Life is Strange: Before the Storm – Farewell is a bonus DLC that chronicles the events that happened during Max Caulfield’s last day on Arcadia Bay as she spends time with her bestfriend Chloe. What I thought was going to be a cheesy mushy farewell turned out to be the most heart-wrenching goodbye I’ve ever witnessed. As always, be warned for major spoilers from the game. Skip to the end if you want to know the verdict.
Platform Reviewed: PC
Platforms Available: PS4, PC, Xbox One
Publisher: Square Enix Holdings
Developer: Deck Nine
Release Date: March 6, 2018
MSRP: Free bonus DLC
This review is based on the review code provided by Square Enix.
While this is a direct add-on to the Before the Storm game. It is nothing like how the base game works. There are no Backtalks and choices are very straightforward without any time constraints. This episode has a more laidback feel and gives you all the time you need to make your choices or explore the surroundings. This is Max’s last day after all before she leaves for Seattle where she and her parents are moving to.
The game starts off with Chloe and Max blowing up a few dolls with an explosive. This is probably the only action-packed scene out of them all while the rest of the game becomes a feels trip of emotions.
The nostalgia factor this game gives you doesn’t directly come from moments in the original Life is Strange game but it references a lot of the moments Chloe and Max spent as bestfriends. Exploring each area of the game points towards items filled with memories that Max narrates about and the significance of the item to her and Chloe.
Chloe asks Max to try and throw some junk from her room into a trash box. But this errand seems unfruitful as each time Max tries to throw an item Chloe stops her and tells her that each item has a sentimental value.
There are also points in the game where you can just lay back and listen to the game’s beautiful and melancholic soundtrack as the game shows you different angles and views of the area Max is currently in. This is also another callback to moments like these that can be found in both Life is Strange and Before the Storm.
Another feature that is a callback to the original game is Max’s penchant for taking pictures. A prompt usually comes up for a photo opportunity so don’t miss those if you have the chance. It provides another layer to the strong bond that Max and Chloe has.
The aim of this episode is for Max to tell Chloe that she’s leaving Arcadia Bay. There are two opportunities for you to do this, either at the beginning of the game or at the end of it. Telling Chloe sooner or later may affect how the whole game unfolds but I think that this is not that big of a deal overall.
Whether you tell Chloe or not, the game progresses after Chloe tells Max that she found a cassette tape that contains a message from their 8-year old selves. The message, however, sends them to a treasure hunt for a time capsule that they buried a long time ago.
Once they find the time capsule, it becomes another trip to memory lane as Max identifies each of the items they kept in the time capsule. There’s also a letter that they write to each other which they read aloud to find out that they both couldn’t really tell what their future selves were going to do.
This game also shows us how Chloe starts to rebel at Blackwell Academy. She confides in Max if you decide to listen to the voice message that was left for Chloe’s mother. Chloe said she dislikes a lot of the people at school because they are fake and that they make fun of Chloe being a scholar student. I can somewhat relate to what she was going through and I’m sure it’s a struggle that a lot of high school students face when they are thrusted into a world that they are not used to.
This is what I have always liked about this game. The fact that they touch upon real life issues that a normal teen usually goes through. Issues like bullying, suicide, harassment, and grief. Issues that other people tend to ignore and yet are very real to those that are affected. It is a very sensitive issue but Dontnod and Square Enix have really done a fine job of addressing it without sensationalizing the idea.
The revelation though after Max tells Chloe about leaving may seem to have no impact at the start. But what will catch the players off-guard is the revelation that this was the day that Chloe’s father dies in a car accident. Realizing that this was that moment, definitely gutted me. The impact this brings Chloe. The fact that her father died and then her bestfriend leaves the next day must have been very difficult for her. The struggle of losing two people who are most precious to you in one day must have been very hard to deal with. Any normal person would have gone insane. And this game delivered it in the most heart-wrenching way possible. What added more to the hurt was hearing Max’s farewell from a cassette tape as Chloe just got home from her father’s funeral. The loss and the sadness that washed over her seemed so real that I am even swelling right now with sad emotions as I type this. You can definitely feel the pain and the pain just doesn’t go away. I could never imagine how Chloe must have really felt at the moment and the game did a good job of conveying that along with its soundtrack.
The game definitely sends you into a whirlwind of emotions. From the happy moments that Max and Chloe shares to the gut-wrenching end that Chloe has to face alone. I cannot speak for everyone else but for those that this game hits home to, it’s a sad reminder how life can be fragile and how you can quickly lose it in an instant. So don’t waste any moment. Go hug your parents, go tell your loved ones how much you love them. Because you’ll never know when your last goodbye is.