Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Paging Miss Burch

I didn't talk about the first Life is Strange. It was played while I was enamoured with the concept of the Switch and was thinking more about what I might play in the future than what I was playing in the moment. For the record, I am still enamoured with the concept of the Switch, but in practice it has become the oft neglected weakest sibling in my family of consoles.

From what I remember, Life is Strange was filled to the brim with angsty teenage girls but tempered with an interesting time travel mechanic. Max, the protagonist, could travel back in time by looking at polaroid pictures. She later grew more powerful and could insert herself into the picture even if it was not of her and alter the past. This led to some very interesting detective work, depressing alternate histories and some surprisingly dark scenarios.

It turns out that everyone's favorite character was not Max but her childhood friend turned rebel stoner drop out, Chloe, ably voices by an almost unrecognizable Ashley Burch. One of the endings left her alive and could have led to a sequel and the other, the one I view as canon, did not. Deck Nine, the new developer, esques both and has created a prequel.

A prequel with all of the teenage angst but none of the cool time travel bits. Life is Strange Before the Storm is more Hallmark Channel than SciFi and, not be the target audience, is really annoying. Not only is the only interesting mechanic from the first game gone but the Ashley Burch is missing as well. I may not have noticed her presence in the first game but I certainly notice her absence in this one. Chloe's voice is all over the place, jumping from defiant to complacent between sentences.

At only three chapters it will be easy to breeze through. I don't know if I could take sixteen year old attitude for more than that, anyway.

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