Life is Strange: Before the Storm Episode 1 Review

Before the storm that was the original Life is Strange, there was a fledgeling friendship between Chloe and Rachael. After Max – the protagonist from the first Life is Strange – and her family left Arcadia Bay, Chloe was left alone with her mum, her mum’s new boyfriend and no real friends. Chloe then starts to fail her classes at school and bunk off, this is where Before the Storm picks Chloe up.

Before the Storm follows the same art style and gameplay as the original in the series, and is a story-driven game. Meaning lots of dialogue, walking in small areas and interacting with both people and inanimate objects.

Like Life is Strange, you make all the decisions in conversations with other characters, which can then affect outcomes and situations later on in the game. There is a new conversation choice in Before The Storm added to fit with Chloe’s character – Backtalk. This option sees you go head-to-head with the person you’re talking to until either side ‘wins’ the argument. One of the early backtalk conversations is with Chloe’s step-dad. It’s clear you don’t want to engage in a conversation with him and choosing this option will totally shut down the dialogue in the car with him. You have to listen to what the other person is saying and then use bits of what they say within your reply (which you get to pick) in order to get the most out of a situation. The general conversation is aimed much more towards the character of Chloe, which is great because in a video game context she’s a unique type of character. The young female teenager isn’t often explored, so it’s nice to see Life Is Strange picking up where it left off before with a slightly different, but familiar, tone.

During the first Life is Strange, you were able to take snaps of different things of interest, in order to earn trophies or achievements. In Before the Storm, with no Max this isn’t the case. With the bad-ass Chloe as our protagonist, you get to partake in street art (or rather smart ass comments) around Arcadia Bay. This, coupled with the new Backtalk functionality takes us away from the sweet innocence of Max and into the dangerous life of Chloe.

It doesn’t feel necessary to have played the original in order to play this prequel though. If you’ve played the first game or are intending to before starting then it is going to give you some backstory and help you to understand where the story is going. Personally, I feel that it would have been nice to have not known this going into Before The Storm but the backstory between Chloe and Max added an interesting dynamic to the narrative.

Collector mode allows you to go back to collect the graffiti that you missed during your initial walk-through of the game. Although some might think this is cheating I quite like this idea as it allows you to replay scenes and pick up the trophies that you missed along the way.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm – Episode One Conclusion

Overall, Episode 1 is a great introduction to Before the Storm. It offers what you expect from the series as well as adding in some new ideas. The way Deck Nine have been able to take the concept of the first game and apply them to a totally different character has been great.

4/5

We tested the Playstation 4 version of Life is Strange: Before the Storm – Episode One after purchasing a retail copy. Life is Strange: Before the Storm – Episode One is out now on PS4.

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