Game Review: Life is Strange: Before the Storm (Episodes 1 to 3)

Life-is-Strange-Before-the-StormLife is Strange: Before the Storm by Deck Nine
Series: Life is Strange #2
PS4 Edition, 6 to 8 hours
Published 31st August 2017 by Square Enix
Genre: adventure, single player
Source: Buy on Amazon
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Synopsis: You play as sixteen-year old Chloe Price who forms an unlikely friendship with Rachel Amber, a beautiful and popular girl destined for success. When Rachel learns a secret about her family that threatens to destroy her world, it is her newfound friendship with Chloe that gives her the strength to carry on. No longer alone, the girls must confront each other’s demons and find a way to overcome them together.

The prequel is set in May 2010, three years prior to the events of the main game, shortly after Chloe’s mother Joyce Price got together with soon-to-be step-father David Madsen. The game will feature returning characters William Price, Frank Bowers, Nathan Prescott, and Victoria Chase as well as returning background characters such as the Truck Driver. The story focuses on Chloe’s life as a sophomore at Blackwell Academy as well as the relationship between Chloe and Rachel and the events that made them bond.

Overview: Life is Strange: Before the Storm is a beautiful prequel to the series. For the entirety of the game, there was a constant bittersweet ache in my heart as I followed Chloe’s story. The writers of this game were amazing at showing how difficult mundane day-to-day life can be for someone so young. I was impressed by how realistic most of the story was.

What I loved about the game: Rhianna DeVries did such a fantastic job as Chloe. Initially, I’d thought that Ashly Burch was the perfect cast for Chloe Price. However, Rhianna nailed every line and made Chloe a real person one could identify with in this prequel. She was so spot-on, even with her motion capture. Her voice had the power to make my eyes water and my teeth clench in anger for Chloe. That breakdown in the junkyard was simply stunning.

The music! Daughter’s research and instrumentation was astounding. Every song fit the scene. I felt what the game wanted me to felt each time. This was the main reason why my heart ached so much through the game. The music was so moving.

Favourite part: Episode 2: Brave New World – The Tempest

What didn’t work for me: I didn’t like that the story took place over just three days. It felt like there should have been a longer gap of time between when the events of the game took place. The way Rachel and Chloe spoke to each other seemed like they’d known each other for a long time. I got that what they shared was meant to be almost magical, but while this might have been the writers’ intention, it also seemed like the characters were assuming a lot about each other. That didn’t sit too well with me.

The graphics were awful at times and took me away from the game. Especially when the scenes are zoomed out, it became jarringly clear how pixelated some things were. There were times when you can see the characters’ shoes going through the floor, leaves in the trees sticking right through the branches, etc. I was rather disappointed.

Even though Rhianna and Kylie Brown (who voiced Rachel Amber) were spectacular, voice acting from other characters fell flat. Scenes with them became tedious, and I found myself getting distracted, wanting them to be over so I could get on with the game.

Conclusion: This prequel is worth a play, even if it’s just for those scenic moments with Daughter’s music. It doesn’t seem to contain spoilers from the main game itself, so I reckon people who are new to this series can start from either game. People who love games similar to ones from Telltale Games should give this a go!

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