One of the challenges of episodic reviews is knowing where the story is going to go. Life is Strange: Before the Storm’s second episode ended with the reveal of Rachel’s biological mother. It was a revelation that had a lot of promise, along with changing a lot of events, making fans wonder just what that means for the story. With an explanation of what happened, along with the damage this information causes, is it enough to end Life is Strange: Before the Storm on a high note or does it fall short?
The big reveal is James took Amber from Sera because he feared her drug addiction would harm her. It isn’t a surprising reveal, but it introduces the idea that Sera and Rachel aren’t that different. James story of how he met her and the resulting adventure is not just relatable, but designed to be a parallel between them and Rachel and Chloe.
At first the story is subtle about the similarities, with the first indicator being the fact they held similar status in school, quickly resulting in it being directly stated. When that moment occurs, the thematic similarities between James and Chloe turn a dramatic reveal into a bittersweet reminder.
As great as the subtext is, the actual story is kind of empty. With the climax being the reveal that Sera is Rachel’s mother, there isn’t much more to see. Sure, chasing after the information comes at a price and builds to a bit of introspection, it’s a bitter sweet end to a raging forest fire. Even the story seems aware of this, as the fire is extinguished about midway through the episode.
Upon finishing the story, Life is Strange: Before the Storm has a rather lengthy montage that basically covers all the major events that occurred between both adventures, something that feels more like fan service than anything else. Sure, it’s nice to see Rachel and Chloe’s relationship grow and characters get to where they need to be, it just makes this episode feel more like an epilogue than a climatic finish.
While the final episode falls flat, it makes for a decent end to an otherwise interesting adventure. The story of two girls falling in love and the cost associated with it gives enough depth for fans and newcomers to be interested. It’s just a shame that the story suffered from pacing problems and a predetermined and known ending. Still, if you want a good story and don’t mind if it’s a tad on the predictable side, you’ll enjoy Life is Strange: Before the Storm. However, if you want some twists and turns, with crazy reveals, this won’t make you happy.
[Editor’s Note: Life is Strange: Before the Storm was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]