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    Life Is Strange: Before the Storm

    Game » consists of 8 releases. Released Aug 31, 2017

    A prequel to the initial Life is Strange game, focused on Chloe's life.

    Anyone played this yet?

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    HNS

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    Really liked the original game, but I'm a bit hesitant to pick this up since it isn't from the same team. Has anyone (who enjoyed the first one) played this yet?

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    AcidBrandon18

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    As a long time Life is Strange fan I'm thoroughly impressed with how they handled this episode. The writing and character moments are really strong. If you're a fan of LiS you'd be doing yourself a disservice by passing this up.

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    alistercat

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    #4  Edited By alistercat

    I have finished it and I liked it. It doesn't have the mystery of the original, and feels a bit aimless for most of the episode but as a "hang out with Chloe" game it's not bad. The star is Rachael Amber, who is unlike any of the returning characters. Your interest will hinge largely on whether you want to see their relationship develop.

    I'll answer specific questions if you have any.

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    Jeremy808

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    #5  Edited By Jeremy808

    As someone who is a big fan of the original first season enough that I bought it both digitally and then a physical copy, and preordered the deluxe version of this season specifically for the bonus episode, i'm not quite sure how I feel about it after playing through the first episode. I almost passed on this originally, completely based on Ashly Burch not reprising the role of Chloe. It's not the same to me. You get a little used to the new VO actress, and there's some parts where she really sounds like Ashly as Chloe, but for the most part I found it really jarring. I feel like some of the other characters from the original that are in this also have different VO artists too, but I didn't look at the credits too closely.

    In pretty much every aspect the game almost has the quality of a direct to dvd sequel. Especially in which they just recast major characters with different actors.

    There were a lot of scenes in this where there are big sweeping shots of the scenery that feel like they were trying to pad the episode for time. Just about every time you go to a new location there was an unskippable cut scene of just panning around the environment. It felt like they were trying to emulate the dreaminess quality of the original season with that. I'm not sure.

    In lieu of Max's time rewind powers from the first season, this has a different mechanic called "back talk". Which is basically kind of a speech check mini game in different situations/conversations, where there's like a scoring system down at the bottom of the screen and you have to quickly pick different dialogue responses to "win" the argument and proceed through an event that may or may not have consequences. Like talking your way through a bouncer to get into a music venue or convincing a classmate to stop bullying someone else. And you can fail these/have different consequences if you don't pick the right speech options. There's also those just straight up "freeze frame" make a decision that will have consequences later portions from the original season.

    It seems like they toned down the "teen speak" stuff that everyone cringed and teased the game about from the last season, but there is still some of that. I don't know how I feel about the character of Rachael Amber yet. There are moments of this episode that I was really into and then a lot that I wasn't. I hope the other two episodes are stronger. I fear this overall might suffer from the "unneeded prequel" thing, since I feel like season 1 was already good and i'm not sure how much this can add to it since we already know how this story ends. If anything it's kiiiiinda making me like Chloe a little less and ruining my image of what I thought Rachael Amber was like.

    I have mixed feelings about this, to say the least. But if you're a big fan of Life is Strange you'll probably like it, or at least be curious how this is anyway, like I was.

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    donchipotle

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    On the one hand a lot of the writing (and the new voices) give this a 'Life is Strange fanfiction' vibe. On the other hand Speedy Ortiz is on the soundtrack and I dig me some Speedy Ortiz.

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    NTM

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    Hmm, I didn't even realize this was out now. I liked the first, but I'm honestly just not that interested in a prequel. Also, I didn't know it was a different team making it.

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    alistercat

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    #8  Edited By alistercat
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    Jeremy808

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    Yeah that makes sense, I thought about that after I posted that. The strike means they had to get a bunch of non union VO artists for everyone, not just for Chloe.

    @jeremy808: Every character has a new actor.

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    Jeremy808

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    @ntm:

    For what it's worth DontNod have confirmed they are making another proper season of Life is Strange. The implication seems to be that it will be an entirely different story/cast of characters. They released a video a while back saying as much. They're currently working on Vampyr.

    It would appear that Before The Storm came about because they got enough demand for people wanting this specific story, but since DontNod were already working on Vampyr they had Deck Nine develop it instead.

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    alistercat

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    @jeremy808: Yeah, it really sucks. Surprisingly I thought the Chloe replacement is the best of the lot. Others are pretty awful. Frank is pretty good too, but David and Joyce are not.

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    clagnaught

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    I'm only an hour into Episode 1. So far, I'm really liking it. It has a lot of the touches of the first game, like the journal, text messages, observing a lot of details in the environment, etc. It feels the same, but also different. While it is generally a minor thing, the voice actors are different. Probably the most notable one is David, in terms of how different the voice is. I'll try to beat it over the next day or so, but so far, off to a good start.

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    sparky_buzzsaw

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    #13  Edited By sparky_buzzsaw

    @clagnaught: I thought the guy playing David was maybe the most spot-on. Weird!

    Playing it too. I'm maybe an hour and a half in or so, but I'm looking at everything and trying to do as much as I can within the limited scope of the environments. It's really surprisingly good so far, and while I wish like hell Ashly Burch could've done Chloe again, the voice actress playing her does a totally respectable job of apprximating the same spirit as the original which is to say these characters still sound like forty year olds trying to write cool teenagers, and it's pretty great.

    And that's kind of true of everything - they got the spirit of the first game really right so far. It feels like a cash-in on the surface, and the first few minutes don't give a great impression, but once it gets into its Life is Strangeness, everything sorta just feels like a pleasant return to that world.

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    Draugen

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    I'm kind of surprised how much I liked it, given that it's a prequel telling a story which we already know the broad strokes of. I think the thing that makes it for me is that we see everything from the perspective of Chloe, who let's face it, was a bit much at times in the original game. Seeing her internalized pain and thoughts, some of them spelled out in heartbreaking letters to Max, which she never wound up sending, is really effective at creating player empathy for her. And to be honest, Max comes off as a bit of a jerk, especially if you read the text messages on Chloe's phone.

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    pnevares

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    #15  Edited By pnevares

    @draugen said:

    And to be honest, Max comes off as a bit of a jerk, especially if you read the text messages on Chloe's phone.

    You're not kidding, I just read them last night and Max comes off as one of those friends everyone has. Or a family member, for some. So far I'm totally bought in on the need to tell Chloe's side of this story.

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    lunardroid

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    #16  Edited By lunardroid

    I was skeptical coming into this as I loved the first Life is Strange and found out that this one wasn't being developed by the original team. Deck Nine did do a great job though and I was pleasantly surprised by the first episode, which I finished last night. The story is good and the choice tree adds a new element to it. Can't wait for episode 2 and 3.

    EDIT: The new voice actress was easy to get used to and after a while I didn't even notice it at all.

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    tds418

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    #17  Edited By tds418

    I really enjoyed it! I didn't really know what to expect going in, but I came away pleasantly surprised. Like the first episode of the original series it is a bit of a slow start as it introduces you to all of the characters (particularly Rachel Amber), but seeds of intrigue are planted as well and I'm excited to see where they go.

    Also like the original series, I found myself reacting more emotionally to the episode than I would have expected. I haven't been able to stop thinking about the episode since I finished it last night. The teenage dialogue is better written this time around, and the characters largely feel believable. The different voice actors was a little jarring at first but I was accustomed to it within a half hour or so.

    I agree with previous posters that the game really does a great job of fostering empathy for Chloe, who was already my favorite character in the original (I played the original twice, and neither time I could bring myself to sacrifice Chloe at the end).

    Edit; also, for those who appreciated the Twin Peaks influence in the original LiS, the Twin Peaks prequel Fire Walk with Me definitely seems to be an influence on Before the Storm. (in the overall sense of seeing school-star Rachel Amber in the flesh before she meets her doom, but also in more subtle thematic ways as well: the dream sequence where Rachel bursts into flames reminds me of Laura's dream sequences in FWWM).

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    Milkman

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    #18  Edited By Milkman

    Just finished episode 1 and I enjoyed it a lot. However, my criticism of the original Life is Strange remains here. The writing is good, the characters are well written, the emotional beats of the story really hit hard but the actual dialogue is still pretty terrible. The first scene of this episode had so many cringe inducing moments that I was really worried about the rest of this episode but luckily, it gets a lot better from there. I just wish that someone, anyone, would take a final revision of the script before they recorded the VO and tone down the "tude" like three notches. But like the original, I still think the good outweighs the bad by quite a bit. I was surprised by how effective the relationship between Chloe and Rachel is while still differentiating itself from Chloe/Max and not seeming like a retread or cheap imitation of the same well-worn territory of the first season.

    @tds418 said:

    Edit; also, for those who appreciated the Twin Peaks influence in the original LiS, the Twin Peaks prequel Fire Walk with Me definitely seems to be an influence on Before the Storm. (in the overall sense of seeing school-star Rachel Amber in the flesh before she meets her doom, but also in more subtle thematic ways as well: the dream sequence where Rachel bursts into flames reminds me of Laura's dream sequences in FWWM).

    Not to mention the band in the beginning of the episode is straight up called Firewalk.

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    clagnaught

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    I'm only an hour into Episode 1. So far, I'm really liking it. It has a lot of the touches of the first game, like the journal, text messages, observing a lot of details in the environment, etc. It feels the same, but also different. While it is generally a minor thing, the voice actors are different. Probably the most notable one is David, in terms of how different the voice is. I'll try to beat it over the next day or so, but so far, off to a good start.

    ...And I just finished it. I think it's definitely off to a strong start. There's some nice interactivity in the game like how you play two truths and a lie. I also loved the part where Chloe plays the tabletop game. It was something different and one of those things that didn't need to be there, but added quite a bit to the world building and was pretty funny. With the ending, I said that the relationship Chloe and Rachel had was more than friends. While I really liked how they played that encounter out, on paper it feels like the relationship started too fast. Not to compare everything to the first season, but the scene where Chloe and Max could kiss or how they hanged out at the pool started in Episode 3. Maybe all of that is for the best, since this is more of a mini-series and we already know who Chloe and Rachel are. Overall, I'm really enjoying it. It feels like its own thing, while still having some of the touches that made Life is Strange good. Hopefully we don't have to wait long for the other episodes.

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    Lelcar

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    #21  Edited By Lelcar

    I watched the GeekRemix playthrough and the writing seems really good

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    spamfromthecan

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    I guess I'm the only one who though it was just okay. Its no where near as good in any area as the original. I didn't hate it. But its not great.

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    rethla

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    Just finished episode 1 and really liked it. Got the same feeling as the original with its slow moving happy scenic presentation and dark undertones. The bits of fanservice is well done and subtle, when you return to old places you feel equally familiar and connected to whats about to happen there as intrigued with the new story thats taking place right now.

    The voices i have largely forgotten so the new actors didnt even occur to me, if anything i felt the voicework and dialogues was a notch better this time around. Chloe especially i thought was really bad in the original but much more belivable this time around, You could almost take her at facevalue without eyerolling yourself around uninspired lines.

    The removal of timetravel is exactly what this game needed because even though it occasionally was a nice mechanic the story justification of it with the threatening storm, blackouts and whatnot was just terrible. The "new mechanic" is a little neat thing even though its not superclever and probably exposes the bad dialogue in this game a little to much. Its good that it doesnt try to replace timetravel but rather just add some gamey aspect to Chloes edgy wits.

    So far im enjoying this little lovestory as much as the peaks of the first game. If i have anything negative to say about it its that the story feels a little rushed and awkward. "Slowly and unexpectedly falling in love" is presented on the "love at first sight" timescale sort of. Thats a minor nuisance however and im in here writing about the game because the game abruptly reminded me about its episodic nature just when i had fallen in love with it again.

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    RosesAreDan

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    Just wanted to add my impressions, I really enjoyed it. For anyone on the fence like I was: if you enjoyed Life Is Strange you'll most likely enjoy this.

    Not sure how easy this would be to jump into if you've never played any LiS before, it has a lot of small references to the first game. Also the plot is made more interesting by me wondering how this will lead to some major events. There's way less of a set up for characters, the setting, background information, etc. because I guessing they assume you played the previous one.

    Overall though the emotional impact was really high in this episode already, more so than original episode 1. The characters who I was most curious about are exceptionally interesting, and the voice acting isn't that noticeable to me.

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    Oni

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    #26  Edited By Oni

    I think I loved this episode more than any individual episode of season 1. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. I got really invested in Chloe and Rachel and then, when I finished it, I remembered what happens to them (or Rachel at least) in LiS and got really sad. So now I'm replaying season 1, which isn't really helping, but I just want more!

    The junkyard scene was just fantastic, such raw emotion is rare in games. I like the VO for Rachel and Chloe too, I think the rest is a bit scattershot, but so it was in the original, too. But I'm really on board with the story they're telling and I'm happy to say I was dead wrong in thinking this was an unnecessary prequel (made by a different studio, no less!). I think Deck Nine is better at writing dialogue than dontnod ever was, and I think they understand Chloe as well as anyone possibly could have. Absolutely fantastic start, can't wait to see where it goes. Hopefully it's a little bit less bleak than s1 - we already know there's more than enough tragedy in store.

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    Harmpwn

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    Oh man, I didn't think they could get much more on-the-nose with their Twin Peaks references and I was hella wrong. Every time someone said "Firewalk" I had some weird Pavlovian reaction. I'm a little upset that they didn't manage to shoehorn in a line like "would you like to go to Firewalk with me?" But, I'll take what I can get.

    Speaking of on-the-nose, Chloe's insistence on raking Max through the coals at any possible moment is hilarious. It feels like you can hardly go 30 seconds in the game without Chloe thinking something like "man weed is always there for me, unlike my friend Max," or "I should pirate some more Twin Peaks, me and Max wanted to be pirates before she abandoned me." These moments have that LiS quality of being sad, funny, and a little dumb in a way that is very endearing. The way the journal is set up as unsent letters to Max is also just sad-sad in a way that makes me sad.

    The voice acting changes, while regrettable, haven't made me enjoy the game less. I became accustomed to the new Chloe quickly and never noticed it again.

    So far, the only actual issue I have with the game is that Rachel has not struck me as a particularly interesting character. We spent five and a half episodes hearing about how cool she was before she finally got lines, and then her introduction is doing a lame Sherlock Holmes impression. I didn't realize how much the cliche of establishing that a character is smart by having them "deduce" a bunch of nonsense bothered me until the train scene.

    That said, I initially hated the first episode of LiS and got to the point where you get to Chloe's house before turning it off and not playing until I got drunk six months later and remembered that the walking-down-the-hallway-listening-to-music scene was comfy and oddly compelling. So despite the fact that Rachel has not yet lived up to her reputation, I'm pretty confident that she will win me over in the next two episodes.

    Also, I'm glad I got the opportunity to be a jerk to Evan, that guy was the true villain of LiS.

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    MeAuntieNora

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    First episode was very promising in my opinion. The original game had great look and overall sense of style, and this might even improve on that foundation. The new engine built specifically for this game looks sharp and performs well, and in my opinion magnifies and reinforces the already-great art. That new engine also allows more intricate animations, including MUCH better lip syncing across the board. They excised one of the most glaring problems with original LiS. The lip syncing, and stiff, repetitive character motion in general, were what held the original back from being truly beautiful. This time it IS beautiful, and it feels like it always had been. All that good art and tech is backed up by solid performances from the main cast, and some creative, perhaps even daring cinematography. I think the backtalk minigame is kind of goofy in its execution, but in theory it's perfect for her character and it's fine as a new mechanic to occasionally engage with.

    One of my favorite sequences from either Life is Strange game is in BtS. Namely, the tabletop RPG segment. I was crossing my fingers that they'd do exactly what they did, and it was depicted really well. It reminded me of a moment in The Last of Us: Left Behind, when Riley is narrating Ellie's fight on the busted arcade cabinet. Even without ever seeing a video game, Ellie had a comparable experience thanks to their imaginations. BtS similarly highlights the imagination of the characters (accentuated by some really dope miniatures). I had a blast seeing Chloe dabble as a reluctant mainstream nerd, and when they all got into it I thought it was a really good character moment that she desperately needed. For a character that is so clearly always in her head or elsewhere, it made perfect sense for her to have that moment of escape, and even have some innocent fun. I'm also curious how she ends up falling out with the two she played with... they seemed alright, though I'm not sure about that dude's VA.

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    liquiddragon

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    #29  Edited By liquiddragon

    Got the season for $6 at Amazon (PS4 only). Currently a pricing error. [out of stock]

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    NeverGameOver

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    #30  Edited By NeverGameOver

    I just got around to playing this and holy shit it's good. Has anyone on staff played it outside of Abby? I'm guessing that Wolfenstein will take best story but this thing should be right up there if enough of them actually played it.

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