Xbox One Review: Life Is Strange: Before the Storm – Episode 1

How does the Life is Strange prequel hold up to the original?

I was a huge fan of the first Life is Strange season and am eagerly anticipating the second, but I was surprised to hear they’d be a prequel to the events of the first season with you not playing as Max, but Chloe as she becomes friends with Rachel Amber, the popular girl who ended up going missing and getting murdered in Season 1.

We never actually got to meet Rachel in the original season, so I was dubious to see how they would approach this and if it would tarnish the story, but I’m glad to say that it doesn’t and it’s obvious why Chloe likes Rachel so much, you obviously have the choice to be friends or more than friends through dialogue choices, but it’s clear to me that she’s in love with her.

I was also worried that it wouldn’t be as good purely because Dontnod aren’t involved with the prequel and Ashly Burch isn’t reprising her role as Chloe..but those fears are all put to rest with the first episode from Deck Nine which sees Chloe and Rachel become great friends, while still seeing other characters like Chloe’s mother and her step-dad who she despises. Chloe also attends Blackwell Academy at this point, so it’s good to go back to where it all began…as well as taking part in an incredibly fun D&D type game with nerds before school starts.

Chloe doesn’t have the time travel powers that Max has, but she has a Backtalk ability that lets you battle people through insults to be more persuasive, of course, the insult has to be effective to work or your opponent will have the upper hand. It’s a nice mechanic and one that will work well with the remaining 2 episodes. The first episode reveals a secret regarding Rachel’s family which causes her distress, but it’ll be interesting to see where it leads us for the rest of the season.

The visuals aren’t that different from the original, which is no bad thing…while the soundtrack is impressive as always from this series. The lack of Ashly Burch as Chloe was worrying at first, but her replacement is more than sufficient to fill the boots of the character, plus Ashly is on board as a writing consultant…so it’s not all bad.

The Verdict

Episode 1 sets up an interesting story for this mini-series prequel to the unforgettable Life is Strange. Let’s hope the wait for the second installment isn’t too long…

Score: 9.0