Thursday, December 6

Life is Strange Before the Storm Review

played on: PS4
I paid: £13.99
Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Notes: This game came out in 3 episodes but this review will cover all of them as I don’t like the idea of writing multiple reviews for 1 game.

Before the Storm is a prequel to DontNod’s amazing 2015 game Life is Strange. Unlike the original, however, this season doesn’t focus on time travel or any supernatural stuff. Personally, I feel like this was the right call as the story is now more personal and grounded.

The game itself plays very much like any of Telltale’s games with you mostly just making choices that affect the story. Now and again you will have to look around an area and solve simple puzzles but most the time it’s just talking and making decisions. I don’t want to make that sound like a negative because it’s not. The biggest difference between Life is Strange and TellTale’s games is that none of your choices are timed. You have as long as you need to think about your decisions before making them. Honestly, this is neither a good nor a bad thing but it does change how you play. You have no more rushed choices you might regret later. You can stop, think and then come to a solid conclusive decision.  The characters, voice acting, writing and story are all great with each episode making me cry at least once. I also feel like the choices you had to make this time were much more powerful. Instead of worrying about the world ending like you were in the original you’re worried about dealing with everything in your life falling apart.

You play as Chloe Price, a 16-year-old girl who recently lost her Dad in a car crash and then had her best friend move to another state. Everything she thought was solid, that she could depend on has fallen away under her feet. Her mother Joyce is dating some ex-army douche bag who doesn’t have any idea what it’s like being a young woman. All he does is try to control everything and as such Chloe rebels as most teens would do. Her world changes forever when she meets and (if you played like I did) falls in love with Rachael Amber. The two girls are feeling lost in the world but soon start to unearth secrets around both of their lives. I love how this game is less afraid to show these two girls in love. I felt like Max and Chloe were never allowed to show their affection in the original Life is Strange. They only shared 1 kiss and it was played off as a dare. Before the Storm makes it clear that the two girls are in love. They openly kiss at least once in each episode and at 1 point can even declare that this is more than friendship. Much improved over the first game.

The graphics are beautiful and although not as realistic as say Resident Evil 7, for example, the comic book art style will help this game look timeless for years. It’s not just the visuals that are great as the soundtrack is amazing with fantastic songs that never steal attention away from the plot but sound great in the background. Presentation wise this game is stunning and similar to games like Wind Waker will look just as stunning in 20 years time. I did have some minor visual glitches now and again but these were very rare. I would say about 1 each episode so it’s not a major issue at all. Other than this I had no performance problems, the frame rate never dropped and I never had the game crash at all. Very well optimised.

Overall this takes the basic idea of Life is Strange and polishes up it, removes the time travel and offers up a more grounded and enjoyable story. I really do think this is the superior game when looking at both this and the original together. Amazing voice work, gorgeous graphics, fun soundtrack and lovable characters. This is a must play for anyone into choice driven games, queer stories or well told teenage drama!

Recommendation Rating: 8 out of 10.

No comments:

Post a Comment