I loved the original Life is Strange, it’s use of complex decisions and the enticing story had me hooked from the first episode. However, I wasn’t a fan of Chloe. Chloe always convinced Max to do what she wanted, especially to help her in her quest to find Rachel Amber. This all changed after the first episode of Life is Strange: Before the Storm. Suddenly all the distaste I had for Chloe was replaced with empathy, as this teenage girl tried to find hope after losing so much. Life is Strange: Before the Storm is an outstanding tale of a girl finding joy and happiness in a world she believes has given up on her.

A Better Understanding of Chloe

Life is Strange: Before the Storm takes place before the original game. Max is gone and Chloe lost her father years ago in a car accident, feeling alone and abandoned she lashes out at people and cares little about her future. This bleak view falls apart after meeting Rachel Amber, a popular and acclaimed student of Beacon Academy and known throughout Arcadia Bay. Now filled with new support Chloe begins to let someone new in that breaks her previously cruel outlook on the world.

Chloe still acts out in a burst of anger when vexed, but here you gain insight into her behavior. You can hear what’s going on in her mind to give context to why she’s annoyed all the time. Losing her father and her only friend, and now feeling betrayed by her mother dating a new person, she feels abandoned. In Max’s adventure this information was provided but playing as Chloe it gave a first-hand perspective of how alone she is. This sense of abandonment is amplified when reading through her texts, journal, and revisiting scattered memories.

Much of Before the Storm’s story is better understood for those who played the original game. While the writers do introduce key information about the game’s setting, Arcadia Bay, and the people having played the previous game gives more context. Certain actions are never explained and instead assumed since they’re explained in the original game.

Challenge Authority

Much of Before the Storm will have you making choices that alter the story. These are usually timed and offer up to 4 choices, with 2 choices offered in more paramount decisions. Each choice changes how characters will interact with Chloe. While it may seem like the player is given choices that the Chloe from Max’s adventure wouldn’t say the writers have done a fantastic job of ensuring that her character remains true to her original concept.

Defeating a bully or an annoying principal does provide a sense of teenage accomplishment, and that’s what Before the Storm does well; making you feel like a teenager. Supporting characters such as Chloe’s mother Joyce attempts to speak with Chloe with a soft touch, attempting to act as a mother but also support her daughter. Chloe is constantly annoyed how persistently she pushes her boyfriend, David, into accepting him but failing to acknowledge this is just as much about Joyce trying to move on. Many of the people Chloe disagrees with turn into villains as she verbally abuses them, a predictable action from an irritable teen.

Teenage Love

These teenage issues only become more problematic as the episodes continue, with greater problems beginning to surface. Without spoiling much, Chloe finds out that Rachel doesn’t live the ideal life that many thought. She and Chloe have a lot more in common, with the two slowly gaining each other’s trust.

It feels rushed but it captures the sparkle in a way only teenage love can. They bond over similar taste in music and talk about nonsense but support each other when the weight of the world crushes them. Both Chloe and Rachel aid one another emotionally by providing comfort in ways no one else can. This sense of support is not only provided in the game’s excellent writing but soundtrack and animation.

It’s clear that a lot of work went into ensuring each performance was rock solid for each interaction. Voice actors do a phenomenal job of capturing each character whether it’s Joyce shocked about Chloe’s behavior or Victoria Chase condescending attitude. The animations share this same quality such as tears streaming down avatar faces during emotional scenes or David forcing a fistbump between him and Chloe.

The Power of Words

Unlike Max, Chloe isn’t gifted with unexplained powers. She cannot rewind time and must rely on her quick wit and brash attitude to get things done. Newly added is the backtalk option, which allows Chloe to challenge specific people to an argument. Chloe and the person are given a specific about of arguments to win, if successful the other person gives in to Chloe and if you lost the opposite happens. Other breaks in the narrative include puzzles, which are simple but are essential stepping stones for the narrative to continue.

An Emotional Rollercoaster

Life is Strange: Before the Storm starts strong and ends with a bang. The story is definitely better if you played Life is Strange but experiencing the Chloe and Rachel’s journey isn’t one to be missed. The talkback mechanic can’t replace the time manipulation powers of Max but roleplaying as an angsty teen did yield entertaining results. Life is Strange: Before the Storm digs deep into the emotional tale of Chloe and Rachel that you’ll want to see.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm Review
The Pros
  • Great Writing
  • Excellent Characters
  • Outstanding Ending
The Cons
  • Dull Puzzles
9Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)
8.8

About The Author

Adam S
Sr.Staff Writer

Adam is a Senior Staff Writer for GamerAssaultWeekly with over 5 years of experience in writing and is completely obsessed with video games. He holds a BA from Brooklyn College and lives in NY.