Life Is Strange: Before The Storm – Far From Calm

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We’re at it again, folks! Life Is Strange is back! This time, we’re focusing on everyone’s punk dream girl, Chloe Price, in this prequel Before The StormLife is Strange: Before the Storm is set in Arcadia Bay, three years before the events of the first game. Players will take on the role of a rebellious 16-year-old Chloe Price who forms an unlikely friendship with Rachel Amber; a beautiful and popular girl destined for success. When Rachel’s world is turned upside down by a family secret, it takes this new-found alliance to give each other the strength to overcome their demons.

As fans of the previous game will know, long before Max showed up to mess with the timeline of Arcadia Bay, her best friend Chloe underwent a massive transformation. Between the death of her father, loss of her best friend and her mother’s new boyfriend, her teenage years are far from perfect. So as we struggle through teenage rebellion and angst, we are finally able to uncover what happened before we first got a glimpse of Arcadia Bay.

Honestly, that was one of the biggest draws for me here. Throughout the previous game, we kept getting glimpses but no full explanation. We knew a lot of things about Chloe and her parents. But one of the most important parts of her life was more or less skipped over, Rachel Amber. This is a girl who was supposedly friends with everyone. Next to no one had anything bad to say about her. Plus, she had a huge impact on Chloe in particular. But we never met her.

In Before The Storm we finally get to meet Rachel Amber in the flesh and I had no idea what to expect. It’s kind of like looking at someone through their Facebook profile and then actually meeting them. Of course, you’re not going to hear about the times she was mad or unreasonable or that she chews with her mouth open. That’s not the kinda stuff acquaintances know about someone. So it’s nice to see a fresh, unbiased perspective as we get to know the girl behind the legend.

Albeit, the girl behind the legend still suffers from the same fatal flaw everyone in this story has. I don’t know anyone in real life that spews out as much teenage clichés as this cast. It’s like the filled Chloe and Rachel with as much teenage angst as possible, added some “I am very smart” charm and topped it off with a “Hella” or two. I feel like I’m looking at myself at 16, and it makes me cringe so hard. That said it’s an excellent choice by the writer’s cos there’s no better way to make a kid more believable as a character.

If you’re like me, one of the biggest draws for the original Life Is Strange was the rewind mechanic. Being able to rewind time was incredibly handy and very fun to play with. However, given the fact that Chloe doesn’t know how to break the time space continuum, we don’t have that this time around. This time we have the back talk mechanic. I spoke a little about this after my stint at Gamescom. But I really enjoy this mechanic. I think it’s really fun and totally fitting with Chloe’s character. The one issue I would have is that I didn’t fail any of them. I didn’t even feel like I was close to failing them. That said, it’s the first episode and hopefully, it gets harder to spot the correct answers. For now, let’s just enjoy listening to Chloe’s snark.

Really there’s only one thing I would worry about Before The Storm. It’s that the game is turning a tiny bit into an elaborate music player. It’s like they paid a lot for the soundtrack and wanted to get their money’s worth. There are a lot of moments where Chloe just sits and listens to music. And I love the soundtrack, don’t get me wrong, but I seriously wonder how many minutes I could have cut out of the game by skipping the song parts. I’m one of those people who like to not hit prompts just to see what happens if I leave it too long. I kept expecting something to happen! But hey, I got a nice musical interlude!

People worried a lot about this game for some reason. The developers changed, the voice actors changed and of course, no rewind. But all in all, I don’t see any of that being a big issue. Sure, there are a couple of weird voice lines, but it’s not enough to ruin the game for me. The main thing for me was always the story, and from what I can gather Deck Nine is on the right path here. The story so far has been engaging, intriguing and very emotional. It’s enough to keep me coming back for more every episode. Plus if they’ve got any more D&D lined up for the other episodes, I’ll buy it for those parts alone!

If you’d like to get Life is Strange: Before the Storm for yourself, it’s available right now for PC, Xbox and PS4. Once you’ve given it a go, be sure to let us know in the comments and on our Facebook page. Let us know which decisions you made and which ones are most likely to bite you in the ass!

Laura Kelly

Gamer, Cosplayer and the baking equivalent of Daenerys Stormborn! (She burns things...) Also I like puppies.

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