(Spoiler-free zone! I will not talk about the story in this post.)
I’ve finished playing the first episode of Life is Strange: Before the Storm! I was a bit worried I could get spoilered, so I tried to play through it fast without rushing. I want to enjoy the game and its story, after all. Now, of course, I would love to continue playing, but episode 2 won’t be out for some time, apparently. I don’t think anything is known yet about its release date.
I’d also been worried about the game’s content and my enjoyment. The game is not developed by the company that made the original “Life is Strange” as they are working on a sequel. Instead, Deck Nine made this prequel. Looking at their wikipedia page, I am glad I haven’t done so before. :p They’ve made games for Playstation, but apparently no Windows games yet.
Apparently, people had been worried about the character of Chloe having a different voice. I hadn’t even noticed it! But since this is a prequel and the character is, of course, younger, I don’t think a slightly different voice is bad at all.
So, my expectations about the game had not been too high (better to keep them low than to be utterly disappointed in the end). Not that I thought Deck Nine couldn’t make a good game. But the story is set before the main game’s story and Max, the protagonist of Life is Strange, isn’t in Arcadia Bay yet. Instead, the game focuses on Chloe (no spoiler here, that’s what was known about the game before the prequel was released :p).
What I can say is that the sounds and the music are as immersive as they were in the original game. The characters are really well written if you ask me. Every person is believable! The voice overs are incredibly well done. This is one of the very few games where I don’t turn off any sounds and even prefer playing with my headset on (I usually don’t like doing that because it gives me a headache to wear the headset for a longer amount of time… my poor neck is too weak). Deck Nine managed to make a game where – if I hadn’t known – I wouldn’t even have noticed the game wasn’t done by the very same developers that did Life is Strange. They managed to capture the same atmosphere in the game.
One nice thing that the game has is the “Collector Mode”. I played through the episode and the choices I made (yes, the game lets you make choices which influences what you can do in following situations) are “locked” now. Collector Mode lets me re-explore the scenes, though, and finish things I may still need for completing everything (and getting all Steam achievements, I would assume). I think this is a great addition (at least, I think it’s new and wasn’t in Life is Strange, but I may be wrong here).
However, I am wondering: If I hadn’t played Life is Strange and had just hopped into Life is Strange: Before the Storm – would I have enjoyed the story? Is the story interesting enough to work if you don’t know the original game? Thankfully, I have played the original game, so this isn’t really worth worrying about for me. Also, this is episode 1 of 3 and storywise, it’s certainly not bad! There’s much more left to tell, though. It also took me 2 hours to get through the first episode and it this continues, I’d get about 6 hours out of the whole game in the end. Maybe the next episodes will be longer, though. It was 2 hours well spent, though!
What I can also say is that if you’ve enjoyed Life is Strange, I can definitely recommend getting this prequel. And I wouldn’t mind getting more games like this! But, as I said, Don’t Nod, the original developers, are working on a sequel, so we will get at least one more like this. And if you haven’t played Life is Strange, I would recommend playing this game first and then getting into the prequel. Just so you can share the experience that the rest of us are having: Getting to know the characters “now” and then jumping into their past. :)