With e3 life is strange before the storm was announced and people are wrongly proclaiming it to be life is strange 2 when we know dontnod entertainment are working on life is strange 2 and it is going to be completely separate in characters and storyline from the original, this is simply what I would refer to as a standalone dlc, made by a Deck Nine and being a prequel to the existing game and trying to match the characters and storyline which itself has it’s own flaws.
In before the storm you play as chloe price, formerly the sidekick of max who entirely selfishly focused upon finding out the fate of rachel amber with no thought or care for anyone else let alone max this game is set in the time when chloe first met rachel and how their bond and friendship grows to fight the challenges of the world around them. The game is set over three episodes with an optional bonus episode where you play once again as max as a child probably without rewind powers and not important to the main story.
You can see some aspects in which they’ve attempted to recreate the original gameplay mechanics, firstly cloning max’s photography ability with chloe now tagging everywhere with graffiti perhaps not understanding that it was most likely nathan prescott dealing with his psychosis tagging everywhere and especially the residence of those who wronged him, and also tagging his beloved vortex club’s logo everywhere as he felt he was all powerful and beyond reproach and wanted everyone to know how he and his family ruled the town, whereas this game makes chloe the tagger, just to replace photography as a gameplay mechanic you can use for achievements and something hidden to look for, and not only that instead of the vortex club logo it’s just an illuminati eye you have to wonder if there was any consultation with the original writers of the game to ensure there was continuity between the two titles.
The next problem they had was the fact that chloe clearly couldn’t rewind time and they needed some mechanic to replace this, of course in the original game chloe had become so focused on finding rachel that she was narrow and focused and willing to do whatever it took to get to her and make those who hurt her pay, this game seems to have taken that but made chloe keep this before ever even meeting rachel. I feel this doesn’t go well as the character progression because I feel under the military father she would have been quite repressed and not so outgoing, she had a secret hideaway with rachel in the scrap yard and clearly she opened up to rachel in ways she couldn’t with anyone else and would not have been the bolshy outgoing selfish individual she because, it was only through losing rachel she was galvanized into that in my opinion.
Regardless of how you see the character chloe before meeting rachel the issue is that the barbed tongue doesn’t replace the external gameplay mechanics added through the time travel abilities, there was a lot that was added through being able to find out facts with someone and go back and then create further narrative and choose how you wanted to progress conversations, and then onto time based puzzles where you used the time travel ability to do things before consequences happened and use this to progress through the game, and it was also integral to the entire plot of the game, whereas a simple choice to use wit or agressive talk to get your way does not add a lot to the gameplay and it could leave it feeling a little bare and boring as a game outside of the conversations and a little too much like a telltale game adventure, with pointless walking around between the conversational aspects and then a few choices which really make little difference whatever you pick.
The game does promise multiple endings, however it remains to be seen just how diverse you could get over three episodes especially without any form of powers to make big differences to the world, and at the end of the day it’s pretty predetermined that rachel is going to go missing in the end even if it isn’t during this storyline, and that is another big problem this developer needs to face, not only is the game only three episodes and such a short time to tell a good story but also what could you do to live up to the grand climax of the escalation of consequences with max’s time travel powers (or in fact just being drugged and overdosed by jefferson and perceiving the world crashing down around her in the final throws of life) They would have to introduce a grand jeapordy and resolve it in such a short period of time whilst also developing the character relationship between chloe and rachel that I just can’t see a big draw at this point for a well written storyline, to me it just feels like a cash grab on the life is strange franchise trying to get a little extra out of it in the gap between the original and a sequel, without playing it I can’t tell you anything for a fact but from the trailer and the teasers on the twitch e3 coverage I don’t feel like there’s going to be a lot to this, yes there’s a little jeapordy in the club and at some mechanic’s place but it doesn’t feel a fraction of the grandiose world ending cataclysm max was facing, and the relationship between chloe and rachel doesn’t feel anywhere near as emotional as kate’s storyline arc. I will play the free first episode and see what I have to say based upon that but the choice of character wasn’t the best for me, any of the other characters even minor ones felt more human than chloe to me, and if they had to persue this relationship I feel rachel would have been the best to have as the main character as it allowed more freedom on a creative perspective and would have felt less intrusive to fans.
I just hope this doesn’t ruin things for a sequel because I can see a lot of fans being let down by this title without any powers or rewind ability, and simply being a storyline perhaps twisting characters out of shape and not understanding the subtleties of telling a great story like the original did, I never was close to chloe as a character as she was a selfish brat but it remains to be seen just how this will go down, I also provide a few theories on what would have made a better choice for this game or even the sequel dontnod stated they were working on if they were to follow the original storyline in some form.
Check out life is strange: before the storm for yourself on steam http://store.steampowered.com/app/554620/agecheck