly performative opinion that comes opposite as a dorky teen trying to seem antagonistic and “cool.” That creates for an engaging impression study, but it doesn’t make listening to her sarcastically separate “samesies” at a brag or draw Dracula facilities on someone’s journal photo any reduction cringeworthy.
Happiness and irony
When Before the Storm dulls its edge, though, it’s unsurprisingly good at being sincere, with still impression interactions that are almost as manly as the aspiring romantic ones. Episode one has an whole discretionary stage where Chloe plays Dungeons and Dragons with her classmates, for instance, and it just about steals the show. Then, a stage of unpretentious behaving during a opening of The Tempest overrules it in part two.
Honestly, I’d have elite an wholly new story built on those moments, since it’s tough to determine the best tools of Before the Storm—the honestly darling intrigue between Rachel and Chloe that the player helps write by discourse choices—and the eventually comfortless events of the strange Life is Strange. It’s a Sword of Damocles unresolved over these dorks, who we just wish to see happier and happier at the finish of every episode.
Before the storm
The prequel leans into its darker urges some-more than I’d like, too. Episode three’s marginally happy finale is immediately undercut by an meaningful teaser for the strange game—one that’s officious sadistic, if you’ve already played the 2015 adventure. It’s a oppressive coda that indulges the game’s misfortune habits.
That’s actually the true problem permeating Before the Storm. It may be episodic, but it’s a very even season. Similar games, like The Walking Dead and even the first deteriorate of Life is Strange, tend to learn what works and what doesn’t in a given collection of episodes. The Walking Dead all but exorcised its nonplus elucidate in preference of account choices. Life is Strange substituted its mistake teen speak for better abnormal drama.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm doesn’t have that arc. Its strengths sojourn strong; its weaknesses stay weak. So, if the first part doesn’t squeeze you, it’s protected adequate to bail and burst into the some-more finish and enterprising original.
Of course, if you’ve already played the prior release, this is a piece of the nonplus worth seeing. Just meaningful its answers won’t lift your spirits. There are no secret happy endings here—just moments of context for what is already set in stone.
- Fun, still impression moments.
- Earnest romantic beats—most of the time.
- Fun context for fans of the strange game.
- Doesn’t really supplement anything new from part to episode.
- Not mandatory for fans of the categorical game.
- “Edginess” comes off as possibly stupid or mean-spirited at times.
- The post-credits “teaser” is, intentionally or not, heartbreaking.
Verdict: Try it. If the first part is to your liking, you’ll puncture the rest.