Life is Strange: Before the Storm is a prequel to the award-winning Life is Strange. Before the Storm is an episodic adventure featuring the rebellious Chloe Price and her developing relationship with Rachel Amber, a model student suffering from escalating family problems that grow out of proportion, overtaking the otherwise peaceful town of Arcadia Bay.
Pro Choices have consequences
Much like in the first game, Before the Storm features several choices throughout the game that have an impact on future plot points across the three episodes. How these choices end up impacting the ending are debatable, but there are still a myriad of choices that change the outcome of a single playthrough, such as Chloe's decision to handle certain sums of money, or whether or not she's willing to accept her mother's unlikable new boyfriend. Chloe and Rachel's interactions can also be limited to friendship or expanded into a romantic relationship through player choice.
Pro Improved writing over the first game
The original Life is Strange suffered from some instances of awkward lines that sounded like a middle-aged adult trying to emulate how teenagers speak; thankfully, Before the Storm has a much clearer, down-to-earth script that helps the characters sound more authentic and real. Rachel's use of "hella" is more amusing this time around, as it gives context as to why Chloe picked up on it and used it frequently in the first game. Overall, each of the characters in the game are more well-rounded across the three episodes thanks to the smooth writing.
Pro Chloe is more likable this time
In the first Life is Strange, many players complained that Chloe was insufferable and selfish as Max's best friend, complaining in order to have more of her time when she might not have deserved it. This time around, watching the events of Before the Storm unfold from Chloe's eyes is enjoyable, largely thanks to how easygoing she is with Rachel--for the most part--and how far she's willing to go to sacrifice for her throughout the plot. Chloe makes dorky jokes that don't always land and back-talks school staff at Blackwell Academy with harmless ease, making her a much warmer, sillier character compared to her prickly, temperamental self in Max's adventure.
Pro Great soundtrack
Daughter, the indie folk band from England, worked on the tracks for Before the Storm, pulling together many of the game's great moments with thoughtful acoustic tunes and moody piano tracks. The more upbeat, hopeful tracks fit in incredibly well with Chloe's adventurous scenes with Rachel, giving a sense of wonder as the two explore Arcadia Bay together. One song in particular, 'All I Wanted', is a memorable, catchy folk track that captures the feeling of Chloe and Rachel supporting one another through their struggles, which is what Life is Strange: Before the Storm is all about.
Con Limited exploration
With much of the focus on the storytelling, it's still unfortunate that Chloe can't leave the designated story areas without turning around and repeating the same line about how she's supposed to focus on her objective. The limited areas to walk around in are understandable, yet disappointing, with missed opportunities for Chloe to walk down the street from her home and see what her neighbors are up to, or for her and Rachel to hang out in more places around Arcadia Bay together.
Con Third episode falls flat in some areas
Life is Strange: Before the Storm is an all-around stand-out title, with the first and second episodes building up to an impactful third installment that feels lacking in certain aspects. Without getting into spoilers, there are a few plot holes that aren't wrapped up by the end, and much of the tension in the episode falls flat because of these glaring holes that none of the characters bother to address.