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.