Life is Strange: Before the Storm - Episode One (Review)

A look at Episode 1 of Life is Strange: Before the Storm, and how it adds new depth to a tale we already know and love. 

1 month ago by Morgan Shaver

Life is Strange is notable for a variety of reasons including its relatable characters and clever storytelling methods. Spanning five episodes, Life is Strange slowly introduced players to Max Caulfield and her wayward friend, Chloe Price, back in 2015. There’s a lot of prequel material embedded within Life is Strange, and it’s this material that finds new life in Life is Strange: Before the Storm.

Rather than follow time twister Max, Life is Strange: Before the Storm gives us new insight into Chloe and her complicated relationship with Rachel Amber. While playing through Episode One of Life is Strange: Before the Storm, I found myself enjoying the prequel more than the original title. This was rather unexpected, as Life is Strange has always been one of my all-time favorite indies.

Despite this, I found myself drawn to Chloe’s “backtalk” powers over Max’s time travel capabilities. Having Chloe use her sass to outsmart her way out of tricky situations really grounds the game in realism, and makes sense in relation to Chloe’s character. Additionally, I always found Chloe to be more interesting and complex than Max.

This may be because whenever I look back at my own teenage and early college years, I see a mirror image of Chloe Price. Even if you’re unable to wrap your mind around Chloe, you'll appreciate having the ability to explore the world of Life is Strange through a distinctly new perspective. Simply put, it's a nice touch.

As you make your way through Episode One, you’re reintroduced to an array of familiar characters from the first game. These characters include Chloe’s irritating stepdad David, unlikeable bully Victoria Chase, and Chloe’s deceased father via emotional flashbacks. The flashbacks in particular can be extremely heavy, and make you feel Chloe’s loss with greater intensity.

Episode One doesn’t overwhelm you by delving too far into each individual character, although you do pick up interesting new tidbits about them. Unsurprisingly, you gain even more knowledge about Max through Chloe’s unsent letters and disappointing text messages. I knew Max was somewhat of a lousy friend from the first Life is Strange game, but Episode One of Before The Storm really hammers this imagery home.

I get the sense that once Life is Strange: Before the Storm comes to a close, players will want to rush back and play through the first game again in order to tie together everything they’ve learned. This is the best example of why Life is Strange: Before the Storm will likely prove to be a huge success once all of the episodes have become available.

Having access to only one of these episodes means that it’s still too early to judge the prequel in depth. I feel I really need to play through more episodes to determine whether or not Life is Strange: Before the Storm holds up (or surpasses) its predecessor. Nevertheless, from what I’ve seen so far, the game has massive amounts of potential. It’s fun, engaging, and different in all the right ways.

It offers new perspective on the first game, and increases relatability by giving players the opportunity to play as Chloe, who’s as “opposite” to Max as you can get. If you love Life is Strange, I highly recommend diving into Episode One of Life is Strange: Before the Storm. The only real downside is once you finish Episode One, you’ll have to wait until Episode Two is released to continue your journey.

Pros
  • Offers new perspective on familiar Life is Strange characters.
  • Introduces new gameplay mechanics.
  • Provides enough emotional weight and depth to keep you engaged.
Cons
  • Having to wait for each subsequent episode to be released.