Life is Strange: Before the Storm Episode 1: Awake Xbox One Review

Before the Storm removes one of the defining characteristics of the franchise but maintains the same stellar story-telling that made the first game such an incredible hit

By Grayshadow, Posted 01 Sep 2017

When Life is Strange debut back in 2015 it immediately gained a strong community of followers yearning for each episode thanks to strong writing and the use of supernatural timed-based powers. Life is Strange: Before the Storm removes the supernatural abilities of the first game and instead focuses on personal relationships, how they're created, shattered, and reforged. Before the Storm removes one of the defining characteristics of the franchise but maintains the same stellar story-telling that made the first game such an incredible hit. 

Life is Strange: Before the Storm,NoobFeed,Deck Nine,Square Enix,

Life is Strange: Before the Storm Episode 1: Awake has players taking control of Chloe during the most difficult time in her life. Lost and unable to find a stable foundation to stand on she feels attacked on all fronts, whether it's at home dealing with her mother attempting to move on from her husband's death or the difficulties of school. I never liked Chloe, she always felt like a parasite that used Max for her powers and relied on guilt to keep her by her side. But after taking seeing things from her perspective those opinions quickly dissolved and I grew attached to her.

Both old and new characters are introduced during this episode such as Chloe mom's boyfriend David and newcomer Elliot, who has an obvious crush on Chloe. The new faces don't have the same impact as the well-known faces since I played the original game but separate this adventure from Max's tale. Most of the character plays a minor role and are quickly dashed aside. Instead, it's the relationship of Chloe and Rachel Amber that takes center stage.

After an entire season of hearing how amazing Rachel Amber was fans of Life is Strange can finally meet her. Charismatic, smart, and ambitious Rachel is the opposite from Chloe in almost every way. Seeing their relationship build from a simple meet up at a secret concert to a profound relationship made the entire adventure an epic emotional tale. Strong writing, fantastic performances, and wonderfully animated characters each scene was wonderfully choreographed. By the end, I was in awe and understood why Chloe cared so much about Rachel during Max's adventures.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm,NoobFeed,Deck Nine,Square Enix,

The bulk of the adventure is made up of choices. Chloe will make a series of decisions that alter the story. Some decisions are more important than others and are usually limited to 2 choices followed by a change in the graphics and a strong musical tone. These type of choices are frequent during this episode, allowing Chloe to develop into multiple types of herself. Molding the world and people around her.

Chloe isn't blessed with Max's supernatural abilities, instead, a new conversation option as been added that makes talking to people much more dynamic. Called Backtalk challenges these options open up branching options where choices are timed. Chloe must convince the other person by anticipating their answers, win the necessary amount of arguments and convince the person. While it isn't as exciting as time-powers each one of these Backtalk arguments had me on edge, trying to choose the best option before time ran out.

Episode 1 does offer a lot of impactful decisions. Whether it was saving a person I knew was a jerk, choosing to flee or fight, or attempting to another person's way of thinking. While it's too early to see how these decisions will play having them available encouraged me to go back and play the adventure again. The developers have included optional graffiti locations and the ability to replay portions of the episode if you have forgotten any tags, perfect for achievement/trophy hunters. However, you cannot skip dialogue, which can be annoying when you want to head to a specific location or part of the episode during a second playthrough.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm,NoobFeed,Deck Nine,Square Enix,

Life is Strange: Before the Storm Episode 1: Awake starts off this season with a bang. It removes one of the most iconic features of the first season and yet still delivers an impactful story thanks to great writing and outstanding performances. Seeing how Chloe and Rachel's relationship has started kept me hooked until the credits started rolling and now I cannot wait to see how it continues to grow.

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox One
Publisher(s): Square Enix
Developer(s): Deck Nine Games
Genres: Cinematic
Themes: Interactive Drama, Action-Adventure
Release Date: 2017-08-31

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