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  1. Let me start of by saying Merry Christmas to all of you and a Happy New Year for when it comes. I’d normally begin my review of PC games with a tech report but here there's very little point here, I’m playing at 2K on the max settings the game will allow and I’m hitting the buffers at 144 FPS in a game where frames and resolutions barely even matter…. just like in the original so regardless of you system you should manage especially if you played the original already. I'll leave links to Steam at the and so you check minimum and recommend from there and of course they are both available on PS4 and XBox One as well. Well let’s get started: Presentation: 5/10 The graphics seem a bit downgraded which is weird for a game with this kind of art style. This is probably partly due to the switch form Unreal Engine to Unity but that’s not an excuse for the game like this to look worse than the one that came out nearly 3 years prior. It looks more washed out with noticeably uglier textures dotted here and there with less convincing lighting, weather and water effects and animations seem stiffer to. Maybe Unity is cheaper to develop on or the new developer (Deck Nine) is more used to working with it or something but it definitely has not worked to this game's favour. The music and sound design are on par with the original in terms of quality but it’s not quite as memorable. It’s the sort of soundtrack you forget kinda quickly whereas the original sticks with you. It’s good, but just not as good. Sadly the most important component of the audio, the voice acting is another downgrade. I feel bad about saying it because it’s not really the devs fault. Key cast members including the lead had to be changed because of the SAG-AFTRA strike. Which neatly leads us onto the next section. Characters, Story and Writing: 6/10 (4/10) The game of course predates the events of Life is Strange by 3 years with Chloe as the main playable protagonist and focuses her relationship with Rachel, the “missing” girl from the first game. It explains how they met and ultimately bonded, with only the first 3 Episodes in the bag as of now the story isn’t complete so I’m only going to draw conclusions and analyse the characters based on what we have right now but my opinion may change in the future with further content. They got Rhianna DeVries to replace Ashly Burch and I give her credit as she has clearly put a lot of effort in and it is the best performance in the game but Chloe just isn't the same. She seemed much more spunk and energy when it was Ashley doing the voice but Ashly is making a return for the Bonus episode with Max so at least we have that to look forward to. This could be more the fault of the writing which affects everyone. I believe I heard one guy on YouTube describe as “a bit Lucas” and I have to agree. The character that suffers the most for this by far is Rachel so she’s the one I will use to illustrate this. I will be going into some spoilers here but if you have played the original (maybe even if you haven't) then what I’m about to spoil is something you probably would have guessed anyway but still you have been warned. Despite how much I feel about some poor writing and character choices the story is actually fairly strong and with its share of funny, dramatic and intense moments. Even though it has bane of prequel curse where I already know some of what ultimately happens I still kept me for the most part guessing and wanting to know how it ultimately connects and it kept me going. I still like these characters and want where it goes from here, I just hope what has to come doesn’t feel the need to establish things quite so damn fast! EDIT: I was kinda running the assumption there was more story to come, although I do still think that is likely to happen I'm going post my thoughts on the way(s) this game ends right as it is now, and it does change some of my opinions quite dramatically! Some of my scores will be adjusted with this in mind and next to my previously posted scores and highlighted in green. Since of course this of course contains spoilers for both titles..... well you know the drill: Gameplay: 4/10 This is where the package ultimately fails the most for me. Allot of games like this are derogatorily described as “walking simulators” which I think is very unfair and can’t help but feel that people who use it are missing the point. Despite all that I’m afraid to say…… this kind of is a walking simulator…... with talking. The basic structure for most of the game is literally walk here, investigate that, talk to him, have a cutscene, walk back, and so on…. The original Life is Strange as well the likes of Beyond Two Souls, some action games like The Last of Us and even a number of first Person shooters manage to tell way more of their story and have character interaction though active gameplay rather than relying connecting cutscenes most of the time….. which this game does! Another thing is Chloe's dialogue influence ability which replaces Max’s reversing time mechanic. I get that they couldn't do that again but It’s nowhere near as fun, engaging or fresh as what they had before. It’s not the worst Idea since smart talking her way out of a situation definitely suits Chloe’s character and it does do it in a slightly more original way that most but it doesn't change the fact that we see these kind of mechanics all the time. I didn’t find it very challenging either, for most of these all you have to do is pick the choice that features a word the NPC just said. It also ties it into the aforementioned problem of so much more of the game being within cutscenes. There are so many points when I felt I should have had some interaction during a cutscene but didn't and that’s’ annoying! I’ll post an example behind a SPOILER. Final Verdict: 6/10 (4/10) The writing doesn't feel as natural, the performances aren't as convincing and the fundamental design of the gameplay is nowhere near as compelling or interactive. I feel like I’m in cutscenes way more than in the original which had allot more happening during actual gameplay. This however is all in comparison to game that I would rate about a 9/10 so it’s certainly not as shameful as it sounds. There are some fun and interesting moments but ultimately, taking the reins on a project with as much acclaim as this is a herculean task and is going have close scrutiny and criticism no matter what. There will of course be those that will defend it no matter what, I myself have been heavily critical here but I like to think I’ve been as constructive and as honest as I can. Each Episode takes roughly an an hour to hour and a half so it is a fair amount of content for the price. I can only truly recommend this if you are a fan of the the original even then it's not a strong one. If you haven't played it then try Episode 1 for free first before getting drawn to this prequel. Life is Strange, Steam Life is Strange: Before the Storm, Steam