Title: Life Is Strange: Before the Storm: “Brave New World” Review
Available On: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Developer: Deck Nine
Publisher: Square Enix Holdings
Genre: Adventure game
Official Site: https://www.lifeisstrange.com/en-us/games/before-the-storm
Release Date: October 19, 2017
Where To Buy: Steam, Xbox Live, PSN Store
Coming off a surprisingly strong start to the first episode in its prequel series, Life Is Strange: Before the Storm episode two continues the tragic tale of Chloe Price and Rachel Amber. “Brave New World” expands upon the genuine elements of the relationship built between the duo in previous installments, while also developing side characters and keeping the gameplay engaging.
“Awake” ended on a dramatic note, with Rachel revealing to Chloe the reason for her anger, that her dad was cheating on her mother. What followed was a cavalcade of events, possibly even featuring a magical element, that resulted in a massive fire, one which burns throughout “Brave New World.” All of which occurs only because the two skip school.
Episode two sees the repercussions of that immediately, as the Amber and Price families find themselves in the principal’s office. While I’m aware that things pan out similar regardless of the choice made, Life Is Strange: Before the Storm did a great job in its second episode really making the choices feel difficult, no matter how big or small.
As it made sense to Chloe’s character, I chose to take the fall for the situation after Rachel’s spot in the play was threatened, getting expelled as a result. The scenes that follow feature more sad interactions with Joyce, but more so than anything, somewhat annoying ones with David. If anything though, Life Is Strange: Before the Storm does an adequate job of making me not like David right alongside Chloe, that’s good roleplaying.
I’d say the biggest problem I have with David’s character is his attitude sometimes doesn’t make sense. Its established that his military training and upbringing affect the way he handles situations with Chloe, requiring him to be harsh to try and straighten her out, but even when I responded with cooperative, positive things, his own response was still a bit too combative.
It doesn’t take up too much of the focus though, as Chloe and Rachel’s relationship shines again in “Brave New World.” Like I said in the previous review, the two have undeniably more natural chemistry than Max and Sam, and as a result, I am team AmberPrice all the way. The second episode features far less angst between the two as well. Instead, it has a lot more to do with them continuing to bond and stick up for one another.
Even better is that we get a whole lot more Frank in this episode, better known as Mr. Beans, the best character in the series. Not only do we get to see a hell of a lot more beans and a baby Pompidou, our favorite shady drug dealer gives us an interesting errand to get the money Drew North owes Frank’s boss. This mission manages to accomplish a lot.
First, it brings back some nostalgia from the original Life is Strange, getting to explore the dormitories and campus that Max roved. It also adds depth to almost every character in it, from Steph Gingrich to Drew, and explains the football stars previous actions in “Awake” had a lot more meaning under the surface. The decision in this sequence was definitely a moral quandary as well, with positive and negative outcomes no matter what the choice.
While this sequence is great, it doesn’t compare to “The Tempest,” the play that occurs in Life Is Strange: Before the Storm. Somehow Deck9 Nine managed to top last episodes Dungeons and Dragons playthrough as my favorite thing that’s occurred in the series. From sympathizing with Nathan Prescott to tricking Victoria into taking muscle relaxers, everything before the play was a blast. Then it came time to actually enact it, as Chloe gets pulled into helping last minute. After getting everything right, the improved segment really did tug at my heartstrings, as Chloe and Amber go off script and mold their own story into the play.
The jovial walk down the suburban street after the play was a very bittersweet scene. Perfect ambiance, music, and tone set up a romantic kiss between the two that feels like it had been building for six episodes. All of this occurring, the sweetness of it, their talk of running away together, made even more tragic knowing the events of Life is Strange.
The way “Brave New World” wraps things up in this episode is a bit underwhelming though after experiencing all the episode had to offer. The climax features a somewhat cliche reveal of just who the blonde women (Sera) Mr. Amber “cheated” (yeah is still cheating dingus, you are married) on his wife with was. Despite this, the episode was wonderful, possbily my favorite in the series.
While I already know what happens to Chloe and Amber’s tragic relationship, I still can’t wait for the finale for Life Is Strange: Before the Storm when episode three, “Hell Is Empty” (and bonus Max Epilogue), hits later this year.
Verdict: “Brave New World” seals the deal regarding the fact that, despite the coming tragedy, Amberprice is the relationship ship everyone should set sail on. Episode two also does a great job of fleshing out other characters and telling a fun and engaging story in “The Tempest.” Not even David and a cliche ending can ruin the emotions that the episode managed to bring out in such a short time.
- AmberPrice all the way
- Blackwell campus nostalgia
- Adding depth to supporting character
- The Tempest
- David's erratic responses
- Underwhelming, cliche ending