Life Is Strange: Before The Storm Episode One Validates Chloe's Anger

8
  • Playstation 4
  • Windows
  • Xbox One
2017-08-31
Life Is Strange
David is trying to have a relationship with Chloe. Deck Nine Games/Square Enix

It’s been two years since the release of Life Is Strange where we were introduced to Chloe, a rebellious teenager dealing with the disappearance of her best friend. At times Chloe’s reckless behavior feels uncalled for, but Life Is Strange: Before The Storm episode one hones in on something important we didn’t see in the original game: her grief.

Life Is Strange is more about Max and Chloe’s adventures than it is about Chloe. In Before The Storm, you learn Chloe has had a difficult time dealing with the loss of her father William and how his death continues to affect her. They were close. You learn he was the only one who could make her laugh when she was having a bad day. He knew how to communicate with her in ways her mother Joyce couldn’t. And this humanity and honesty in the character relationships are why you will end up falling in love with the Life Is Strange characters all over again.

It’s clear communication between Joyce and Chloe is difficult in the wake of William’s death. They’re both processing it differently. Joyce misses having a partner and wants love back in her life. Chloe’s a 16-year-old that wants her father back, not a new father figure. And it seems like Joyce wants Chloe to accept that she’s moving on rather than respect that her child needs more time. Chloe starts to resent her mother for removing photos of her father from their home. She gets sad when she finds a family photo in her mother’s drawer, says her father deserved more than being hidden away.

These little nuances in the storytelling are where Deck Nine Games, the studio behind the prequel, really shines. You don’t hate Joyce for wanting to move on, even Chloe acknowledges she understands why her mom wants a partner. But Chloe believes Joyce’s grief is blinding her when it comes to David, her mother’s new boyfriend. And it’s a travesty to see how grief keeps them together and pulls them apart.

David is also an example of excellent storytelling. As someone who played the original game, there was a part of me that wanted to believe- despite all his flaws- David was a good guy. As the player, you want to believe he genuinely tried to have a relationship with Chloe but she was too caught up in her grief to notice. This is not the rabbit hole the writers sent me down in Life is Strange . The harsh reality is David was cruel to Chloe, even if he didn’t intend to be. There’s a moment in the game where David tells Chloe, “You’ve had a vacation from having a father figure long enough.” And those words cut deep. They will anger you in that moment because he can’t see that Chloe’s in pain. You feel Chloe’s pain. David sees Chloe as someone who’s a lost cause and she knows that. It’s why she can’t help but lash out at him.

Life Is Strange
You'll see familiar places in Life Is Strange: Before The Storm. Photo: Deck Nine Games/Square Enix
Life Is Strange
Chloe and Joyce aren't in agreement over David. Photo: Deck Nine Games/Square Enix
Life Is Strange
Rachel and Chloe hanging out at the Overlook. Photo: Deck Nine Games/Square Enix

Chloe is in this pit of loneliness and anger. Chloe keeps saying that she doesn’t have friends, but in this game you learn she actually does. There are people who are attracted to her ballsy personality and like being around her. In the first episode you can play a tabletop game with two nerdy kids. You learn she’s actually pretty good at the game, if she wants to be, and the kids invite her to go back and play. There’s another girl who helps Chloe stand up to a bully that really admires her sense of humor.

You learn the real Chloe is funny, punk rock, smart and loves science. She was a good student at one point, but now hates going to school because people look at her like “the girl with the dead dad.” She doesn’t like it, but is too young to communicate this effectively to the people around her. So Chloe stops trying. And then Chloe meets someone who’s even more messed up than she is, which adds another layer to a beautifully complex story. Rachel Amber’s introduction into Chloe’s life comes at a time where she’s ready to give up.

There’s a scene in the game where Rachel is screaming at Chloe, but we learn her real anger is due to spotting her father kissing another one that was not her mother. Rachel doesn’t know how to communicate her anger, so she tells Chloe they can’t be friends and leaves her alone. Chloe takes out her anger at losing another friend by smashing her fists into a car. There’s deeper meaning in this scene, which we won’t spoil, but you see just how messed up Chloe is. The original Life Is Strange doesn’t give you this side of Chloe; it makes her grief a little more superficial. Death isn’t something you just get over, and Life Is Strange: Before The Storm does addresses this beautifully.  

We won’t really know how much our “decisions” will affect Chloe’s story until the next two episodes, but you walk away from the game with a lot to dissect. It will give you and your friends a lot to talk about, and that’s all you really want from a Life Is Strange game. And trust, you will have raging emotions about your life decisions in Life Is Strange: Before The Storm.

Editor's note: No review score will be attributed to this game until all three episodoes 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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