Games Review: Life is Strange: Before The Storm Ep 2: A Brave New World (PS4, 2017)

Here we are again, the second chapter in the increasingly amazing  Life is Strange: Before the Storm. Episode 2: A Brave New World opens not long after Rachel Amber decided it would be cool to start a fire in the local forest of Arcadia after losing her shit. As the huge storm slowly approached Arcadia in the original Life is Strange, this fire seems to be using the same approach, lending a looming and mysterious threat to the proceedings. Sure, it was an accident caused by the raw emotion of a teenager losing her grip on everything she held dear, but damn, what a way to end that first episode. Where to from there?

Raw emotion sets Life Is Strange apart!

Not only is the usual angst of teenage hormones and chemicals raging on up inside that head of Rachel, but finding her father (apparently) embracing another woman has only complicated matters and made Rachel’s idea of running away from Arcadia and life in general with her new found rebellious friend Chloe Price an even greater idea!

We get to see the wonderful implications of both Chloe and Rachel’s actions fold out in this second episode, being only three episodes long this time around also shows, the pacing is a lot faster here and it makes for a more intense ride, or is it just the fact that this dynamic duo of Chloe and Rachel just work so damn well together? The chemistry is amazing even through the pixelization of Deck Nine and Don’t Nod’s game engine, their facial animations and raw voice acting comes through in spades. Knowing how events will unfold later has me constantly waiting for it to be over so I can dive right back into the original and probably feel a lot worse for it when Rachel eventually disappears, it’s going to hurt people, like, really hurt!

Minor spoilers ahead!

After Chloe is suspended (or expelled) not sure on the difference in wording there, but my playthrough had me suspended and another had her expelled, for skipping school one too many times, even when Rachel takes the blame, Chloe is left to decide if she wants to go back to a broken home with Mum’s new-found moustache love David, moving in to try and fix their lives with a bit of hard love. Not being a fan myself, I decided to say no and go and camp out at the local Junkyard.

Finally, Chloe and Rachel’s true testament to a strong relationship!

A few hours later, I am on a mission to help my drug dealing and ruggedly handsome pal Frank Bowers take back some money that is owed to him from the very school campus I was suspended from. This leads to some more storylines that I am sure will be branched out, even more, when the final episode hits (hopefully soon). After all this, we are invited to Rachel’s house to sneakily pack her belongings and go on the run, instead, we end up with dinner and one final confrontation that leads to another awesome cliff-hanger.

I am just struck by how the writers of this series consistently surprise us, it’s not easy having Lightning strike twice, but if we are counting chapters or episodes here, it’s been 7 times now and I’m sure it will be 8!  I want more and more, where’s the merchandise? Where’s the TV Series? Don’t mess around, let’s get it done already!

Score: 9 out of 10
Highlights: Outstanding Voice Acting, Brilliant Soundtrack, Amazing Writing Continues!
Lowlights: A lot less of the hard decisions in this episode, a final act builder.
Developer: Deck Nine Games
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Windows PC
Available: Now

Reviewed on PlayStation 4 Pro.