Life is Strange: Before The Storm Episode 3 Review

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  • Windows
  • Xbox One
Life Is Strange
Rachel learns the truth about Sera from James. Square Enix

Deck Nine Games decision to tell a prequel story to Life Is Strange gets justified by the Life Is Strange: Before The Storm finale. Chloe Price and Rachel Amber’s story comes to an incredibly human ending where there are no winners, just people making difficult choices.

[WARNING: This review contains  Life Is Strange: Before The Storm Episode 3 spoilers.]

The opening scene sets a thoughtful tone for episode 3. Rachel’s father, James Amber, tells the story of her biological mother Sera. Like Rachel, Sera was the most popular girl in high school. She was talented, fearless, charming and everyone admired her. People wanted to be Sera, and it’s what caught James’ attention. After high school, James pursued a career in law but Sera focused on living a free-spirited life full of drugs and sketchy people. James admits to being blind to Sera’s unhappiness but thought things would get better when Rachel was born. Instead, Sera fell back into her old ways and spiralled downward into a heroin addiction.

Or so you are led to believe. Life Is Strange: Before The Storm Episode 3 embraces the grey area of decision making most games stray away from. You learn Rachel’s father went to great lengths to keep Sera from her, including associating himself with some shady characters. There was money and scandal involved to keep the secret from Rachel. While James believes he made the decisions out of love for his daughter, his resentment of Sera also led to questionable choices.

In fact, the more you learn about James the more you start to question if you’d do the same in his position. In James’ account of the story, Sera became an unstable person capable of hurting their daughter. Had he not taken drastic measures to keep Sera away from Rachel, it’s possible she may have brought her down. There’s a moment in the story where James tells Chloe, “I believe I saved Sera by taking Rachel away.” And in a fucked up way James did.

Life Is Strange
Rachel asks Chloe for support. Photo: Square Enix
Life Is Strange
Rachel's parent, Rose and James Amber. Photo: Square Enix
Life Is Strange
Chloe looks for clues about Sera. Photo: Square Enix
Life Is Strange
Rachel and Chloe ask Damon about Sera. Photo: Square Enix

Putting Rachel’s story aside, Life Is Strange: Before The Storm does an excellent job balancing Chloe’s conflicts. Even while Chloe is helping Rachel, the storytellers never let you forget her inner demons. Chloe’s father William, mother Joyce and step-father David are still a part of the story. Chloe speaks to her dad when she’s struggling to do the right thing. Joyce texts Chloe to make sure she’s doing alright even when she’s upset. And David tries to open up to Chloe despite her consistent push back. Then there’s Chloe’s day-to-day life where she plays board games with the nerds or the funny conversations with Rachel in really dark times.

When compared to Life Is Strange , Life Is Strange: Before The Storm is missing a little bit of the spark that made the game special. It might be because we knew Chloe and Rachel’s fate, so there was never going to be a “happy” ending. Even if you made what you thought was the “right” choice at the end Rachel and Chloe’s lives would still be messed up. With Chloe and Max, the two were rekindling a friendship that gave players hope for a better future. You didn’t know what would happen to Max and Chloe, just that they were on this strange adventure with mysterious powers. Life is Strange: Before The Storm ends with montages of the girls hanging out, but you know Rachel will die and the devastating effect it will have on Chloe. But all the decisions in Life Is Strange: Before The Storm lead you to the blue-haired Chloe in Life Is Strange .

There’s no heroes in Life Is Strange: Before The Storm Episode 3, no winners. Chloe’s grief over her father’s death doesn’t disappear once she finds a friendship with Rachel. The tension between Chloe and her parents doesn’t get better. At the end you decide if Chloe tells Rachel what she learned about Sera or lies to keep her from losing her family. It’s not a love story or a coming of age tale. Life Is Strange: Before The Storm shows you where human nature leads and manages to tell a beautiful story about two people who wanted to live in an unapologetically messed up world.

Life Is Strange: Before the Storm
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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