Thursday, October 26

Life is Strange: Before the Storm - Episode 2 Review

A little less than two months ago we returned to Arcadia Bay, from the hand of Chloe Price, who this time relieved Max as the protagonist of the story. For the first time, we could get into Chloe's skin and explore her own rebellious personality. Deck Nine proved that he knew the characters of the Life is Strange universe to embark on a project as complex as it's to build the past of one of the pillars that made the title of 2015 leave us such good feelings. Now, in "Brave New World," the second chapter of Life is Strange: Before the Storm, we enter more into a narrative that promises to live up to the game of Dontnod Entertainment. Will they have it? Throughout the next few lines, we will see in detail, all without gutting absolutely nothing of the plot so that each player, can discover the secrets that the game hides on it's own.


The second chapter of the trilogy, has the same duration as the first chapter, few parts of game in open mode with the possibility of exploring the place, and graffiti as collectibles, can add life time to this second chapter. Personally, I expect much more in terms of duration of this second chapter, taking into account that it is the knot of the history, doesn't get to tie all the strings and there are many things left unresolved, but the approximate duration of the chapter, arrives at 3 or 4 hours.


Life is Strange is a game that is probably not for everyone, that is clear from the first minute of game. With Max Caulfield as protagonist, you had the mechanics of time travel, which allowed the study to create situations that could never happen but for their existence. In Life is Strange: Before the Storm i find a very different situation. Chloe can not travel in time, which makes the end product a bit more leisurely than it's predecessor. Does this mean that it is a boring game? Not much less, but it does make it more complicated to surprise the player with incredible plot turns. Chloe's own rebellious personality will be the one who creates such surreal situations that, in addition to having mostly unexpected outcomes and surprising the player, are totally credible.

If i take this into account, i find that the prequel story focuses almost entirely on exploring Chloe's personality. This is quite a success. Max Caulfield was a character who, for better or for worse, was much flatter and more neutral. It made sense, that allowed almost any player to identify with her and to live Life is Strange as if it were happening in first person and not in other people's skin. Before the Storm is very different in that aspect, Chloe Price has a very marked personality. Here the player is a mere spectator watching what happens to Chloe. This could be a mistake, but because of how brilliantly characterized the character is, it's certainly a big contributor to the greatness of Life is Strange: Before the Storm. At all times, you will be listening to what is happening to the girl through the head, both because she directly thinks of it as high as by the messages of her cell phone, newspaper entries, graffiti you can go painting as collectibles etc ...

In the first episode of Before the Storm, you found that Max and his absence had a major impact on Chloe's mood. Throughout the chapter, and since you met Rachel Amber, that emptiness in Chloe's heart seems to fill up little by little. In this second chapter, in which, remember, the season having only 3 chapters will exceed half the game, the role of Rachel Amber in the life of Chloe Price takes on a new dimension. The chemistry of the couple protagonist of this prequel has nothing to envy the link that we find between Max and Chloe in Life is Strange.

It's still difficult to know if the decisions you make in Life is Strange: Before the Storm, will have a real impact on the story that tell you in the long term but, even knowing that it is possible that they hardly have repercussion, Deck Nine gets some of them are really difficult to take. Yes, it is true, for complicated decisions, the player has all the time he needs to meditate on a response, but for those accustomed to Life is Strange and to be able to revoke a decision taken by going back in time, it is important to note that here you don't have that option. The decisions are finals decisions, you will not be able to change them. This is evidently nothing new, Telltale Games is one of the greatest exponents of this type of games and has been doing since The Walking Dead, even putting many times a time limit to make that decision even more complicated.

As in life itself, it is possible that what you think is right, will end up hurting someone you didn't anticipate. There is never a clearly good option and a clearly bad option, there is always the doubt of what impact your actions will have, which is positive. As a negative point, the immediate impact of them seems very light or directly zero, something that i suspected at the end of the first episode but, with the passing of minutes of play, becomes increasingly evident.

The new mechanic that takes advantage of Chloe's dialectic to get what she wants continues to be present in this second chapter. This time is much more used than in the first, because the times in which you can intervene to get information to some characters really is very complicated to know if it is right or not and in addition, getting that information is much more satisfactory . Even so, the mechanics themselves are poorly engineered. The truth is that the vast majority of the times you enter this innovative "dialogue mode", you can be almost certain, that you will be victorious. It's much easier to win than to lose so, being something totally optional, the sense of risk is unfortunately lost completely.

Graphics & Design

In the analysis of the chapter that opened the doors to Life is Strange: Before the Storm, i emphasized how important is the musical cut for the now saga and how terribly wasted it was. There were moments when, for example, i sat on a bench with Chloe totally optional to admire the landscape in which it was missing the possibility to put on some helmets and give the play to the music while you let the time run. This is not crazy, as it was in Life is Strange (for example, on the swing in the little garden of Chloe's house).

Brave New World, makes the same mistakes again, but to a lesser extent. The feeling in playing the chapter is that it has given much more importance to the presence of the musical frame that surrounds the gameplay. In addition, there will be several moments in which you can put the music to your will. An example is the possibility of turning on or off a radio at your will, to listen to music while exploring an open area of ​​the game.


The second episode of Life is Strange: Before the Storm, manages to surprise by telling a story that delights by itself. If to this you add the unique musical and artistic frame that characterizes the title, you have a game that fulfills well with it's pretensions. Even so, it's obvious that it is not perfect. Some mechanics are sadly wasted and the decisive moments in the plot, especially when composing only of 3 episodes, are perhaps a little scarce. The first episode left me with many more questions than answers and, to an episode of closing this prequel, almost all those questions remain an unknown.


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