"Life Is Strange: Before the Storm - Episode 1: Awake" is a real tear-jerker
Before the Storm's first episode didn't pull any punches. This game had me sobbing from start to finish and it finally made me realize the impact that this franchise has on its fans.
To summarize what Before the Storm is all about, it is the prequel of the original Life is Strange and this time around the game is not being developed by Dontnod Entertainment, the development studio behind the original game, but by Deck Nine Games, a small video game development studio in Westminster, Colorado, USA.
The gameplay remained essentially the same as the original game. However, Max and her time traveling powers would still be in Seattle and the player will be controlling her best friend Chloe Price.
The time travel mechanic is now replaced with Chloe's new dialogue option called "Backtalk" which means exactly that. Players can use this dialogue option to confront certain characters in the game, which brings up a meter to determine who is winning the argument.
It is a type of risk/reward mechanic that the game very well implemented in place of Max's super powers.
The plot of the game revolves around Chloe and what happened to another girl in their school, though I will refrain from mentioning exact details to prevent publishing relevant spoilers.
Before The Storm is split up in three episodes, of which this first episode was released on August 31st 2017 for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
The story explores many difficulties that a troubled kid like Chloe faces such as abandonment issues, teen angst, accepting changes and most importantly, severe loss. It is amazing how Before the Storm handles the subject of Chloe's personal loss.
Dream sequences in the game peers through Chloe's psychology and how hard it is to deal with her problems. These parts of the episode are easily the best part of the game so far.
Graphically, Before the Storm remained the same as its predecessor with little to no difference. The game still looks great with nicely shaded environments and characters with vibrant colors. The game's soundtrack is also another stand out as it blended with the mood of the game perfectly.
For anyone who hasn't jumped into Life Is Strange, this may not be a good jumping point as there are a few references that would require some context. However, if you have played the first game all the way through; this game definitely worth your time.
I was not a fan of Life Is Strange but after playing Before the Storm, I became one. This game is here to emotionally wreck you and players would love it for that.