Wednesday, September 6

Life is Strange: Before the Storm - Episode 1 Review

The story of Max and Chloe, the protagonists of the 2015 title, ended in different ways depending on the decisions made at the end of the last chapter, but still, Square Enix announced that the franchise would not have ended there, and that the second season would come at some point. And even if you think that the moment has arrived, I will tell you that it isn't so. Life is Strange: Before the Storm is a prelude to the events that took place in the first game. Deck Nine's team has been at the forefront of the development of this prequel, starring the stubborn Chloe, in an Arcadia Bay that is getting harder and harder without the support of her friend Max who recently moved to Seattle.


The title repeats a similar formula again from the previous title. The game is format divided into chapters, this time in 3 episodes. This first chapter can last about 3 hours where you will explore various scenarios. Even so, if you are one of those who like to explore every corner again, it's available after the episode has passed in the Collection Mode. In this mode, you can return to different scenarios in order to find each of the graffiti tags that you can do, and unlock some quite affordable achievements that your gamerscore will appreciate.

In Before the Storm, your decisions are more permanent as there is no rewind option. So let's not forget the decisions you make and think of the consequences of each action you take.

You will have three save slots available for each game, which makes it very interesting for those who want to see all the options that may be available and their consequences in each dialogue


You return to Arcadia Bay to play as Chloe as she is attending Blackwell Academy as a student. Before the Storm events are based on 2010, a time before Life is Strange. At the moment, Max is living in Seattle, and seems to be giving no sign of wanting to talk to the new protagonist. In her absence, Chloe begins her rebellious epoch, where without pretending to be, she encounters the well-known Rachel Amber, one of the key pillars of the story.

On this occasion, you will get to know the characters from the beginning of the turbulent mystery surrounding Arcadia Bay and the Blackwell Academy. The gameplay is very similar to what you the previous game had, sans the rewind abilities. This time, you control Chloe and you have to explore every corner of the world in order to make progress in the story ahead. Interaction with objects, with people (which will often unlock new dialogue options) and even a small mini-game. But here comes the question that many people asked themselves when announcing Chloe as the protagonist: If the main mechanics of the game was the possibility of delaying time a little, what can be done in Before the Storm if Chloe doesn't have the powers?

Deck Nine's team has been very creative and what you have here has fascinated me. This time, since Chloe's personality is quite reactive, you can have dialogue options such as "Intervene". As soon as you are in it, you start a small battle of words. Where you will have to refute the other person's arguments by means of certain dialogue options that are adequate to be able to finish the debate or discussion while you are winning. An interesting proposal that, although it's in most cases quite simple, makes time travel in the background.

The small subtle winks to popular culture (which you will not be the one who will destroy it), the growth in Chloe's way of being, her feelings and emotions towards Rachel, the adolescent humor and music make this small title great that without a doubt her action will have consequences.

Graphics & Design

If you've played Life is Strange (2015), with this new episode of Before the Storm, you will repeat the same visual scene that makes the title so characteristic. Backgrounds blurred, as if watercolor paintings were in every color, Arcadia Bay looks exactly the same as it did in the first title. The animations, which in 2015 were somewhat rough, are repeated again, except in Chloe, where it is noticeable that the team has made an effort to make it very realistic in terms of both expressions and animations in general. This is a double-edged sword, since even though Chloe is the protagonist of this new installment and will take up a great deal of screen time, the comparison with the other characters is quite overwhelming.

Likewise, it doesn't take away the fact that the artistic section has its peculiar touch that makes Life is Strange unique, and as always, it perfectly fulfills the performance for this graphic adventure. The engine used is the one already known in the franchise, the Unity engine.

But if there's one thing that stands out about Life is Strange: Before the Storm, is it's music section. The choice of the series tone of its musical repertoire repeats it once again in this title. This time, under Daughter's guidance, the British group has made almost the entire repertoire of the title, which they have written specifically for the game. An enjoyable paragraph, which the creators themselves have realized is an asset to be reckoned with, and so they have created a mode that is within the Deluxe Edition of the game called' Musical Mix Center'. In this mode, you can make a playlist of the available songs and a relaxing sequence of Chloe in your room, listening to the music you have played. A fantastic addition indeed. Music in Life is Strange is so key to the story itself.


With Life is Strange: Before the Storm, we're looking at a brilliant adventure again. Chloe's emotional journey is only the beginning of what we still have left in another two episodes that will also be developed by Deck Nine, the team that takes over from this prequel, which has undoubtedly grasped the concept and raised it to the same level as DONTNOD. Also there is a bonus episode entitled "Farwell" where you will play as Max for the last time.

The first episode, called "Awake" is perfect for those who were eagerly awaiting the title, as the expectations placed on it have been more than surpassed. It's a pity that the chapters are so short, and despite a small improvement in animations, the engine remains the same and it's capabilities are still used in the same way. Even so, its artistic aspect is so characteristic that it has an impact on history that it's undoubtedly a unique experience.


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