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SDCC 2017: Hands-on with Chloe's changing world in Life is Strange: Before the Storm

Last time I went into the eye of the hurricane that is Life is Strange: Before the Storm, I felt most of my initial skepticism washed away after seeing 20 minutes of the game at E3. It appeared that the folks at Deck Nine Games were putting all of their efforts into making this a faithful entry into this game's lore, telling Chloe Price's story from her own point of view and painting the picture of an agonized teen fresh off a life-changing tragedy.

Shacknews was eager to see more of Chloe's story unfold, so I packed up my car and made the drive down to San Diego, CA for this year's San Diego Comic Con, where I was not only allowed to go hands-on with the E3 sequence, but also take a look at the scene's aftermath for the first time.

The playable portion of the demo is exactly what was released to the public. In fact, there are few differences between what's been released to the public and what other actions Chloe can take. There isn't a legal way for Chloe to scoop up the Fire Walk tee that catches her eye. And there isn't really a way to score weed off of Frank without stealing the vendor's money. While consequences are promised for these actions, the demo is far too short for them to play out.

One difference does come when Chloe is confronted in the attic by the two drunken hoodlums she bumps into. When Rachel Amber comes up to create a distraction, Chloe is given the choice to either get physical or simply run. Running allows Chloe to escape unscathed, while I had seen that taking the other option would cause Chloe to get hit in the eye with a noticeable blemish.

As the scene concluded, it was time to check out this scene's aftermath. Sure enough, choices from the night before do influence certain elements of the story going forward. In particular, Chloe is told to get dressed for school, so she pulls out her clothes drawer and finds a selection of shirts, which will include the Fire Walk tee, depending on whether Chloe opts to steal it. There isn't quite enough time in the demo to see whether Chloe choosing to wear the stolen tee will have any consequences, as it looks like those answers will come when the full episode releases.

As soon as Chloe's dressed, it's time to head down to the car to meet up with David for a ride to school. Those that played the original Life is Strange will recall David as a brutally strict authority figure, one who has been at odds with (and even physically abusive with) Chloe throughout their interactions in the game.

However, this is an entirely different David. This is a David that's far friendlier than his original incarnation. He still has his issues, but here he's somebody that's genuinely trying to reach out and befriend Chloe, recognizing that she's the daughter of the woman he's currently dating. Chloe, on the other hand, is coming off the death of her father and sees David as a threat. She sees him as somebody that's trying to step in and replace her deceased father so soon after he passed. So she gets snappy with him, rejects any overtures, and basically distances herself from him with her naturally cutting personality. At one point, David offers up a fist bump and the player is given the option whether to reciprocate it or refuse it.

It was hard to imagine having any kind of sympathy for David after the first game. And it should be noted that he still shows signs of being a sexist jerk in this prequel, too. But watching him try and act like a father figure to Chloe and fail was sad to watch. Yet it's easy to empathize with Chloe, who had so recently lost her father and isn't in any kind of state to put up with a new person trying to fill that role. After watching this scene and watching Chloe sullenly sit in the passenger seat to head to school, I continued to get the sense that Deck Nine fully understands this world and understands what it means to get in the heads of these characters.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm promises to dive deeper into more of the characters that players of the first game have grown familiar with, while telling a fresh new story. Get ready to return to Arcadia Bay when it releases on August 31 for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.

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