Life Is Strange Before The Storm Review – Part 1 – Spoiler Free
Life Is Strange Before The Storm is a prequel to the popular Life Is Strange video game. The story takes place in the same location of Arcadia Bay, but does not have Max there as the main character and instead focuses on Chloe. Players of the first game will remember Chloe as Max’s best friend throughout the original story and this new game explores Chloe’s background and what went on in her life before Max returned to town.
I was a very big fan of the first game and just couldn’t wait for the second in the series to be released. I wasn’t sure exactly how they could return to Arcadia bay, but by focusing on a different character they were able to get a decent story out of it. While most games would likely not ditch their main character in favour of being recognizable by the audience, the developers did do that here and I think it did help with their storytelling quite a lot.
One of the big differences with the gameplay between the first and the second game was the change in the way you handle decisions. The first game gave you the ability to rewind time, you could see certain situations and dialogues play out and if things didn’t go your way you could in a way re-wind it all and try again to get a better result, that was the main power Max had. In this game, Chloe doesn’t have this special ability, but she does know how to talk, or back talk better than anyone in Arcadia bay. During dialogue scenes you’ll be given options to choose, with emphasis on certain characters’ keywords. Choosing different options will shift Chloe’s attitude in the conversation and will help her get through certain situations easier, such as getting past a bouncer at a club by talking her way past him.
I felt that the new gameplay component was good, although in this first part of the story, it did not seem to be used as heavily as maybe it could have. At times it also was a little too subtle and it’s hard for me to know if I’m just in regular conversation or if I am to use the mechanic. Also I don’t really understand if the new mechanic is present in every conversation or if it’s only in some and not others.
Life Is Strange Beyond The Storm isn’t really a game I buy and play for the gameplay experience. I buy and play it so I can get a really cool story. This game certainly delivers on that aspect. Like with the first game, it gave me a sort of ‘back to school’ feeling. It’s fun chatting to all Chloe’s classmates, her teachers and her parents and listening to what they say throughout the story. The gameplay mechanic does help enhance the story a little as you do need to pay extra attention to what they’re saying, you don’t want to upset her mum after all, that’s just mean!
The game is heavily based around themes of friendship. When you’re in school, friends are important and they’re even more important later in life as well. Chloe isn’t a person that has any friends, Max has left and is in another town and isn’t really communicating and Chloe just doesn’t have a best friend yet. That’s where Rachel Amber comes in, she starts to fill the best friend role as the story progresses and it was nice watching, playing and observing this friendship develop and seeing Chloe become much less lonely as the story went on.
The game also does go into how influential friends are as well and Rachel Amber does seem to influence Chloe easily early on, I do wonder if the two will get into some type of trouble as the story progresses.
The music in this is great. It’s a lot of soft tunes and relaxing themes. The art style is just as good as the first game, if not more refined.
Overall this is a great game to play over the weekend. As it’s only the first part of the story, you could and I did finish it in one sitting. But the story is a nice one that’s all about friendship, school and family. This is something you don’t really get at all in gaming and it’s very nice to play through something like this every once in while. The gameplay mechanic is interesting, but I do miss re-winding time. If you loved the first game, then this one will certainly appeal to you and if you haven’t played the first one, it’s worth taking a look at if you never got the chance.