Life is Strange: Before the Storm Episode I Awake
It’s dark, a girl with her hood up lights a cigarette and looks up to the night sky. In the distance the girl hears a train and you realise she’s standing on the train tracks. She stands there as the train is hurtling towards up but she continues smoking her cigarette. Last minute before the train could hit her she jumps off the track and after the train has passed she takes her hood down. It’s Chloe Price (Max’s best friend) from Life is Strange but she’s younger…
Words can’t describe how much I love the storyline for the first episode Awake to the point where I couldn’t turn it off (I completed in the same day I got it). It’s roughly about 2-3 hours long which is apparently longer than the first game episode instalments. I honestly wished it was longer because I enjoyed it so much but now we are looking around 8-10 weeks for the second episode. I think one of the best things about the storyline is that it currently doesn’t give any spoilers to Life is Strange. The prequel is more for context which allow new players to the franchise and enjoy it spoiler free.
Following Chloe on her journey on how she copes with Max leaving Arcadia Bay, her Dad dying and the development of her friendship with Rachel Ambers. In the game they presented us with a vulnerable side to Chloe which makes her a great character. After playing the first episode made me understand why Chloe is reckless, rebellious and her anger to the world. Deck Nine have used a different voice actor for Chloe than in the previous game. This reinforces the feeling in the game that Chloe is younger for it to be a true prequel. The nice touch in the game was that before we heard Max’s thoughts and opinions but in the prequel it’s Chloe's instead. We can fully understand her thought process and how we ourselves react differently to each situation.
Graphics & Controls
The graphics are gorgeous and pretty similar to the first game. That being said I love it none the less. The environments are great to explore and look around LIS: Before the Storm is just visually beautiful. I also found that the graphics were more defined because most consoles are heading towards 4K graphics (PS4 Pro already has it) which means it needs to have the capabilities to work in 4K.
If you played the first game Max was able to Rewind time but as Chloe you don’t have that ability. Instead you have something called Back Chat that engages Chloe and a character to have an argument. I made the fatal mistake and lost an argument because I forgot it’s on a timer. The timer creates a realistic argument in which you have to say quick and good comebacks to get an outcome that you desire. There is a scale in the Back Chat which shows you how you’re doing and how many mistakes you are allowed to make. In order to be good at the Back Chat is by exploring the environment which will lead you to some discoveries that will make the argument go to your favour. At the beginning I had an argument with a Bouncer to try and get into a party but to emphasis the point Chloe could handle herself was something that I found in the area. This exciting twist with the Back Chat really sums up Chloe’s personality and attitudes to different situations. It’s also strategic as well because you have to take into consideration all of the options and the timer makes it even harder to make a decision.
I know when I’ve played video games and forgotten where I am going. In LIS: Before the Storm you can view it on Chloe’s hand which is really inventive because the amount of times I remember writing on my hand when I was high school. It also fits well into the game because in other games there have been a massive directional arrow to the next objective. The writing on the hand made me feel I could stray off track and explore the environment more.
In LIS there are photo opportunities which Max would take a picture. Before the Storm is no different except that instead of taking pictures you are writing/drawing graffiti. In the game you can have an option to choose what Chloe writes/draws which is great. I am speculating whether depending on what you chose determines other events in the game. In comparison with LIS you never had a choice of angle or what you took a picture of it was set with in the game.
ConclusionOverall I loved this episode with exciting story and twists kept me wanting to continue playing. There is so much potential in the story at the moment where we will continue to keep guessing on what happens next. I can’t wait for the next episode I just don’t know how I will cope for the next 8 – 10 weeks. The new abilities in the games are refreshing and suited for Chloe’s character. The graffiti also suits well with Chloe’s rebellious side and Back Chat which embodies her personality. I find the episodes too short for my liking but I can’t tell whether I’m enjoying the game too much and never wanting the story to finish or it is genuinely short. I'm overjoyed that the prequel doesn’t spoil Life is Strange and that this prequel is purely for context. The amount of games I know that have prequels but expect you to have played the first game and there is a major twist that ruins the first game.