And just like that, life is normal once again. At least, it’s as normal as it can be for Chloe as she once again finds herself in Principle Wells’ office. After the events of the previous episode, the aftermath seems almost tame considering the devastation Rachel caused at the episode’s climax. And soon we realise that this isn’t why Chloe and Rachel are being reprimanded, it’s because they skipped school.
This second episode starts off frankly a little unexciting. We have Chloe being punished far worse than Rachel, despite my choice to go along with Rachel’s story, by both Wells and her own mother who decides to side with David. Though kids who were brought up around a new member of the family can empathise all too well with Chloe’s situation. No one would like some strange fella coming in and forcing his hand.
To echo my thoughts of the previous episode, Life is Strange: Before the Storm is fan service to those familiar with the main season. There’s plenty more story here revealing titbits of information which only fans of the original would understand and feel a weird sort of attachment to.
We return to the junk yard to find something plenty of fans of the original would be familiar with: Chloe’s beaten up old truck. Turns out, it was ready for the scrap heap, but Chloe decided to taken the rusting pick-up and give it a second lease of life, a second chance almost, which is incredibly meta.
If you’re new to the series however, up until this point there’s very little to care about the episode so far. Even if the characters grew on you in the first episode, character development doesn’t really take place until around half-hour into the episode, during which we’re witness to another dark and twisted day dream.
As a huge fan of the first series, I enjoyed the little nods to the first episode, the fetch quest to fix up the van, and the impromptu exploration of the junk yard we’re all-too familiar with. Even the twisted daydream was dark and disturbing twanging feelings you tried hard to bury after the first episode.
For me, Episode 2 seemed very much like a tour of places we’ve already seen, except this time they’re untouched by Chloe and Max. Frank was much more chipper than his burly stone wall counterpart in the main game, his camper van is clean, hell, we even get to see where his compassion for Pompidou (his dog) comes from as he seeks help puppy training online.
We once again return to the dorms from the first episode and like before, getting in is just as troublesome, yet players of the first series will have some idea how to get around that. That being said, there are some considerations for newcomers, Deck 9 have introduced subtle little prompts either with the writing on Chloe’s hand, or with audible clues with Chloe pretty much telling you the next step.
Sure, this hand holding does spoil the challenge of some of the puzzles, but it helps move along the story somewhat.
Episode 2 does a fantastic job of tugging at your conscience and compassion, especially at one particular scene when you’re forced to decide between protecting someone you like, or someone you’ve been told to dislike, despite both options likely leading to the same outcome.
Overall, Life is Strange: Before the Storm – Episode 2 follows on from the already great legacy Deck 9 has built upon. The writing, while a little more drawn out in this particular episode, expands on Chloe’s back story in various ways, and offers the usual twists and turns you’d expect from a Life is Strange game.