Before the Storm is the prequel to the award-winning and highly claimed Life is Strange, one of the best Point & Clicks ever made. Is this complementary release as fulfilling and ground-breaker as the original? For fans, absolutely!
I find it hard to believe someone would be picking up Life is Strange: Before the Storm without first going through the original game. With that said, Before the Storm pretty much follows the steps of Chloe’s friendship with Rachel and their mischievous adventures.
If you’re patiently waiting to unfold the events that led to the disappearing of Rachel, let me put your hopes to rest, as this game is absolutely barely connected with that. Instead, the story focuses on how Chloe meets Rachel, and the development of their relationship as a duo that will shake Arcadia Bay!
The story has the same emotional impact as you’d expect, with plenty of surprises and twists that will definitely make you bewildered. This time, with or without chaos theory, we do have destruction forces, as in a more physiological bump, that suits extremely well with Chloe’s fears and insecurities.
The direction values are on the right spot, with an intense and charismatic narrative that made the original so good. Giving out even the slight structure as an example would even be considered a spoiler, so I’ll say this; Remember when you wished you didn’t play Life is Strange, so you could live it again for the first time? Since you can’t rewind time, Before the Storm is your second best chance!
The gameplay remains as you’d expect, with players taking control over Chloe as she goes across the story interacting with objects, people and her most inner secret thoughts. Obviously this time we don’t have the powerful ability Max will eventually discover, but to balance things out, we’re introduced with what I best can think of calling it “Argument Battles”.
This is a new way developers approached some really important dialogue decisions, by having Chloe influencing NPC’s by choosing the best selection of words. New dialogue information can be unlocked by coming up with new clues, aka, snooping around. The major change, however, is the time-limit these interactions have, and it’s way too short.
I understand the concept of urgency, but I also believe players should have the ability to think about their best course of action. Apparently, Deck Nine though so too, and reduced those interactions to a bare minimum by the time you reach the third and final chapter.
Other dialogues are available, including some that will determine the outcome of choices. Of course, this prequel is more linear, since some paths have been already established, but it’s well directed nonetheless, with amazing an atmosphere and care for details on how much you can interfere even on small things.
Unfortunately Before the Storm has only 3 episodes, each with a duration of around 3 to 5 hours, depending on how much you go through each area. An extra chapter is available as DLC, and definitely worth it, portraying a very special day in the life of Chloe and Max.
The design didn’t change much, It still has the same artistic direction thankfully, but you can clearly see characters gestures and movement were somehow rushed. There’s not enough work put into them as in the original game. One example being that not enough motion capture technology was used. One could also say it it was the change from Unreal Engine 3 to Unity, which
With a fantastic narrative as great as you’d expect, we’re given the opportunity to further interact with some well known students from the Blackwell Academy such as Victoria Chase and Nathan Prescott, but also new and dangerous ones that will forever turn things around.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm may not answer all the questions, but will surely be a fantastic journey that evolves around many of the issues that made the series popular. Substance abuse, bullying, broken homes, and promises are some of themes, in this intense and highly recommended Prequel.