A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Focuses heavily on what lack of stability does to a teenager, so pushing boundaries, flirting with peers, even committing crimes, and trying to make mature emotional, responsible decisions are core parts of experience.
Positive Role Models
Chloe is a teen who has burned bridges after a personal tragedy. Everyone has an agenda for, expectations of, or a black-and-white view of her. If you help people, they like her, but that's made more complicated by affecting others in unexpected ways.
Ease of Play
Simple controls, easy to learn, play.
Violence & Scariness
Some fistfights break out at an off-the-grid rock show. Family tensions run high for many characters, and screaming, shouting, and trying to intentionally hurt one another emotionally are fairly common.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual prowess, size of genitals, other aspects of reproduction frequently touched on with frankness, snark. Early on, you can spot a poster with heavily stylized, though also obscured, nude women. Adultery a core plot point.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Every expletive imaginable casually tumbles out in conversation.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Sequel to very popular award-winning episodic game. First episode in a three-episode arc, with downloadable content available.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Alcohol, smoking used by characters; one incident where you have to steal a bottle of wine. Characters not shown being drunk.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Life Is Strange: Before the Storm is a downloadable episodic graphic adventure that takes place in a fictional town in Oregon called Arcadia Bay. There's tons of adult content even though ostensibly it's aimed at a young adult audience. It features direct talk and conversations about alcohol and substance abuse, adultery, arson, and other troubles generally associated with the difficulty of teenage years and forging one's identity. There's light violence and some supernatural elements hinting at wider destruction coming to the whole town, as well as thoughts on the need for revenge. There are still two more episodes to be released in this game, which will presumably and reportedly get darker still.
Is It Any Good?
While its 2015 predecessor dabbled in teenage unrest, finding one's identity, and time travel to explore consequences, the sequel is focused on why and how some decisions can't be fixed or saved. Newcomers will simply not appreciate or notice as much of what's going on in the story -- such as questions that were left unanswered, or the significance of some settings -- but series devotees may either be impressed or turned off by Life Is Strange: Before the Storm's bold and arguably laudatory move to eliminate unnecessary puzzles. While the previous game was stopped in its tracks by an obligation to make the game feel more "gamelike," this one is much more intent on having you focus on characters, story, and developing relationships with everyone you come across. As such, the running time on the first installment is noticeably short, because the experience has been made more streamlined with more opportunities to breathe. This is both a good and bad thing. Rather than rehash a bunch of stuff, Before the Storm is poised to tell its own story even if series fans know the fate of all involved in the early game that follows later in plot. But even still, the first episode feels a tad rushed: the few things you know are supposed to happen feel tossed off and rushed compared to everything else.
Regardless of where you are, though, the overall flow of the game stays the same: fully probe one set-piece, learn what you can, and talk to people. There's no big boss to fight -- just decisions to make and making the call about how honest you want to be. It's a very different sort of game. Out of the gate, Before the Storm had a lot of knocks against it -- easily the biggest was the fact that the voice actors' strike prevented performers from coming back to reprise their roles. Surprisingly, and something that's no small feat, this prequel's acting isn't as glaring as it might have seemed. On top of that, this being developed by another studio has so far proved that creative license has only been taken with full respect and with bold direction. It will certainly be interesting and refreshing to see where it's heading.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.