by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
Being a teenager is tough. At least that’s what my teenage daughter tells me. Yes, sleeping until noon on the weekends definitely sounds tougher than getting her siblings dressed and fed whilst making sure the house is clean and they have washed and ironed clothes to wear for the following week. OK, there’s a hint of sarcasm there. But I’m sure that she has a number of issues to face that I never did. Life is Strange: Before the Storm focuses on a number of those issues that face teenagers today. In the game, you take on the role of Chloe Price, a rebellious teen who is generally somewhat of a loner now that her best friend has moved away from the dreary town of Arcadia.
Although the game is primarily a point and click adventure, it is more than that. It is a story about relationships, choices and dealing with those aforementioned teenage issues that Chloe must come to terms with. Indeed, with the decisions that are made through the course of the game, Before the Storm could be considered as an interactive story similar to the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books with multiple endings rather than the standard puzzle-solving point and click game. Depending on the choices made, the ending will be somewhat different, allowing for multiple playthroughs of this episode.
I have to admit, that when playing through the game, I often made decisions based on how I would hope that my daughter would react to the various situations - being a little more compassionate towards other characters, a touch friendlier and a fraction more naive than that of the rebellious Chloe. But, having said that, Chloe’s persona often meant that a different choice was warranted, and in those cases, I went with the more story oriented choice.
Chloe is full of emotion. She has certainly had to deal with some issues that a youngster would find hard to overcome. She shows grief over the death of her father, and a touch of anger towards her mum for moving on with her life. She shows contempt for the man that has consoled her mum and you can sense Chloe’s despair after her best friend Max moved way from Arcadia. The lack of trust that Chloe has in people resonates through much of the game. But, depending on the choices you make, Chloe can find inner strength, trust and friendship.
The game’s soundtrack perfectly replicates the moods that Chloe displays at various stages of the story. And with the music, you certainly get a feel for Chloe’s struggles to come to terms with the loss of her father. Before the Storm also contains some wonderful voice acting. The tone of the characters voices makes it much easier to understand their emotions and understand how they react at various stages throughout the episode. Chloe’s inner monologue does a great job of giving sense to Chloe’s actions.
Bring on the next episode
Although a single playthrough is rather short, the fact that the range of choices and their consequences will result in different endings, means that multiple playthroughs are a legitimate option. And with some wonderful storytelling and voice acting, Before the Storm will give players an emotional ride, one that I look forward to continuing with Episode 2: Brave New World.
Great story, wonderful voice acting