Which Life Is Strange Games You Should Play Before True Colors - VRGyani News and Media

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Thursday, September 9, 2021

Which Life Is Strange Games You Should Play Before True Colors

As Deck Nine readies Life is Strange: True Colors for release this week, it's the perfect time to look back on the developer's first entry in the series, and the one that has a direct connection to the newest title: Life is Strange: Before the Storm. This being the second game in the series that's developed by them, True Colors looks to share closer ties to Before the Storm than any of the other Life is Strange games, making it a prime candidate to play before the new title releases. Deck Nine seems to be holding their own creation much closer to their chest, and playing Before the Storm for the first time now is the perfect chance to better understand their design philosophy and how the game might tie into the newest entry.

True Colors looks to feature one returning aspect of Before the Storm that fans of the series can get excited for. Steph, a character you have multiple interactions with during that game, appears to play a much larger role in True Colors. It seems Deck Nine have bigger plans for her, as she’ll even have her own separate DLC for the game, entitled "Wavelengths". One would have to think that Steph isn't the only thing that they're bringing over from Before the Storm, and that playing it now before True Colors releases is as good a time as ever.

Celebrating its fourth anniversary back in August, Before the Storm looks like it’ll be a great appetizer for the latest entry in the series. It might come as a surprise to those that skipped it for whatever reason, but Before the Storm is quietly one of the best titles in the entire franchise. The first Life is Strange had, and continues to have a dedicated fanbase. A large reason why the game’s sequel didn’t garner as much attention as the original is due to the absence of Max and Chloe, the first game’s two leads. The prequel didn't have that same problem, as Chloe was once again returning to the spotlight.

Before the Storm is a prequel to the original game, as this time you’ll be playing as Chloe Price instead of Max Caulfield. Probably more important is the fact that you don’t have the rewind ability this time around. In the game, you’ll learn more about the fabled Rachel Amber, a character that was at the center of the first game, yet never appeared. In the same way that Max and Chloe’s relationship was at the core of the original Life is Strange, Rachel and Chloe’s friendship and blossoming romance are at the center of the prequel.

This was a game that had a lot of factors going against it before it was even released. The first major red flag was that the creators behind the series, DONTNOD Entertainment, weren’t returning. Another major blow was that Ashly Burch, the voice behind Chloe and one of the leads of the original game, was not reprising her award-winning role. This was due to a SAG-AFTRA strike that was taking place during the time of the game’s development. So with all that in mind, it becomes easier to understand why a number of fans were skeptical about a return to Arcadia Bay.

RELATED: 'Life Is Strange: True Colors' Gameplay Trailer Takes a Walk Through the Record Store

This dark cloud continued to grow larger when you consider how important the characters and story are for the original Life is Strange. For many, Before the Storm was essentially a title being made by a team that might not have necessarily known the characters in the same way that the creators of the franchise did. Whatever misgivings some might have had about Deck Nine before the game’s release were washed away early on when playing through the first episode.

The development team carried over many of the original’s greatest aspects, and it’s clear they knew how to handle the structure and tone of the series originally established by DONTNOD. A great example of this is the introspective sequences that were present throughout the first game. In those, you’d simply be able to stop what you were doing, sit at a bench or a fountain, listen to the music of the game, and watch your surroundings pass you by. That same aspect is once again brought over to Before the Storm, as you are able to take a break and experience some much-needed quiet time as Chloe sits and watches the world unfold around her. It's an incredibly simple aspect of the original game to overlook, but its inclusion here showcases Deck Nine's understanding of the quieter moments, and how they make the franchise so effective.

The music is also superb, and a great continuation of the acclaimed soundtrack that the first game had. English band Daughter lends their talents to the series, and their work here is a perfect encapsulation of the current state Chloe is in. It’s a great mood setter throughout the game, and one of the standout aspects of the prequel. This is on display in one of the best scenes in the entire franchise: the Blackwell Academy performance of William Shakespeare's The Tempest during episode 2. This is truly Life is Strange at its finest, as it allows for interactivity on the part of the player, all while an incredibly engrossing narrative unfolds at the forefront. This scene makes you care so much for the relationship between Chloe and Rachel that, even though you know their outcome, you can't help but wish for the best.

Deck Nine not only does a great job of handling Chloe but also in introducing and expanding on a number of other characters. There are clear differences between her characterization in the first game and how she behaves in the prequel. She’s closer here to the death of her father than during the original game, so the wound is still incredibly fresh. Because of that, the relationship between the two is also front and center. She's growing into the person we saw her as in Life is Strange, and the game allows the player to roleplay as a young Chloe that’s slowly becoming the character that the audience already knows her as. Though Chloe doesn’t have the powers that Max did, she still has her feisty attitude, which means she has the ability to "backtalk" against a number of different people as she attempts to get her way.

In Before the Storm, Deck Nine also experiments with a lot of really fun storytelling mechanics that look to be carrying over to True Colors as well. The aforementioned Steph bursts onto the scene in Before the Storm with one of the most fun segments in the game. Chloe returns to Blackwell Academy, and as you walk around and explore, you come across a game being played that heavily resembles Dungeons & Dragons. Steph and her friend Mikey are playing, and invite Chloe to join in. During this 15 or so minute segment, you’ll run through a choose-your-own-adventure scenario. It’s such a great introduction to both Steph and Mikey, as their personalities come across great through their actions in the tabletop game itself. This all happens in the first episode of the game, which was the perfect way to instill confidence in Deck Nine and how they’d go about handling their first entry into the series.

Though most of the game is already one big love letter to fans of the original Life is Strange, the DLC for Before the Storm, entitled “Farewell”, is some of the best content in the entire series. It’s the perfect conclusion to Before the Storm and an even better finale to the story of Max and Chloe. It features a number of incredibly touching moments that make you realize why you love these characters and their relationship so much.

Before the Storm is an incredibly easy game to overlook. The various number of factors going against it before launch definitely didn’t help, but as it turns out it’s one of the strongest entries in the franchise. It's a perfect showcase for Deck Nine's abilities when it comes to the series, and it's a game that should instill great confidence in those that might be worried about the overall direction of the franchise after DONTNOD's departure. Before True Colors releases and you get to know characters like Steph better, now is a great opportunity to jump in and immerse yourself in the world of Life is Strange through Before the Storm.

KEEP READING: 'Life is Strange: True Colors' - Breaking Down the New Powers in the Latest Gameplay Trailer



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