Warning: There are spoilers in this article.
In spite of the fact that Life is Strange: Before the Storm was released in August of 2017, it took me almost a year to get through the game in its entirety. I played a bit of it in November, then essentially let it sit on a shelf before getting back to and finishing it in June. I can’t say why I procrastinated so much, but the game was quite the experience when I finally got around to it.
I was delighted to dive back into the world of Arcadia Bay and see younger versions of the characters I’d fallen in love with in the first Life is Strange game. And it was nice to finally get introduced to Rachel Amber, the murder victim I was disappointed didn’t get any screen time in a game that included a character with time travel powers.
The central figure of Life is Strange: Before the Storm is Chloe, the angry-at-the-world punk with a heart of gold I found so endearing in the first game. Chloe is at a point in her life where she is still coping with the loss of her father, the childhood friend, Max, she was so close with has stopped writing, and she sees her mom’s new boyfriend as an intruder in both their lives.
Rachel comes into Chloe’s life at a point when the latter really needs a friend to carry her through a dark period. What makes their budding friendship so intriguing is that Chloe and Rachel are polar opposites – or at least that’s how it seems to be at the start of the game. Right off the bat, Rachel is perceived as a straight-laced honor student whose life must be perfect since she comes from a loving household and her father is the D.A. But her association with Chloe as the game progresses reveals that Rachel has a dark side.
Though I was glad to delve into a story revolving around Chloe and Rachel, it was also tragic to see them dream of a future they’d both ultimately be denied. While it’s nice to see them find some degree of happiness by the end of Life of Strange: Before the Storm, such a thing is marred by the knowledge that their lives are cut short with the next chronological game in the series.
The story is also a bit soured by the knowledge that Rachel will have broken all of her promises to Chloe by the time of her demise. I would have liked to see a bit more of their story to get a sense of what led to this betrayal.
On the contrary, one of the things I like best about Before the Storm is that it looks to have multiple endings. It is a game that I can see myself playing through at least half a dozen times to see the various conclusions.
The game also has a side story revolving around Max after she and her family have moved away from Arcadia Bay. I have yet to delve into this part of Before the Storm. But it is a storyline I will explore in the coming days.
I know there is a Life is Strange 2 in production that will feature a completely new story, location, and set of characters. It was nice that the characters of the original game were given a bit of a send-off, and I hope that those introduced in the sequel will be equally as likable and endearing.