Mary Plays Life is Strange: Before the Storm Episode 1

Mary Plays Life is Strange: Before the Storm Episode 1

An exploration of teen angst

Mary Billington

Written by for Play Journals on

If you've ever wanted to know more about why Max's friend Chloe was so broken up about the disappearance of Rachel before things got crazy in the original Life is Strange, Before the Storm will take you through the forming of Chloe and Rachel's friendship.

Warning: The following is a recap of my experience playing through Episode 1 of Before the Storm so there will be spoilers.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm - Episode 1: Awake screenshot 1
I'm sure Chloe can find a way to get in...

The first episode starts with Chloe hanging around an old mill with a raging party going on inside. One of her favourite bands is playing and it's not open to minors. Chloe is still attending Blackwell High School so she has to think on her feet about how to get in. Outside the mill, you'll find a hidden place to do some graffiti which earns you the first graffiti collectible. Anyway, to get inside the mill, I had to sweet-talk the bodyguard by showing him how witty I was.

Before the Storm introduces a new dynamic where you are shown a tug-of-war meter that you want to fill up in certain conversations where you need things to go your way. Say the wrong thing and the meter goes down but say something that starts to persuade them and it fills up further. Needless to say, the guard was pretty smitten with my charm and eventually let me in. There was a similar dynamic in the original Life is Strange but no meter displayed. I like that they display the meter here as it helps with knowing where I stand.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm - Episode 1: Awake screenshot 2
Who the heck has a socket wrench in their seat pocket?

Inside the mill, I spotted a drug dealer from the original Life is Strange sitting on a couch. I had no cash so I didn't even try to buy anything; not that I would, of course... The way to get into the area with the band was blocked with people dancing so I opted to go up the rickety stairs and watch from the balcony after accidentally bumping into a grumpy dude while trying to get in to the dance hall. After watching the band for a while, the angry guy came up the stairs and started something. Pretty soon, Rachel Amber made her first appearance and helped me break free from the bully. So starts the forming of an epic relationship.

The next scene takes you to Chloe waking up after the crazy night and getting ready for school. She notices that Rachel posted on social media about their encounter and how they hung out after she saved Chloe from the thugs. Chloe meets her mom after going downstairs and I decided to be nice and empathetic to the fact that she was struggling to make ends meet after Chloe's Dad died and a new father figure (David) is now making his way into the family. It's the least I could do! I promptly went outside and again decided to take it easy on David. I played the original Life is Strange so I already have a favourable opinion of him due to my actions in that game.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm - Episode 1: Awake screenshot 3
Should I smash or smash?

Once at school, I decided to hang out with my nerdy chum Steph and play a Dungeons & Dragons type game. I kicked ass and made all the right decisions. When I was heading into class, I saw Nathan being bullied by a jock and had the choice to either help or leave him be and decided to just leave him. I think it's neat how you can make decisions in the past knowing what characters are going to do in the future (that is, if you played the original set of Life is Strange episodes).

After class, I met with Rachel again in the drama area and we skipped school together to go to a park. While looking through a magnifying device, Rachel spotted her dad cheating on her mom in the park. It took a lot of arguing and smashing of bottles in order to get to the point where Rachel would actually open up as to what she saw and why she made a sudden mood shift. In her anger, she started a fire in a garbage bin and kicked it over, setting a big oak tree aflame. At the end of the episode, it showed various characters watching as a wildfire started in the forest, presumably caused by Rachel's fury.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm - Episode 1: Awake screenshot 4
I think Chloe's more of a nerd than she leads on

Life is Strange is back with the same characters and settings plus a few new people and locations, too. It's already setting the scene for the original Life is Strange episodes and I look forward to seeing what else Chloe and Rachel got up to before Rachel disappeared and Max came back to rescue Chloe from her troubled life. What are your thoughts on Episode 1? Let's chat in the comments below!

Gameplay video for Life is Strange: Before the Storm - Episode 1: Awake 5:25
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