Life is Strange: Before the Storm
- March 6, 2018
- Playstation 4
- Xbox One
- Square Enix
- Deck Nine
Farewell; it’s such a somber word embodying the essence of parting. Having to say goodbye to those you have come to know, never sure when your paths might cross again, if ever. There is a real sense of finality within this story which is clearly the intention with Life is Strange and the tale of its two primary protagonists, Max and Chloe. Despite already knowing that this was the end of the line for these characters through every element of this design, it’s even clearer that this is the conclusion for these characters we have come to know as everything goes back to the beginning of the end.
How do you end the tale of Max and Chloe? It’s clear you couldn’t follow on from the end of the original game without annoying half the fan base. No, they take us back to tell the untold story of Max and Chloe’s final adventure before life pulled them apart. As Max struggles to tell Chloe that she is leaving, the pair end up on a childlike pirate adventure on the quest to find the treasure they hid as children. It’s a simple plot, but incites that childlike magic that isn’t quite as common within Life is Strange as a whole.
Life is Strange as a series is full of overly complex plots that push Max and Chloe to the brink. This episode follows a much simpler plot where the only drama hanging over this tale is Max and Chloe’s parting, and the inevitability of a certain character’s death. It’s great that Deck Nine put the choice of when Max tells Chloe the sad news in the player’s hand, allowing us to decide whether we ruin a potentially great day early or hold it till the last minute.
Thankfully, this adventure is a lot more light-hearted than traditional episodes. The focus on Max and Chloe’s small-scale adventure of exploring their youth allowed both characters to shine with Chloe at her peak as a happy adventurous girl, and Max saying goodbye to what she knows, scared for herself and Chloe. At the same time, both are able to have fun embracing their individual quirks, calling each other nerds, and getting into the pirate spirit.
It was great having Max back in the picture. Over the course of the original series, she came to mean a lot as a character, being more than the traditional blank slate protagonist. Through Before the Storm, her absence definitely left a hole in the adventure which only Chloe’s letter diary was there to fill. Max brings a nice levity to the series with her quiet, more reserved demeanor, which helps provide a contrast to Chloe’s more excited and lively attitude. It was also appreciated that Max’s voice actor Hannah Telle didn’t stray from her original performance, and still provided the same charm as in the original series.
Outside of choosing when to reveal Max’s bad news to Chloe, it was really nice that no major choices were ever thrown at us. Choices were as simple as Max choosing to embrace Chloe’s pirate fantasy, be herself, or determine whether to be mushy with sentiment, or quiet and funny. It was great that Deck Nine chose to play with a simplistic story; without having to set up plot points for down-the-line, they focused on the fun times that the girls shared.
As we drew closer to the ending, there was a distinct impression that Deck Nine was using a day of great tragedy for Chloe, and obviously there was no happy ending here. The ending itself is predictable to fans of the series, but it is still heartbreaking after the quiet and fun adventure that we previously had. There is a lot to be said for Deck Nine’s choice as it certainly hammers home the multilayered title of Farewell, but for a final impression of Max and Chloe’s journey, it’s really depressing. It’s great that Deck Nine decided to provide a happy adventure beforehand, but our time with these characters ends with tears.
Farewell is a name with multiple meanings. For Life is Strange, we are truly saying goodbye to Max and Chloe, two people that we have come to know as friends. It is a goodbye to what we know with the series, and a goodbye to a character who holds such an impact on Max and Chloe’s story. More importantly, it is two friends being forced to say farewell as life pulls them apart. This quiet adventure was perfect for providing one final adventure that showed both characters in their prime. It’s a shame, however, that the final impression this game leaves is sad, but there was no other place it could have finished.
Links for the rest of the Before the Storm series reviews are below: