Hi guys, gals and non-binary pals! It’s Mod Zan, here with an article for your reading pleasure. This time around, I’m going to be talking about my opinion on the announcement of Life is Strange: Before the Storm. I have many, many reasons and even more mixed feelings on this announcement that I’m looking forward to addressing in the paragraphs below!
If you watched our E3 mashup and read my review of Life is Strange, then you’ll know not only that I played Life is Strange with gusto, but also that I did not mention Before the Storm as my most anticipated game. One of the main reasons for this is because I know that what I and many fans of Life is Strange wanted from the studio was a sequel to try and mend our shattered hearts after the unending suffering that we endured in the final two episodes of the game. I still feel this way even after seeing the announcement trailer because I feel that we deserve a lot more closure than either of the endings to the original game gave us as players.
On that note, Chloe is clearly a fan favorite. I’m no exception to this, but I wonder how the game is going to handle the absence of the Rewind effect, which was integral to the first game when we were playing through as Max. I enjoy the idea of making irreversible decisions, as I do with most role-playing games, and I feel that this might be a good addition to Before the Storm. However, I wonder how the game is going to make sure that this doesn’t leave a gaping hole in gameplay for the players. My hope is that with such a heavy focus on irreversible decisions, the game will have multiple endings that encourage you to replay them.
That being said, I am unsure as to whether or not multiple endings will be possible because the prequel and the somewhat linear nature of the second game limits how many options there are for the story to end. I almost wonder if the game would have been better suited as DLC for Life is Strange, but it is likely too early to make a full judgement. I do predict that the focus will heavily be on Chloe and Rachel’s relationship with one another, with Rachel Amber being the main influencer of the events in Chloe’s life.
I am excited to finally see Rachel Amber in life, as a character that we can fall in love with the same way that we did with Max and Chloe. It will be good to be able to make our own judgments of her character instead of listening to others describe her posthumously. I’m also (as always) a huge fan of games with female protagonists, and since Chloe is already canonically LGBT+, I have high hopes for more women-loving-women content in this game.
On the topic of representation, I do hope that this game will do better with it. There was minimal LGBT+ representation and decent representation for white women; Life is Strange had a lot to be desired in racial representation and cultural appropriation. Ideally, the studio will have included more NPC’s that are POC, and added some major characters in positive roles that are a part of marginalized communities. Even though I was here for the villains in the original game being straight, white, highly privileged men, the rest of the cast also reflected that in ways that didn’t improve the game. We need more characters of color in the cast of all games, and Before the Storm is no exception.
Additionally, I hope that this game puts a little more power back into the hands of the main characters (and by extension, the players). One of the worst things about Life is Strange was the illusion of immeasurable power. Even though that may have been part of the point of the game, it isn’t easy to accept that there is nothing you can do to lessen the pain of an unnecessarily traumatic ending.
One of my main concerns for this game is that it will fall back into the patterns that I disliked in the original game. Granted, I’m not going to pretend that I expect this game to be rainbows and sunshine because we already know what happens to both Chloe and Rachel. However, I feel that there’s a healthy balance in games between sad and happy moments, and I’m hoping that the moments we get to see between Chloe and Rachel will make up for the inevitable tragedy that the end will bring.
Overall, I’m hesitantly excited about the announcement of this game. I hope that it will give some much-needed depth to Chloe and even more so to Rachel Amber, who deserved a lot more than what she got from the developers. I’m ready for the expansion of the universe, and hoping for a little more explanation of said universe as well as its inhabitants.
Though I am disappointed that it’s a prequel, I’m also intrigued as to how the knowledge of the future will affect my way of playing through the game. I think it has a lot of potential, but I don’t want to get my hopes up for fear that it will disappoint me the way that the first game did despite my love for it and its characters.
Thanks for reading this, and if you have expectations, predictions, hopes, or gripes with this game let me know in the comments below! See you next time!