Life is Strange: Before The Storm: Part 1 - Awake: PS4 Review
Developed by Deck Nine
Published by Square Enix
The Life Is Strange episodic game series returns with a prequel to Chloe and Max's story.
And based on episode 1 - Awake's MO, it's going to be quite emotional.
Returning to Arcadia Bay, this time you get to focus on the younger Chloe and her more rebellious ways. Starting off by trying to get into a rock concert at a local sawmill, Chloe's got the punkish swagger and arrogance of youth down pat. Making a new friend at the event, Chloe's life is changed thereafter...
Life Is Strange: Before The Storm - Awake is a nice return to form for the game, but it does take a little while to settle in. There are still moments when Chloe's behaviour makes it difficult to feel for such a character, but there's a coming of age story within that's both universal and compellingly told thanks to the entrenching within the teen ways.
Added into the mix this time around is a Backtalk facility which uses the conversations to get her own way. It's a good touch, even if it's occasionally used in unbelievable moments to further the game rather than the growth. But when it's used with family, it feels more natural, a tacit admission that the back and forth is what defines the push and pull of teen relationships.
While some of the graphics occasionally look a little off, the indie-film vibe of Life is Strange: Before The Storm: Part 1 - Awake comes unabashedly filtering through, imbuing the game with a scrappy vibe that's charming and intriguing. There's no apparent evidence yet of direct consequences of choice, though one suspects that will come at a later stage.
All in all, Life is Strange: Before The Storm: Part 1 - Awake is a strong start to the return to Arcadia Bay and it's blessed with an emotional depth that taps in to the teen ethos for great effect.