Life Is Strange: Before The Storm Episode 2 Review

This Time Chloe Price’s Actions Need No Explanations
8
  • Playstation 4
  • Windows
  • Xbox One
2017-08-31
Life Is Strange
Chloe, damn, you never had a chance. Square Enix

Chloe Price has never been more human and relatable than in Life Is Strange: Before The Storm episode 2. For the first time in the Life Is Strang e franchise , I understood Chloe. I wasn’t angry with her for making poor decisions or dragging people into her chaos pit. Instead, I saw her as a person who never dealt with her grief.

The episode begins with Chloe and her mother, along with Rachel and her parents, attending a Saturday morning meeting with Principal Wells at Blackwell Academy. The girls skipped school that Friday and were caught. Principal Wells warned Chloe to attend school and stay out of trouble, but she decided to ditch class with Rachel. Now he has the grounds to punish Chloe and takes full advantage.

There are two worst case-scenarios, depending on how you play. The consequences of her actions either let you, as Chloe, be selfish or selfless. I took the selfless route and saved Rachel Amber from losing out on her starring role in the school’s production of The Tempest. It seems kind of lame, but magic happens between Chloe and Rachel later when the two get on stage together. We won’t spoil why Chloe has a part in The Tempest, but it has to do with Victoria. And it’s pretty funny. The selfish route saves Chloe from self-destructing, which you should check out in the game. No spoilers here.

There’s a critical moment in the episode: the exact point in time where Chloe finally loses hope that life will get better. It happens after the meeting with Wells. Chloe’s mom, Joyce, waits in the parking lot with her stepfather, David. Chloe didn’t want to be kicked out of Blackwell; she hated the school once she associated it with her father’s death. Chloe couldn’t stand being the “girl with the dead dad,” which led her to rebel. David tries his usual “tough love” bit on Chloe, and she asks him if they could talk later. Chloe doesn’t want to fight with them, but David can’t help it. He starts lecturing her.

Life Is Strange
FUCK PRINCIPAL WELLS! Photo: Square Enix
Life Is Strange
Chloe tags the Blackwell Academy bathroom. Photo: Square Enix
Life Is Strange
Rachel Amber in The Tempest. Photo: Square Enix

But this time, Chloe is willing to say she’s messed up and start fresh with David. She’s actually trying to take responsibility for actions. She admits she wants a better relationship with them. But then Joyce delivers the news that David will be moving in with them, which sets Chloe back. David doesn’t treat Chloe like a person; he’s constantly telling her all the things she’s doing wrong. He doesn’t seem able to acknowledge her pain of losing a parent, but treats her like a criminal. David’s attitude about Chloe becomes clear when he asks her to empty out her pockets in front of Joyce, to prove she doesn’t have any drugs on her. Chloe looks to Joyce to make him stop, but she goes along with it, thinking it’s the right thing to do.

In my playthrough, I decided to show Joyce and David what Chloe had in her pockets. It showed Joyce that Chloe wasn’t lying to her. Joyce doesn’t know how to handle Chloe without William around. She and Chloe have a different relationship than she did with her father. Now, Chloe feels like her mother Joyce chose David over her. And it’s easy to see why: she did.

And with this, Deck Nine Games has delivered a magical, complex story in Before The Storm episode 2. One of the biggest frustrations with Chloe is not knowing the causes of some of her actions, not understanding her reckless disregard for anyone but herself. It never totally made sense why she was so disgusted with David, or why she guilt trips Max for moving to another town. Finally, it all just clicked. You don’t get over trauma like what Chloe has experienced. You don’t just wake up one day and feel fine. You carry the pain inside of you if you don’t have the proper support system to cope and deal with loss. Chloe’s school didn’t care about her pain, just her grades. Chloe’s mother confused her rebellious behavior with being a teenager, not dealing with grief in destructive ways.

Beyond The Storm episode 2’s portrayal of grief is thoughtful and true to its protagonist. Chloe has nightmares about her father’s car accident. We see her dream about sitting with her father next to his burning car. Her father William is roasting a marshmallow with a stick in the flames of what is essentially his grave. Chloe tries to talk to him when a crow starts picking at the burned skin on her face. And who can Chloe comfortably talk about that with in Arcadia Bay? The only friend she trusted with her feelings was Max, as is made evident by the countless letters Chloe writes to her but never sends. When something good or bad happens to Chloe, she writes a letter to “Journal Max.” She says “Journal Max” won’t abandon her. Llooking at Chloe’s life on the outside and seeing her relationship with Rachel Amber evolve in the in episode shows you why she needs companionship.

What makes me nervous for Chloe’s mental health with episode 2 is how the story plays up Rachel Amber’s acting talent. The final scenes of the episode brings you to Rachel’s home, where you learn more about her perfect-seeming life. It’s then Rachel admits she doesn’t even know if she has a personality; she feels like her actions and decisions are based off of how others will interpret them. So, you start thinking: what if Rachel being drawn to Chloe has nothing to do with liking her? What if Rachel is manipulating Chloe to get someone to help her escape Arcadia Bay? And what if those actions lead Chloe to spiral downwards?

This is why Deck Nine Games gets the win for Before The Storm episode 2. They’ve managed to write a story that makes Chloe, Joyce, David, Rachel and the rest of the cast feel like people, not just characters.

Editor's note: No review score will be attributed to this game until all three episodes are released.

REVIEW SUMMARY
Life Is Strange: Before the Storm
8
Life Is Strange Review
Life Is Strange: Before The Storm tells a chaotic story of two very broken people and make you fall in love with them. Rachel Amber finds out what she’s missing out of life when Chloe Price deals with her own loses. Despite the characters being deeply flawed, Life Is Strange: Before The Storm finds the beauty in a messed up world.
  • More Chloe and Rachel
  • Honest Storytelling
  • Realistic outcomes to difficult decisions
  • Constantly questioning morality
  • Nerdy board games
  • Only three episodes long
  • Heartbreak
  • Lying adults
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