It wasn’t until just a couple hours of my Square Enix appointment that I found out that it’d be for Life is Strange: Before the Storm. Though, I didn’t mind as I was a huge fan of the first game.
Lasting just under 30 minutes, the demo’s purpose was to introduce myself and others to the next story-centric adventure by Dontnot Entertainment. This time, it’s a prologue starring Chloe Price, a secondary character in the first game. Her first on-screen presence was surprising, showing that once upon a time she wasn’t necessarily a hardcore punk-rocker who wouldn’t go anywhere without a beanie and studded bracelets. While her personality and appearance are much more modest than in the original game, we do see her transition, occasionally smoking cigarettes and rocking out at a concert.
In this prologue, Rachel Amber is once again a prominent figure in the story, but this time you aren’t looking for her. Rather, you’re able to see what her relationship with Chloe was like before the cataclysmic events of the previous release.
This relationship is tumultuous. At one point, we saw Chloe freak out on Rachel before admitting that her temper has been a source of frustration. She’s clearly aware of her shortcomings, but the interactions we saw indicate that she can’t help herself.
The gameplay flow is very reminiscent of the first game. Inputs can be boiled down to investigating environments, selecting objects and/or people, and engaging in dialog interactions with branching paths. Though, this time the branching paths are far greater in number.
There are far more interactive objects and branching dialog paths this time around. The lumbermill-based rock concert that host the demo we saw housed dozens of objects, each providing opportunity to trigger interesting and sometimes witty dialog, or even learn more about Arcadia Bay and its inhabitants.
Returning are story-altering events, which are indicated by a sound effect and UI flash. One was introduced in our presentation, and we even had a chance to select the dialog option as a group. Although what we saw wasn’t necessarily as striking as some of the events of the original game, I got the impression that this was to avoid any significant spoilers.
By the end of the 30 minute demonstration I had the same feeling I did when I completed the first episode of the original release: I was watching a high-school drama that was deeply interesting, but I couldn’t explain why beyond its outstanding character performances.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm will likely be a lot of the same, and at this point I’m okay with that. Its focus on revealing the background of key characters is enough to warrant my attention, and for anyone else that enjoys the series, they are sure to feel the same.