Review: Life is Strange: Before the Storm (PS4).
Lfe is Strange: Before the Storm it was supposed to be a shorter prequel showing Chloe’s past in Max’s absence. The creators decided to present the beginning of a turbulent (unintentional joke!) Relationship with an exuberant Rachel, while raising some interesting issues and problems. Not everything worked out, but in the end we can talk about a pleasantly presented story.
The first two episodes gave the impression of pushing forward too quickly, which made the relationship of the main characters suffer, which was not entirely credible. The series finale quite skillfully blurs this problem. Although the third episode is short, it still struggles with the problem of filling the events in a concise way. This can be seen in the form of a certain stalker and due to the excessive use of “deus ex machina” moments. The ending, however, is satisfying and in my case it had a very positive impact on the reception of the whole game. Not everything sounded right, but this is undoubtedly the best element of the story.
Having a look at the whole, we can take a look at what the creators were trying to convey. This time we are not dealing with a story about life and death. A more personal adventure touches upon the theme of complex family relationships and their problems. I liked the thread that touches on the issue of erroneous idealization of loved ones – especially when they are missing from our side. An important part of the story is also the inconvenient truth and the soothing lies that make up our reality. It is up to us which path we will follow. Our choices have little impact on the story and only change a few scenes, but we feel their burden in our head.
The following episodes started in an interesting and artistic way. I don’t want to reveal the details, but the studio has applied well-presented narrative patents several times. The cinematic shots of the camera also worked well. It is worth mentioning that the entire prequel is filled with small flavors for the perceptive fans of the original Life is Strange. In this case, the story is told not only through dialogues and scenes, but also through elements of the environment that expand our understanding of the characters and their future relationships known from the previous game. At the same time, no effort was made to put everything on a tray, so some issues are still a matter of guesswork. There were some contradictions and holes in the script, but that’s a common flaw in the prequels.
Graphically, we are dealing with stagnation. It is in vain to look for any major differences other than pure cosmetics. The greatest impression is made by manipulating the shots, using graphic filters and using light that creates the atmosphere – but forget about dynamic lighting. The shortcomings are masked by the graphic style and pastel shades, but the facial expressions are very irritating. The spoken lines often seem to be mismatched to the facial expressions of the characters – it is more visible in some characters, and less in others. This type of animation was done very badly, which is clearly visible, because we are dealing with a narrative film game. The sticky hair resembling plasticine does not fall out very well either.
It’s also hard to say anything positive about the game itself. It comes down to walking and picking up items in the right order. The creators are not surprising in this respect. A new mechanic in the form of mouths gives some dynamics to conversations, but is used very occasionally. Interaction with the world is disappointing and not extensive. As a classic game Life is Strange: Before the Storm looks pale and is not as interesting as its predecessor with its simple, yet pleasant system of reversing time. Even primitive puzzles would be better than moving things from place to place.
The team from Deck Nine has developed several stronger story scenes, and one of them can genuinely squeeze the heart. Most adventures, however, suffer from a lack of distinctive moments. The introduction of one-dimensional and subordinate antagonists was intended to lead to a few events and encounters, but the studio apparently had no idea how to better outline these characters. We also rarely come across more interesting dialogues, because the adventure is written correctly at best. The deeper statements were left for the end. It’s not bad, although you can see that on a certain level the studio didn’t even try to jump over it and preferred to walk a safe path. Fortunately, a few surprises were not spared – just a pity that there are few.
Anyone who played the first Life is Strange, is aware of what destiny has in store for Rachel and Chloe. The studio knew about it as well, so the story itself doesn’t try to introduce you to those events. Instead, we have a separate and independent adventure. The fans will be satisfied because they will receive a lot of nice flavors. They will again be able to soak up a great atmosphere enhanced by a beautifully selected soundtrack. It’s also a good opportunity to spend about five hours with the old heroes and meet some new ones. But don’t be prepared for the elections – they are completely irrelevant, there are very few of them, and only two can be considered really hard.
We received the code for the review from the game publisher through Cenega.