Life is Strange: Before the Storm takes an uninhibited swan dive into the events that take place well… Before the storm. It’s a prequel to the first Life is Strange and follows Chloe Price, a sixteen-year-old misfit who’s having a hard time coping with the death of her father and the disappearance of her best friend Max.
From mouthing off and weaseling her way into seedy punk shows to blowing off school and smoking weed to self-medicate, Chloe’s I-don’t-give-a-fuck demeanor is a double edged sword. One side being a misunderstood cry for help and the other, a defense mechanism designed to keep the world at arm’s length.
I understand Chloe Price because she is a mirror image of who I was at 16.
I understand Chloe Price because she is a mirror image of who I was at 16. Although I don’t know what it feels like to lose a parent to incredibly unfortunate circumstances, I sure as hell know what it’s like to be an angst ridden teen that has to sit through unsolicited advice from my single parent’s love interest. I know what it’s like to be the misunderstood kid that hates high school with every fiber of their being. And, just like Chloe, I know what it’s like to be reminded daily by my teachers and parents of how much potential I’m letting go to waste by choosing not to abide by everyone else’s rules.
As I watched the events of episode 1 unfold, I was able to see past Chloe’s forced vulgar language, needlessly careless attitude, and boring lone wolf archetype that Life is Strange: Before the Storm is trying to convey. The reality is, what other reviewers have written off as cringy, angsty, and awkward is the embodiment of what our teen years are. It’s this ability to send me hurtling back to those very cringy, angsty, and awkward moments in time that made the storytelling in this episode something to be lauded.
The reality is, what other reviewers have written off as cringy, angsty, and awkward is the embodiment of what our teen years are.
For as much trouble that Chloe gets into, she is a good kid that’s just having a really hard time managing her feelings of abandonment. Chloe’s interactions with others always seem to teeter on the edge of selfless compassion and guarded mistrust. This pervades throughout episode 1 with every decision you make.
She openly expresses anger towards her father for leaving her and in the same moment, resents herself for it. She writes letters she has no intention of sending to her best friend Max telling her all about her latest escapades but making sure to end it with a reminder that she left without saying goodbye. Even her relationship with her mother suffers, as she’s convinced that her mother settled for less than what she deserves. The truth is, no one will ever match up to the standard she holds her father to.
As a teen going through a turbulent whirlwind of changes and repressed negative emotion, the only way Chloe knows how to cope is to give into her impulses. Ditching school, lashing out, and using substances like alcohol and weed are all signs of Chloe looking for an escape. Unfortunately, this results in her getting into trouble or pushing the people closest to her away.
It’s easy to see someone like her and think she’s incapable of feeling sadness or regret. But we get a close look at the real Chloe Price during a fight with Rachel Amber in the junkyard.
“I know, weird right? It’s just, today was the best day I’ve had since my dad died. And when I almost ruined it just now, the way I ruin everything, it made me realize whatever’s going on between us is special.”
The overall message in all this is that Chloe Price is far more complex than she lets on. What many people might consider a bratty teenager with an overexaggerated problem with authority is actually a pretty legitimate portrayal of a teen who’s suffered an incredible loss during a time of physical, emotional, and mental maturity. With her only friend gone, she’s left with no one but her mother to lean on, yet another person who’s going through her own, real adult problems.
Chloe is an ode to kids that are struggling with real issues but are lazily cast off as delinquents. Kids that are going through such a rough time, they aren’t necessarily concerned with how their actions might be right, or safe, or impact their future. Though her actions might seem exaggerated from a mature and level-headed perspective, try putting yourself in her shoes and see if it starts to make sense.
Thank you, Chloe Price. For being your cringy, angsty, and awkward self. I hope your character helps kids like you realize that although they might be misunderstood, they definitely aren’t alone.