This Life is Strange: Before the Storm review was delayed because I want­ed to see how all the episodes played out, before mak­ing any deci­sions. Before the Storm con­sists of only three episodes, each about 5 hours in total. It wasn’t devel­oped by Dontn­od Enter­tain­ment, which was the stu­dio that devel­oped Life is Strange. Before the Storm was devel­oped by Deck Nine and both games were pub­lished by Square Enix.


As this is before Life is Strange, the sto­ry fol­lows Chloe Price, a younger ver­sion of her­self from the pre­vi­ous game. Dur­ing the course of all the episodes, Chloe strug­gles with the death of her father and refers to his death sev­er­al times through­out. In episode one, Chloe goes to see a rock band at an old mill where she meets Rachel Amber for the first time. This sparks the jour­ney between these two teenagers through­out all the episodes. Spoil­ing sto­ries on games, espe­cial­ly ones that revolve so heavy on the sto­ry, is not my thing. So, that’s all you get.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm Review - All Episodes
Chloe meet­ing Rachel for the first time at the Old Mill.


Before the Storm obvi­ous­ly didn’t have the same time trav­el sys­tem as the orig­i­nal. Instead it tout­ed a new mechan­ic, “Back­talk”, which allows you to argue your way through con­ver­sa­tions. Back­talk can help you if  done prop­er­ly, but can also get you into even worse sit­u­a­tions. As the first, this game is made up of dia­logue choic­es, some that have a last­ing impact for the sto­ry depend­ing on your deci­sion.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm Review - All Episodes
One Back­talk event at Black­well
Life is Strange: Before the Storm Review - All Episodes
Your deci­sions still mat­ter

Deck Nine also intro­duced the abil­i­ty to jog, instead of just walk­ing at a very slow pace through the entire game. This adjust­ment was, by far, one of the best addi­tions to the entire series.

Anoth­er idea imple­ment­ed by Deck Nine, was Graf­fi­ti. As Chloe is not a pho­tog­ra­ph­er like Max was, she tags objects in the envi­ron­ment for the sheer joy of mess­ing with peo­ple. Per­son­al­ly, I find that to be way more inter­est­ing than the pho­tos. Although, find­ing them is rather easy, and a chal­lenge would have been appre­ci­at­ed.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm Review - All Episodes
You can tag objects when you see the Graf­fi­ti option


Deck Nine did a rel­a­tive­ly decent job with adjust­ing how this game looks. They obvi­ous­ly used some assets from the orig­i­nal game, but added sev­er­al new areas which were nev­er in Life is Strange. Also, char­ac­ters didn’t look as if they were talk­ing ahead of them­selves. Tim­ing of lip move­ments with the voice actors was great­ly improved. Deck Nine was cho­sen to com­plete this project, because of Sto­ry­Forge tools, which is what made the dif­fer­ence between Before the Storm and Life is Strange.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm Review - All Episodes
Junk­yard from Life is Strange

The UI is very much like the orig­i­nal, along with all the lit­tle details through­out like, the choic­es hav­ing the same etched pen­cil look, the jour­nal type menu, and inter­act­ing with objects (which also still had the same “shift­ing etched pen­cil mark­ings”).

Life is Strange: Before the Storm Review - All Episodes
Jour­nal entry and oth­er infor­ma­tion


Episode 1

Episode one real­ly brings out the char­ac­ters that are Chloe Price and Rachel Amber. You real­ly get a sense of their per­son­al­i­ties. Chloe has the same demeanor as she did in Life is Strange, although she is younger here, show­ing how vul­ner­a­ble she can be. She still fights with her moth­er and David along with very com­bat­ive dia­logue with Prin­ci­pal Wells (from Black­well Acad­e­my). How­ev­er, she does appear to be more social towards the oth­er, less­er, char­ac­ters such as Mikey and Steph (who you even get a chance to play a table­top game with).

Life is Strange: Before the Storm Review - All Episodes
Chloe head­ing towards Steph and Mikey, who are play­ing a D&D type game.

Rachel is also devel­oped quite nice­ly, show­ing how spon­ta­neous and sophis­ti­cat­ed she can be. She appears to care for Chloe very ear­ly on, which does seem quite forced for both char­ac­ters. Rachel car­ries her­self in a very “per­former-like” man­ner, which is what you might expect from her. Because of Rachel’s charis­mat­ic per­son­al­i­ty, she is almost the exact oppo­site of Chloe, mak­ing their inter­ac­tions extreme­ly pleas­ant to be a part of.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm Review - All Episodes


Episode 2

Dur­ing episode two, Chole and Rachel bond even fur­ther, becom­ing intense rather quick­ly. This tran­si­tion is extreme­ly fast con­sid­er­ing how long their rela­tion­ship has been. The whole “star-crossed lover” rou­tine is quite unap­peal­ing and leaves an awk­ward taste in your mouth.

Though the devel­op­ment of their char­ac­ters sep­a­rate­ly is on par with the first episode, you do start to feel for both of the char­ac­ters and the dif­fer­ent strug­gles they are endur­ing. Rachel has an effect on Chloe that brings her out of the shell she has with­drawn into since her father died. The dia­logue between the two is always excel­lent. Episode two also has a seri­ous cliffhang­er at the end, which will make you sec­ond guess a lot of what you saw dur­ing this episode.

Episode 3

Episode three was… a bit of an odd­ball from the oth­er two. Episode one and two focused on char­ac­ter devel­op­ment and includ­ed a bit of the Back­talk mechan­ic dur­ing each episode. How­ev­er, this one only had one Back­talk con­ver­sa­tion in it, which seri­ous­ly affect­ed its game­play over­all. They also had very few choic­es that would alter the way the sto­ry played out, which is a major part of this game. Most of the con­tent in episode three includes long cutscenes.

The cliffhang­er from episode two may have inter­fered with how the devel­op­ers were able to move for­ward with the mechan­ics. The whole time you are try­ing to fig­ure out this mys­tery with Rachel, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to imple­ment the new Back­talk mechan­ic. Chloe also was so focused on help­ing Rachel, that it felt like Chloe was Max this time around. In Life is Strange, it always felt like Chloe was tak­ing advan­tage of Max and her pow­ers. I had a bunch of deja vu moments, feel­ing that Chloe was only help­ing Rachel because of how she felt towards her. Rachel was all about Rachel and didn’t real­ly take Chloe’s feel­ings into con­sid­er­a­tion dur­ing this episode.

The Bot­tom Line

If you enjoyed the sto­ry of Life is Strange, you will like Before the Storm. It has a great sto­ry, with plen­ty of depth involved with the main char­ac­ters. How­ev­er, the last episode does not trans­late well with the rest of the game. It makes it awk­ward to play because of the lack of play. For the major­i­ty of the game, it plays and feels a lot like the orig­i­nal. How­ev­er, it does have its flaws, includ­ing the very off-putting third episode and the over­ly fast devel­op­ment between the two main char­ac­ters.