In my head, I keep a list of games that I’m quick to pull out whenever I’m asked for recommendations (a list that I will soon write down and share with all of you!), and DONTNOD Entertainment’s Life is Strange is definitely one of them. I am a very big fan of episodic games that allow me to make choices to personalize the story, and Life is Strange quickly dragged me in, as soon as I spotted a character that I could easily relate to, Max Caulfield.
For those who need a bit of a quick background on DontNod’s Life is Strange (.. which, um, go play it? Please.), I’m here for you. Life is Strange is an episodic game that introduces you to the protagonist, Max Caulfield. On the outside, Max may resemble the typical hip photography student, but we (along with Max) soon learns that she has the ability to rewind time, which means all of her choices enact the butterfly effect. Cool, right? But with great power, comes great responsibility and Max takes on the responsibility to prevent a foreseen storm from destroying her town, Arcadia Bay.
— and (drumroll, please) enters Chloe Price, a character who some love to hate, and some (like me) love to love. Chloe Price is an integral part of the plot, which you will learn after playing through the first season (sorry, no spoilers here!) The blue-haired rebel was Max Caufield’s childhood friend, one who took off down the wrong path, and now has a vocabulary filled with terms like ‘hella’ (fun fact: she uses this 13 times in-game) and ‘amazeballs’.
With the two childhood friends being reunited, more problems arise for Max, because c’mon, we can’t just have one really big problem involving the destruction of an entire town, can we? We’re informed about Chloe Price’s relationship with Rachel Amber, a girl who had recently gone missing, and Max decides that she will uncover what happened to Rachel. And voila, the game dives deeper into conflict and we have to hope that our protagonist will save the day and Arcadia Bay.
Our last trip to Arcadia Bay was in 2015, but E3 2017 surprised us with the announcement of Life is Strange: Before the Storm!
Return to Arcadia Bay
Life is Strange: Before the Storm gives us a look into the life of a 16-year old Chloe Price — meaning, yes, this is a prequel and she does not appear to don the trademark blue hair. As seen in the in-game videos released so far (such as the most recent one below), Chloe is still the same Chloe we meet three years later. As in, she’s still filled with teenage angst — which we see especially directed towards David, her mother’s at-the-time boyfriend.
In this arc, Chloe befriends the popular and beautiful, Rachel Amber. The two, although seemingly polar opposites, provide each other with strength, and to help the other find a way to defeat their personal demons. Life is Strange: Before the Storm dives deeper into this fan-favorite ship that we learn about in Life is Strange. In an interview with Zak Garriss, the lead writer at developer Deck Nine, mentions that the story will branch with the choices made as Chloe, and one of these choices include whether to nudge the two characters into a romantic relationship. Choices played a role in the original entry of the series, but it appears that Before the Storm will provide us with more freedom.
Unlike Max, Chloe does not have any powers to rewind time, but has what is called ‘backtalk’. Backtalk is a risk/reward conversation mode that allows Chloe Price to use her quips to provoke others or help get her way. You also have the ability to pick through Chloe’s wardrobe, which is kinda cool, right? I personally love the idea of customizing her and making Chloe the way I see fit.
There is one teeny downfall of Life is Strange: Before the Storm, and honestly? It might not be so bad. Ashly Burch, the original Chloe voice actor, did not reprise her role due to the current voice-acting strike. But! She didn’t stray too far, as she’s still working on the writing team. Rhianna DeVries is the new voice actor for our protagonist. Although I’m wary about this change, I believe DeVries will still do an amazing job at bringing one of my favorite characters to life.
For those of you who haven’t played the original game, there’s some good news — it doesn’t matter when it comes to playing Before the Storm. The prequel is a standalone — so you can wait to play through these episodes before picking up Life is Strange (which, again, please play it). DONTNOD, the original developer of Life is Strange (the prequel is being developed by Deck Nine Games), is currently in the process of developing Life is Strange 2, and a video game titled Vampyr, an action role-playing game.
Photo Credit: Square Enix
I feel as if reading through this post, it’s pretty obvious how excited I truly am to return to Arcadia Bay, but just in case you missed the memo: hi, I’m really really excited to return to Arcadia Bay, and play as one of my all-time favorite video game characters! As soon as the announcement trailer popped up during the E3 conference, I might have shed a couple of tears, and have been following all of the news ever since. Even if you’re not a major gamer, I strongly recommend that you pick up Life is Strange, because it’s more narrative-based than action.
Episode one is to be released on August 31st, and will be the first part of a three-episode story. With purchase of the deluxe edition, players will receive an additional episode, allowing you to play as Max Caulfield one last time, three additional Chloe Price outfits, and a mode called ‘Mixtape Mode’ that lets players change in-game music during quiet moments. The complete season is priced at $16.99 and the deluxe edition can be purchased for $24.99.