LIFE IS STRANGE: BEFORE THE STORM
By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on September 5, 2017
More than two years ago, Dontnod Entertainment and Square Enix blew us away with their amazing game, Life is Strange. The adventure of Max Caulfield and her time manipulating powers was beautiful, thrilling and intense. So yeah, I have high hopes for this prequel and as of August 31 we can finally play the first episode.
This time Deck Nine was chosen to develop the prequel. And to be honest, I was a little worried about that. Dontnod did a terrific job with Life is Strange. Sure, Square Enix is the publisher so there are high standards I presume, but still. Would Deck Nine be able to pull this off? Would they offer the same awesome and intense experience? After completing this first episode, I can gladly say they did!
Life is Strange: Before the Storm is an excellent way to get to know Max's best friend, Chloe Price, a little better. She's mad because of what happened to her father and how Max left her. Chloe is still the troubled youngster and always seems to get in some kind of trouble. And of course it's never her fault. But then Rachel Amber comes into her life and it's the beginning of a turbulent friendship and impressive adventure. Because the time-manipulation mechanic is Max's thing, we won't use any of it when playing as Chloe. This, however, doesn't mean it is a step back in any way. If nothing else, it means that you'll have to carefully think about your choices, because you can't rewind time and try again!
In the first episode of Life is Strange: Before the Storm, we'll see some course familiar faces, that is, if you've played the first game. Connie, David, Frank and I even crossed paths with Nathan Prescott. I don't know why exactly, but every time I see someone I know from the previous game, I hold my breath for a moment because I know already what their future holds.
But there are also some new faces. One morning when Chloe wakes up, she gets a text message from a class mate to come and collect a dvd before class. When she does, Chloe is invited to a match of Dungeons & Dragons-like game. And judging by the possible answers I saw, I think you can be occupied with this for some time. But as you might know from the previous part, it's totally up to you.
During the press presentation of the game during GamesCom 2017 it was explained to us, how you can choose your outfit at the beginning of each episode. In this episode I choose for a shirt with a skeleton/butterfly creature on it. And I actually got a response during from my classmates about my shirt. But was it a positive comment and did it work in my advantage? I leave it up to you to discover this for yourself.
I love this kind of details in this game and how everything suits the life of a teenager. Clothing and your personal style is important, especially for teenagers. And the choice of using backtalk to get your way, manipulate the situation. Who didn't talk back to people when you were a teenager, while talking to parents, teachers and other people with their because-it's-best-for-you rules? It can work to your advantage, but at what price? Another cool feature is the way to show the player their objective. In Before the Storm there are no shiny travel points or maps to guide you. What better way for a teenager to remember what you had to do, than writing it on your hand? Loving it!
While playing the game, there are several points at which you can create graffiti. And it seems that the developers suspected that you might miss a spot or two because you were too busy making choices and playing the game. That's why they came up with the Collector mode. In this mode you can replay parts of an episode. The choices you make while playing this mode won't be saved, so this mode will not affect your campaign. The only thing that will be saved is your progress when it comes to the graffiti. Nice addition, right?
Life is Strange: Before the Storm offers you everything you hope for. You want a similar intense story, decision making and great characters. At the same time you also like to see something new. In my opinion Deck Nine and Square Enix nailed it perfectly. I can't wait for the other two episodes to launch, to see how strange life can actually get!