The Life is Strange series is back with a prequel to the popular first game. Find out if this prequel is worth playing through in our Life is Strange Before The Store Episode 1 “Awake” Review.
|Release Date||August 31, 2017|
I was excited to see that Life is Strange was returning this year with a prequel to the original game. I started the first game in 2016 and never got around to finishing it until May of this year when I finished episodes 2 through 5, but it left me wanting more. I don’t normally like games like these that aren’t really heavy on gameplay, but the story was so good that it has become one of my favourite games.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm is a dialogue-based adventure game where you choose how you interact with people and the environment. This game sees you play as the abrasive Chloe Price. This game feels a lot more grounded than the first game and doesn’t appear to revolve around any supernatural powers as of yet. This is more a game revolving around Chloe’s life and how we got to the events of Life is Strange.
To go along with Chloe’s personality, a back-talk mechanic has been introduced. This basically allows you to choose how you’d like to reply to get the upper-hand against someone in a verbal battle. Some of the things that Chloe did with this were to convince a bouncer to let Chloe into a bar underage and to stop a bully from messing with another student. There’s a timer that has been implemented to give players a sense of urgency as if you’re really arguing with someone. The mechanic itself was a good idea, but I felt like the outcomes were largely unrealistic.
Chloe has never been an extremely likeable character, and there are still many bursts of questionable behaviour in Awake, but I found it a lot easier to relate to why Chloe is the way she is in this episode. She lost her father in a tragic car accident and is trying to cope with her mother moving on with a new boyfriend. You can tell that Chloe isn’t quite ready to move on and that losing her father has left a huge hole in her heart. She also lost her only friend in Max Caulfield (the main character in the original game) and feels abandoned by the world. Seeing the old pictures and reading through old texts really gave a lot of insight to how much this affected Chloe.
Awake centers around the introduction of the mysterious Rachel Amber, the character that went missing in Life is Strange. Rachel is the polar-opposite of Chloe in so many ways. She’s the popular girl, her dad is the District Attorney, etc. That makes it all the weirder when these two become friends and start to hang out with each other…at least at first. Rachel ends up having her own fair share of teen angst as we learn more about her through the episode. The more she and Chloe talked, the more I started to see parallels in their personality.
The thing I enjoyed the most about Awake is how Rachel and Chloe’s relationship started to evolve. Once Rachel started to become a bit standoffish (which was in no way attributed to Chloe, Chloe became scared that Rachel was just going to leave her like everyone else in her life has. It showed a more vulnerable side of Chloe and it made me appreciate her as a character a lot more than I did in the first game. I think the goal in this prequel is ultimately just that, to understand Chloe better as a character. The first episode ends on a cliffhanger and it really made me want to continue the game to see what happens next.
I can already see that a lot of my choices are going to make a big difference later on in the game. You have a few different options for each interaction and it’s easy to see that some of these will affect Chloe’s path in big ways later on. For instance, I chose to not steal some money in one sequence of the episode. I had access to Chloe’s mom’s purse after that. Would I have been able to slip her some money? Who knows, but it’s within the realm of possibility. There were multiple other instances like that that really stayed true to the Life is Strange formula.
Before the Storm’s first episode was a good start for this prequel. It reintroduced us to Chloe Price while also introducing the mysterious Rachel Amber and gave a little bit more insight into the psyche of both characters. I’m excited to see where the next two episodes in Before the Storm take us and I really think it’s going to bring Life is Strange full circle. If you liked the first game, you’ll definitely enjoy this one.
*A copy of this game was provided to FYIG by Square-Enix for review purposes*