The deep story of the original game, Life is Strange, has produced an epic prequel to the series called Life is Strange: Before the Storm. In 3 episodes, this game truly explains the heart-breaking backstory of Rachel and Chloe. Anyone who has experience with Life is Strange, understands what an explosive impact Rachel Amber caused on Arcadia Bay. The unanswered questions of Life is Strange have finally been answered in this episodic prequel.
Back to Arcadia Bay
The preface of the game is under the control of the bearings of our favorite angsty teen, Chloe Price. Through the eyes of Chloe, we learn that Before the Storm can be framed as the love story many fans have longed for. Plenty of the decisions seen in Before the Storm show no logic, but rather seem to derive from pure teenage emotions. This theme is seen throughout the game, as players discover the true connection that Chloe and Rachel feel. Prepare for the feels.
While the same storytelling premise is in place as the original, Deck Nine has created an enticing story that has its own unique story that stays true to its roots. As an episodic game, your energy will be mainly for choosing your path to take through various social interactions. These interactions force you to deal with the experiences and consequences that follow your decisions. Yes, these are the events that happen before Max returns to Arcadia Bay. Take this realization with a grain of salt because it’s far deeper than most expect. Diving deep into Rachel’s story is worthwhile to the player.
The Story Before The Storm
While Life is Strange solely focuses on your ability to rewind time, Before the Storm falls short of this power with zero supernatural encounters. What has replaced time powers is Chloe’s subpar “Backtalk” ability. This new ability seems to really disrupt the flow of the ever-branching story line. However, even without a time travel ability, you are able to see the wrinkle your choices make throughout the game. As each episode concludes, you see that each shocking ending is partially a reflection of your decisions.
If you’ve played the original, this game is important to understand what made Chloe so enticed by Rachel Amber. This game provides the backstory every fan has spent 2 years wondering about. If this game intrigues you, try out the original first before diving into this. Trust me, it will make a lot more sense if you do. This game does not provide a wonderful happy ending as it may seem to newcomers. There is a dark tone to all veteran players. Before the Storm is a highly enticing game with fun characters, heart-tugging emotions, and an overall fun context for fans of the original, but it does have its shortcomings. Low rendered graphics can cause distractions from the storyline along with sections of inconsistent dialogue and voice acting.
The overall story continues to peak interest throughout and characters remain enticingly complex. Overall it was an enduring and emotional trip back to our beloved Arcadia Bay. While there are limitations to Before the Storm, it still manages to give the perfect blend of romance and friendship in a convincing way that gradually gives the player an involved game experience. As far as prequels go, it show that with only a few hiccups to gameplay, the future of episodic storytelling games could be extremely prosperous.
All 3 main episodes of Life is Strange: Before the Storm are available now on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC.
Storm driven narrative
Story - 9.5/10
Gameplay - 8/10
Prequel Execution - 9/10
Through the few handful of weaknesses, Life is Strange: Before the Storm is a beautifully fulfilling prequel series that does well to highlight just how important Rachel Amber is to the Life is Strange storyline.