Xbox One Review: Life is Strange – Before the Storm: Episode 3: Hell is Empty

Can Rachel Amber get a happy, albeit short ending?



Episode 2 of Before the Storm left us with the cliff-hanger that the woman who Chloe and Rachel caught kissing Rachel’s father turned out to be none other than Rachel’s birth mother. Cue the mic drop.

Episode 3 picks up immediately after this shock revelation, in which Rachel’s dad explains that her birth mother Sera was a junkie who chose drugs and money over her daughter for 15 years, even cashing in checks from the Rachel’s father to keep away from her. Of course, Rachel wants to meet her and this is where things get dicey. Chloe spotted her coming out of her dealer’s trailer in Episode 2 and comes up with the idea to give him a call and find out if he knows how to contact her, they agree to meet at the junkyard a few hours later, but all does not go to plan…

We already know Rachel’s fate is sealed, unless of course Max screws up the timeline in either the Bonus Episode or the upcoming second season. In either case, we all know that Rachel is in no danger at least until she’s nabbed by *Spoiler Alert* Mr Jefferson, the photography teacher from Blackwell Academy. What follows is a surprising turn of events in which it becomes clear that Rachel’s dad has been lying about her mother and clearly wants her out of the picture, permanently.

But before you can go to rescue her from a psycho dealer, you are ambushed in Rachel’s house by a classmate who is a serious creep, wanting Chloe to himself and is clearly jealous of Rachel. At the end of the day, Rachel may have her flaws but I think she does genuinely care for Chloe. I hate the term “shipping” for romance, but I think I have to use it when it comes to these two, more so than Chloe and Max.

The end of the game gives you a rather tough choice to make. Do you follow Sera’s wishes in not telling Rachel that her father tried to have her killed and has been denying her access for ages, even voiding some cheques or do you tell her the truth? It’s a dilemma and one that is not easy to choose. I personally hate lies of any kind, so told her the truth which resulted in end of the father-daughter relationship, but maintained the relationship between Chloe and Rachel, even going so far as to travel in their fixed truck from the junkyard.

We see glimpses of them hanging out, having a good time…before seeing Chloe calling Rachel’s phone, only to see it on a table in a dark room where photos are being taken. I wonder if we’ll see the actual abduction in the Bonus Episode. We know that Chloe’s original voice-actor Ashly Burch is reprising the role for the episode, plus Max will also appear. What we don’t know is if it’ll bridge the gap between the prequel season and the first season or if it’ll even contain achievements/trophies. In either case, I cannot wait.

The Verdict

Episode 3 is a gut-wrenching conclusion to an amazing mini-series, and it’s not over yet. The game also received a 4K update, making it’s unique art-style shine that bit more. Let’s hope the Bonus Episode “Farewell” bridges the gap between the seasons, while having said that…will leave most of us teary-eyed…

Score: 9.0