Since the first episode, I have eagerly awaited the continuation of this Life is Strange prequel. Being back with Chloe as she goes through this time without Max has certainly been interesting so far and I for one have been looking forward to seeing what happens as her friendship with Rachel continues. Please note that there may be some small spoilers ahead (but I have tried to avoid them where I can).
We pick up with Chloe the morning after the day before. The forest fire is raging. Principle Wells is on the war path and Chloe and Rachel are in his office with their respective parents as you discuss how the incident of skipping school with be dealt with. Rachel and Chloe have opportunities to cover for each other and put Wells down in the process especially when Chloe’s character assassination takes place as she is obviously the rebellious teen who led the perfect student astray in the eyes of the adults. I decided to let Joyce do the talking in this section as having Chloe’s mum defend her is quite nice but inevitably it comes too little too late as Chloe is expelled from Blackwell. You get a few moments to clear out your locker before heading to the bathroom to tag the entire place with some nifty graffiti. Once you have finished up, you head outside for ‘the talk’ where your relationship with Joyce and David is tested. I did like the opportunity to get Joyce back on Chloe’s side when David pushes for her to empty her pockets. I’m not sure how much more we will really see of this ‘family’ dynamic before the end of this series as it feels as though we have already reached the point these characters were at when the original game began. It would be a shame not to have another opportunity to try revisit this trio so I’m hopeful the last episode will provide this.
We return to the junkyard where a familiar looking truck catches Chloe’s eye and before you know it, you’re looking around for bits and pieces to fix it up. It’s a nice chance to explore the place again but as Chloe this time around allowing her to also show she’s capable to fixing up a truck by herself even with limited options. Eventually you get the truck looking slightly less like a death trap and end up taking a little snooze which results in an odd dream sequence of toasting marshmallows with Chloe’s dad… using his flaming car as the heat source. However Rachel rouses you by showing up with some clothes and you have a little counselling session before she tags out to go and get ready for the performance of The Tempest. In the mean time, you can set up your new digs in the junk yard while you wait for Frank to turn up as he has a job for you. But you see a woman you recognise…. who happens to be the one who was under the tree with Rachel’s dad in the previous episode. Once you hop into Frank’s RV, you have an opportunity to try and find out who the woman is. I managed to get her name, Sera, but that’s all you can really get out of Frank before he reminds you he needs you to do him a favour and get some money off a kid at Blackwell. This happens to be Drew, the kid who Chloe may have bullied a little to spare Nathan Prescott in the previous episode.
Once you get to Blackwell, you can speak to a couple of students but you really need to get into the dorms which will require you to swipe the keys from a distracted Samuel (who you may remember from the first game). Skip reappears and you have the chance to try and get in the building but I failed miserably and Skip ended up getting annoyed and telling his boss where to stick his job over the radio… whoops! Still once you get into the dorms you locate Drew’s room and then it’s time to find the money. It’s tucked away somewhere (no spoilers!) and once you have it, you’ll be disturbed by Mikey, Drew’s little brother who I played the tabletop game with before. There’s a bit of a commotion as a rather nasty looking fellow shows up looking for some money… the same money you may have in your pocket. You have a choice to make on whether you try and save Drew from getting beaten by giving him the money or hiding in the room with his brother… I chose to hide. I know I’m a bad person. But once it’s all over, you can get out and head to the play.
The theatre section was quite enjoyable as you chat to some of your former classmates, offer some advice and catch Victoria Chase trying to dope your girls’ tea. I tricked Victoria into drinking it herself which was well worth it! But suddenly there’s more drama as the girl playing Ariel is stuck because of the fire and guess who gets asked to step in… Chloe of course! I really enjoyed this part as it was another fun section where you’re not entirely sure how it’s going to go but by the end I was a little sad it was over. You get some quality Chloe and Amber time after this where you agree that you will get out of Arcadia Bay and a quick stop at the Amber residence to pick up some clothes is required in order of you to get out of there. It turns out Rachel’s parents are home and ask you to stay for dinner which results in some awkward conversations and table setting before you get down to eating the grub. Dinner seems to be going well but then the conversation turns and Rachel starts to show her anger at her fathers’ deceit. You have a choice of calming Rachel or flat out confronting her dad but I chose to try the former which results in only spurring Rachel on. The end of the episode results in a revelation that I was not quite expecting but once out in the open, I realised it all made sense.
Overall, this is a good episode which makes a little more effort in respect of the soundtrack and continues to develop the relationship between Chloe and Rachel. My favorite parts are actually the moments where the focal point is the forest fire in the background as it looks fantastic and hypnotic. In fact, if there was an option to just stay and watch that for a little while, I certainly would just because of how effective it is. While I look forward to the final episode, I’m also dreading it a little as I think a lot has to happen and none of it will be good. If you haven’t picked up or started Before the Storm yet, I would recommend doing so soon. Whether you wait for the final episode to arrive and playthrough in one go, I certainly feel this is an enjoyable series. While it doesn’t quite match the eeriness of the first game as the latter episodes unfolded, there is a sense of urgency as Chloe has to react to situations as they happen. There is no opportunity to rewind time to save the day this time around… and perhaps we’ll wish there was.