Life is Strange Before the Storm : Awake

Life is Strange is back taking us back to a time before Chloe Price had electric blue hair, Rachel Amber was a face on a Missing People’s poster and Max Claulfield made her return to Arcadia Bay and found out she could mess with time.

Max is little more then a name in a diary as you play with Chloe struggling to deal with life. In a very different way… Life is Strange.

Story wise Before the Storm is everything we deserved. Not just the fans of the first game but in general. Whilst I loved the supernatural, mysterious and downright dark story of the first Before the Storm takes you into the life of a teenage girl struggling with the death of her dad, losing her best friend and everything changing around her. She’s grumpy, she’s sarcastic and most importantly she’s lost.

Not every game has to have that extra twist to it to make it stand out and the wonders of the story telling in this episode made it clear that LiS isn’t going to suffer losing its “magical” side of it.

We already know a whole deal about some of the characters which made the story even harder. As you play as Chloe you interact with characters who you learnt on the outside might be hard and dickish but on the inside are broken and working hard to do what is right. Yes I’m talking about David who I was so happy as Max to stick a middle finger up to then felt so bad when I realised he’s a PTSD sufferer who really is trying to make his life with Chloe’s wonderful mother work and to be there for a girl who doesn’t want to know him. It was hard for me to stick to the Chloe I felt was true, the one that shot people down and said it how she feels, when you know that David deep down isn’t a bad person he just can’t communicate. On the other hand it was fun to mess with Victoria even though I know deep down again she’s just a popular girl that when you force her to actually think outside her limited box isn’t too bad.

The new characters made it though. Steph and Mikey are possibly the two characters I love the most as we get to sit down, relax, and play a role play game with them. Just one of the many little moments you can enjoy in the game. Mikey’s brother Drew is a angry jock who could very well be extremely important down the line. Then there is the obvious newest addition in Rachel Amber.

In LiS Rachel is gone, it isn’t till the last episode that we find out that she is indeed dead and find out just how she died. In this her relationship with the only person left looking for her in LiS, our main character Chloe, comes about. Its interesting to study her, a character we heard so much about but never saw in the first game, to see how her mood changes so suddenly from enjoying her time with Chloe to getting into a bit of a grump that she stuck her quarter into a view finder that was out of order. Trying to figure out who she is was one of the fun parts of the episode.

The story is rich, the characters are deep and interesting, you don’t want the game to end and have to wait for a second episode. It was fantastic story that built on everything we knew from the first game, let us mold Chloe into the character we always wanted her to be and answered a lot of questions we had. For me if the story of LiS was a 10 this already is at 11.

As for the game play it again upgrades what we had in LiS for the better.

Gone obviously is the supernatural spin so there is no time turning to be had. Also gone is the camera obsessed achievements, Chloe is no fan of the camera so instead you have 10 spots in the very detailed and beautiful world where bad ass Chloe can graffiti. From playing the first game I spent most of the 3 hours I played wondering around the place looking at everything and searching out the 10 spots to leave Chloe’s mark. It was just as fun as searching out all the extra photo ops in the first game.

What Max had in super powers Chloe has in charisma. The new Back Talk Challenge is everything you’d want for Chloe. You have the choice to stand up for yourself and mouth off to a number of characters. You have to listen to what they said then reply back with the perfect insult, a gift I acquired spending most of my childhood, teenage years and yes my adulthood playing Monkey Island. Its clever and the perfect super power for someone like Chloe.

We’re yet to see if there really are longer repercussions for the things we’ve done but I tried to be as nice to people as possible whilst being deadly honest to the adults in Chloe’s life.

Honestly loved the game more then any episode of the first. Chloe is a much more relatable character for me, her diary broke my heart and made you realise just how much Max broke her by basically ignoring her. I still love the diary concept and its worth clicking on there as much as possible to keep up to date with what is going on in Chloe’s head, the entries are letters to Max that she’ll never send and a constant reminder of just how lonely Chloe feels in the world.

Really worth playing whether you’ve played the first game or not.

So a bit about the story….

Set three years previously there isn’t really much to talk about. Chloe isn’t as bad ass as we saw her in LiS, she’s on that border line. She ditches school, goes out late at night to see bands play, gets into fights and smokes weed but there is still a part of her that cares. We start off with her going to the Mill to see Firewalk play, here you are introduced to the Back Chat stuff as well as getting to see Frank the drug dealer, get into a thing with a bunch of Skeevs and finally get saved by Rachel.

The next day you have to answer to your mum and David. You get to either be nice or a total bitch, I say a total bitch but to be honest being honest isn’t the same thing. I felt sorry for Chloe, David is a difficult character and her mum shouldn’t be so old fashioned and allow David to be the way he is. There is kind of a wall between Chloe and her mum, both suffering but neither really dealing with it. In David Chloe’s mum has found a similar soul to her, hurting and in need of someone to save them. In a way I think Rachel is the same for Chloe….

After talking to them you are forced to school were you can join in with a table top role play game or just get on with school life and explain your feelings on love. This is all before you run away with Rachel to catch her father cheating, she admits later on that she only brought you to catch him which makes her much more of a complex character then she first seems. Whatever it is between the two of them is only just blossoming but Rachel already doesn’t seem like the perfect little snowflake Chloe thinks she is.

Its the beginning of a downward spiral for Chloe, not because Rachel is a bad influence though she obviously isn’t helping, but she’s alone in the world. Her best friend moved just when she needed her and never talks to her, her mum is moving on with a guy who she doesn’t like and now she’s got a friend who has the biggest mood swings and her own problems to face. By the time we see her three years later its no surprise that she’s the way she is.

To be fair they haven’t hit anything really deep yet or any issues at all really but as always there is a lot going on behind the scenes with so many of the characters. Chloe is a bubbling cauldron that we’re only just getting to know once more and the more we know the more it breaks me.

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4 thoughts on “Life is Strange Before the Storm : Awake”

  1. So; I really enjoyed it. I’m a big fan, despite what people might think, as I feel this game and the original are great for letting you wonder, and think and really get immersed in what is really, a real story that isn’t all that unlikely (bar for time travel).

    I had a lot of fun in this first episode, took me around 4 hours, but engaged with literally everything as I always do with this type of game. Even managed to get an after school detention! The first episode was great, it had some major feels. Chloe attacking the car really drove home just how angry she was, and the games mechanics at that point made total sense.

    There are a few problems with the first episode that I noticed, and just couldn’t shake.

    1. So, I didn’t punch the guy at the start; I just ran, and so the night didn’t really have Chloe and Rachel have the awesome night, but then you get up and find that the there is a picture of the two of you together from last night, and it was supposedly magical. In my game that was the end of the night… Not really something everyone at school would talk about!

    2. They made David out to be a complete jackass in this episode. I understand that is the gimmick, but why was he outside for so long not fixing his car? What was he doing for the hour or so I was wondering around looking at every part of Chloes’ house?

    3. Can you win the table top game? It seems like you should be able too, but everyone died in mine. My bad. Cool segment though, before I lost a back talk challenge against principle wells. It was really hard to know what to answer to him, as the guide didn’t make it very clear how the answers worked…

    4. Are relationships usually like this? You meet someone the night before, never actually touch each other, and then you are crying the day after?

    With that being said, great game, looking forward to the next episode. Wish it was a bit longer though, takes months for each installment to come out, but they really don’t last long.

    1. If you don’t mind me asking how did you get the detention? Didn’t even know you were able to do that! Was it something you picked whilst deciding whether to stick up for Nathan? Or do you think it has something to do with running away instead of attacking in the Mill?

      Sorry I can’t reply in full at the moment, really ill but I’ll tackle the four points.

      1. I fully feel your pain with that one, I feel that is the biggest thing that annoys me in this and the first game. Some decisions are obviously big changes but its like they didn’t have the time or ability to actually separate the events. I felt that was why I disliked the ending of the first game because the two endings whilst they obviously depicted your choice AT THE END it didn’t really depict the choices you made previously.

      2. Haha I know what you mean when the mum said “go get his car keys” I was like so he’s outside WITHOUT his keys what the hell is he doing? One thing I’d really like is to see the side of David you saw at the end of the first game a little more. I guess for him he was going to use it as a chance to bond with Chloe so just waited for her?

      3. Yes, yes you can! I cut off Elmon’s feet and died myself but I also defeated the last monster. I’m guessing it all depends on your first attack maybe? Or whether or not you jump in front of Mikey’s character to save him. I did then when impaled I cut off the guys hand so Mikey could cast a fire spell on him. It’ll be fun replaying and seeing if you can win with both characters alive.

      4. I’m 28 and I cry all the time about the guy I have a crush on, as a teenager especially ones going through such difficult times I guess it would be even more raw. To be fair I think for Chloe she’s found something she wants to cling to because she feels abandoned and alone. I think her emotions are all muddled up and this is just a catalyst but no….

      I mean I’m not a normal 28 year old but I was crying earlier on as I was meant to be going out drinking with my work mates tonight and I work with the guy I have a crush on yet I caught this bloody tummy bug so couldn’t go to work today meaning I couldn’t go out tonight. From the moment I met him I’ve been a bit like that but I also met him when I was in a very bad position and clung to the crush a little to cheer me up (its done the opposite) I do think when you are emotional feeling like you are in love no matter how old you may be is something you overthink. Its easy to cling to the feeling that Rachel gives Chloe because its all Chloe has to fill the gap in her life all those people who have left her or she feels have left her.

      Though that might be overthinking it too much. As a teenager I was extremely emotional all the time.

      Hope that made sense. I’m really loving this one because I find Chloe much more interesting as a character then Max. I think Max was put in a position with her power that made her interesting but without it she was pretty normal and a bit of a drama queen, like a emo… Chloe on the other hand is suffering and its interesting to see how she molds into the girl we see in the first game.

      1. So; er…. in the front of the school; there is a stage set up. (In front of where you can get the graffiti option. It has a sign in front that says ‘Do not climb’; which I totally missed; walked up and sat on the seat. When you get off; Principle Wells will come up and threaten you with keeping you after school.
        You then have the option to backchat him. Fail like I did (It’s quite easy to fail; you only have to get one option wrong – and get 4 or five right). And he says he doesn’t need proof of your drug use; and gives you a detention. I’m sure it’ll get mentioned in my second episode; but this does nothing to the first episode gameplay; as we obviously skipped school anyway.

        It’s also interesting to know what happens if you take the money from the T-Shirt dude; and buy the drugs/put it in your mum’s purse.

        1. LIS the Original game had exactly this problem with the ending. It’s the same issue with Mass Effect 3. The big difference is that the two endings were exactly completely different from each other; but this is very much the issue with choose-your-adventure style games; In that they can never match the full play-time in the ending (Unless you are Mass Effect 2; man that was awesome). They could have easily had a different reaction to the night before than just having it as if you had spend the night together; even though you hadn’t.

        2. Why are you expecting to be taken to School by a guy who hasn’t even got the Spark plugs in the engine of his car? If someone said they just had to fix the engine of a car before they’d take me somewhere; I’d find an alternate vehicle. I think the idea is that David has to be shown to be a dick; as he only opens up towards the end of the original. Having him be a likeable fellow in this game would downplay his attitude in the first couple episodes of the original.

        3. Yeah; I got the same ending. But Mikey gave me a potion in the game; but I didn’t use it for some reason. Maybe you need to do it in the right order; and you can win with both characters. Who knows? Really cool it’s in the game; as it was like 20 minutes; and most players could easily skip it completely.

        4. Maybe it’s because I’m a 26 old man; and not a teenage girl (Actually, it totally is). I think my main issue is that Chloe doesn’t show any fondness of her in a romantic way. They don’t touch; we can hear her thoughts; and she doesn’t say how attractive she is; or similar. Just that Chloe is blown away by how popular she is. I know that this is because they want to leave it ambiguous as to whether you want an actual relationship; or best friends. But then it’s hard to believe it’s that much of an issue when she walks off.

        BTW; when Rachel storms off; they got it spot on. Like 1000%. As the player it was pretty easy to work out what had upset her; but as the character you would have no idea. I’ve seen many people; give you shit when they don’t even explain what the issue is. It’s so infuriating.

        I’m glad you enjoyed the game; I very much also enjoyed it. I hope the next couple episodes are just as good; and I hope this isn’t the end.

        1. P.S Of course you’re a normal 28 year. Whatever it is that makes you think that isn’t true (I understand a lot of that is written on this site); doesn’t change that. If you like a guy; find a way to let him know. Everyone is made up of things that make us different; but that’s what makes us all the same.

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