Life Is Strange: Before The Storm
Game review on
Callum Corcut / Fri 16th Feb 2018
20 views / 1 bite
OVERVIEW In life, things fall apart. Relationships, friendships, so on and so forth. Life can be messy, it can be hard and most of all it can be strange. This prequel season juggles these harsh truths masterfully. In this season finale, we reach the culmination of Chloe Price's teenage existence. While this episode suffers from slower pacing, it still manages to achieve a satisfying conclusion worthy of its larger than life characters.
The second episode ended with some huge revelations for Rachel. This episode has the monumental task of wrapping up all previous plot threads peppered throughout the season while also bridging into the events of the original Life Is Strange.
For the most part, it succeeds with flying colours. Further developing the bond between Rachel and Chloe while also showing authentic character growth for most of the game's big players. It is however noticeably slower paced than both previous episodes and the methodical approach may be unappealing to some.
What I will say is that this is a glorious farewell to some of the most three-dimensional characters seen in a video game franchise. The stories, themes and characters explored in Before The Storm are sure to leave a lasting impact on many gamers.
Everything is a lot more deliberate in this episode. You're really encouraged to slow down and take a breath in between the traumatic events unfolding all around our main characters. There are still some light puzzle segments and a few chances to unleash Chloe's backtalk ability, but all of that is not nearly as important as the dialogue.
The writing of this game is one of its strongest features with each conversation driving the narrative forward. The things Chloe communicates with Rachel will directly impact the rest of her life. For the game to give us the power to shape Rachel's future comes an overwhelming amount of pressure that could be easily underwhelmed by lacklustre dialogue.
Instead, intricate writing coupled with sensational voice acting results in riveting gameplay focused primarily on player choice and empathy.
From the opening title screen to the ending montage to the gut-wrenching post-credits scene, everything we are shown has a clear purpose and has been placed there specifically in order to evoke feeling from the audience. There is some very heavy subject matter in this episode, the entire segment in the hospital perfectly exemplifies the relationship between Chloe and Rachel.
Hours go by, people come and go, it's all a blur because all that matters is if the other person is okay or not. It can be argued that Life Is Strange was never really known for having "good graphics" but Before The Storm undoubtedly has outstanding cinematography and shot selection. The only major issue is that there are still long loading screens and some wonky character animations.
There's not much to say here that I haven't already gushed about previously. The soundtrack, the themes during cutscenes, every single second of it is pitch perfect and tonally appropriate. When I think of Life Is Strange I immediately hear the music of this game now.
The performances of our two leads, Rhianna DeVries as Chloe and Kylie Brown as Rachel, are mesmerising. The chemistry between these two is a large reason why the entire season worked so well. If our two leads weren't believable none of the music, the dialogue, anything, could have landed as well as it did.
There are very few games that have tackled the absurdity of adolescence as well as Before The Storm has. This is a game that delves deeply into morality, loss and growth. This game may have flown under the radar of many when it was first announced, but now that the season is over I can easily recommend this to fans of the original as well as a starting point for curious onlookers. It may not have won as many accolades as the original Life Is Strange but it will surely capture the hearts of those willing to invest the time and effort into experiencing Chloe's story.