Game Review: A complete review of Life is Strange: Before the Storm (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Now that the prequel of the successful game Life is Strange, Life is Strange: Before the Storm is completed, we can give it a thorough and complete review. The game, as it is a prequel, focuses on Chloe Price as she is the main character this time. Before the Storm is an interactive story of love, adulthood, loss of loved ones and making the right choice when the situation demands it.
You are following the story of the rebellious teenager Chloe Price, starting three years before the events of the first Life is Strange. Having to deal with all the complications of being a teenager and trying to accept not only the sudden loss of her father but also the new man who has entered her mother's life, Chloe finds comfort in her classmate, Rachel Amber. When Chloe drops out of school, the two girls decide to leave the small town of Arcadia Bay and never look back again. But things are not so simple, since the events that happen around them will catch up to their plans.
Through the three episodes of Before the Storm, with a duration of about three hours each, you learn a lot about the two girls' personalities. The chemistry between Rachel and Chloe may not be as perfect as the one between Max and Chloe, but it's good enough to look realistic and relatable. With Max not participating in the story, the lack of supernatural element makes it more realistic, but as a huge fan of the first Life is Strange I really miss that part and the challenges it created. Also, the fact that it is a prequel leaves no room for surprise as we already know the outcome.
The first episode focuses on building the two girls' relationship, while the second explains why they want to leave Arcadia Bay in search of a better life. The third and final episode is the most interesting in my opinion. The familiar simple third person controlling from the first game returns, and you need to be careful not to miss objects and hotspots so look around carefully. Also, checking various places in Blackwell's unlocked rooms (e.g. laptops) rewards you with information such as the family situations of others, and many more interesting secrets.
The puzzles are absent, and the actions you’ll need to perform are neither difficult nor equivalent to the ones of the first game. Everything is done with a few clicks and little thought, with no real effort. Other areas of gameplay include the ability to change Chloe's clothing and draw graffiti at various points in the environment. Finally, Chloe receives a bunch of texts from friends, acquaintances, and family, which initially is an interesting opportunity to learn more about the relationship everyone has with the heroine, but gets to the point of happening so often that will mostly distract you from more important matters rather than provide you with essential information.
The dialogues are well written and the choices of the dialogues, which is the main part of gameplay, affects many details such as the decoration of your car and whether someone will like you easily or not, but they still don’t affect the story’s outcome. You will basically end up at exactly the same point regardless of your choice. You can warn someone that they are in danger either in a direct or indirect way, but the continuity is not affected by the way you do it. Backtalk mode is a new addition to the game. With this feature you can argue with other characters either by appealing to them or by proving your points to them. This addition is very interesting and challenging as it requires your full attention during the dialogues if you don’t want to ruin your chance to learn something, but unfortunately you won’t be able to use it very often.
Pricing & Availability
Life is Strange: BtS is available on PS4, Xbox One and PC for $17.
Graphics & Sounds
The familiar graphic style is quite pleasing to the eye, with realism and beautiful designs. You will also come across old faces and locations that haven’t changed at all but don’t expect many new environments either as most of the story takes place in the same locations as the first game. The soundtrack and sound effects are satisfying, with sounds of nature, and of course the familiar noises of a town. The voice acting is quite convincing for teenagers in despair, while quiet and soft music accompanies all the cutscenes.
With minimal changes in gameplay, graphics and sound, Life is Strange: Before the Storm takes you back in time in the same way that Max would do, presenting unknown details about Chloe's life and Rachel, who we only got to know through stories in the first game. It deals with issues such as adolescence, drugs, managing the loss of loved ones and dealing with problems. It certainly lacks suspense compared to its predecessor, but this could work in favor of those of you you haven't played the first one, as you can start with this prequel. If you liked the first Life is Strange or if you want an interactive story with the aforementioned themes, Life is Strange: Before the Storm is a good choice. Let us know your thoughts and impressions in the comments below.
Life is Strange: BtS screenshots (above) and trailer (below)