Life is Strange: Before the Storm (2017-2018) is a prequel to the video game Life is Strange (2015). Both video games are released in episodes, with Life is Strange featuring five episodes, and Life is Strange: Before the Storm featuring three episodes and a bonus episode with the purchase of the Deluxe Edition.
While you don't necessarily have to play Life is Strange to enjoy Life is Strange: Before the Storm, it does make more of an emotional impact if you play Life is Strange first, especially if you want to play the bonus episode, Farewell.
Life is Strange follows the friendship of Max and Chloe. Max and Chloe were childhood friends whose friendship drifted apart when Max moved away from their small town in Oregon to Seattle. Max and Chloe reunite when Max moves back to Oregon to attend an elite private school, and Max soon learns that she is able to rewind time. The story follows Max and Chloe as Max discovers the consequences of this new power.
In Life is Strange: Before the Storm, we follow Chloe and find out what her life was like after Max moved away from Oregon. Chloe develops a strong relationship with her new friend Rachel Amber and we learn how much Chloe has changed after several traumatic events in her life. The bonus episode follows Max and Chloe a few days before Max is due to move to Seattle.
In the bonus episode Farewell, the game features the same style of gameplay it has featured in the previous episodes. You are free to explore the environment and interact with objects. You play as Max, and you have the option to take pictures with a polaroid camera. The camera belongs to Chloe's father, William, and although the pictures aren't in a scrapbook like the rest of the games, they are featured on a map that Max and Chloe drew together.
In the game, you are hanging out with Chloe, helping her clean up her room. You are in her house for almost the whole game until towards the end, when you hang out outside of her house in the backyard. You only interact with Chloe in the game and do not see Joyce or William. This episode really does seem to be a dedicated farewell to Max and Chloe, so if you are a big fan of the story of Max and Chloe, this is a really great episode to play. Just keep in mind that it is just as compelling and heartbreaking as the other episodes, so be prepared to cry at the end if you have before.
There's not a lot to write about the game without spoiling the game, so I wrote the rest of the review under the spoilers portion of this article towards the bottom of the page.
If you love this game, you might also love:
Life is Strange (2015)
The Walking Dead (2012) (Telltale Games)
The Last of Us (2013)
Did I like this game? Why or why not?
I did like this game a lot. It was a great ending to the Max and Chloe story, which I have enjoyed very much. I did cry at the end, but that's pretty normal for me when playing these games as they create such a real, engaging, and emotional story.
Would I play this again?
I would definitely play this again, although I would give myself some time between playing the episodes because they are hard to take all at once.
(Minor spoilers at first, then major spoilers at the end- don't worry, they are labeled)
(Minor Spoilers) In the game, Max and Chloe spend the morning cleaning up Chloe's room because Joyce asked Chloe to get rid of the junk in her room. Max can interact with objects in the room and reminisce and/or ask Chloe if she wants to get rid of some things. Chloe says no to everything by the way, so it's easier to just interact with everything first without asking her to get rid of anything. Once you ask, it seems to get you to the next checkpoint, so interact first, then ask her.
After cleaning up, Max and Chloe find a series of clues leading them to find a treasure map they wrote for themselves when they were younger. It was a lot of fun seeking out clues to find the treasure, and I really liked how William was integrated into the story of their buried treasure. It was a bittersweet ending to his story and it made me appreciate the writers of Life is Strange even more.
The big choices in the game are that Max has to decide whether or not to tell Chloe that she is moving to Seattle in three days. You can choose to tell Chloe at three separate occasions in person or not at all, (if you choose not to tell her, this results in Max to leaving Chloe a message after she leaves for Seattle, which is pretty messed up, honestly). I chose to tell Chloe in the living room and it went well.
(Major spoilers) After the day is over, we learn that this is the day when William was killed and it's so heartbreaking to see Chloe break down, and even more heartbreaking to look back at Life is Strange and know that Max didn't talk to her almost the whole time she was in Seattle.
In the end, we see Max, Chloe, and Joyce at William's funeral and Max leaving with her parents at the end of the funeral. I cried a lot when this happened. I was kind of like, damn Max, you can't even stay until the end of the funeral? Then the most heartbreaking part came when Chloe went back to her room after the funeral alone, and listens to a tape Max left her.
Now, if you told Chloe that you were leaving before you left for Seattle, the tape is a little easier to take, but if you didn't, it's that much worse and even though I wasn't the one who abandoned Chloe, it felt like I did and I felt terrible for her. To see Chloe curled up in a ball in so much pain was really hard to take and I kind of hated Max in that moment. Chloe is such a deeply emotional and loyal friend and her dad, who was her best friend, died suddenly. After one of the most traumatic events in her life, Max just leaves and doesn't even try to keep in touch? If I were Chloe, I probably wouldn't have talked to Max when she came back, but Chloe is loyal and forgiving and she becomes friends with Max again.
I kind of wonder if the writers get together and say, yeah, how can we make them cry this time? I mean, I just know playing these episodes that I will cry and there's no getting around it. I think this was such a great ending to the story of Max and Chloe and I'm appreciative of the writers and their talents.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.