This post contains mentions of familial death.

In my prior BEFORE THE STORM write-up I noted how I relate far more to Chloe than I did to Max, which seems to be an unpopular opinion but I am who I am. I didn’t go into details so here are a few additional reasons that dovetail with my youth.

Chloe is a quintessential young punk, whereas I was a quintessential young gothling; she sneaks out of her house to attend illicit live band shows in sketchy places; she feels all alone in the world, at least until she finds a friend in Rachel Amber who presents as a perfect straight-A student but is actually a hedonistic, rebellious queer youth.

Been there, done that (although not necessarily in that order).

“It’s okay not to be okay, Chloe Price.”

BEFORE THE STORM sees Chloe trying to heal after the abandonment of Max and the death of her father, and she finds solace in Rachel’s hands. For three episodes, we get see the joy in her eyes, the wonder of discovery, a whole new queer world opening up in front of her.

Again, if you’ve played the prior games, you know how this ends, and it is not good, but goddamnit, I just love to see Chloe — as angsty as she is in this point in her life — happy, if only momentarily.

Upon replaying, I was surprised at how much foreshadowing and groundwork was laid, although I definitely suggest playing this after the first game.

Also, upon replaying, I had Chloe interact a bit more aggressively and was happy I did so; the call-and-response is far more interesting than the rather milquetoast approach I took the first time.

While the game lacks any supernatural or superpower elements, it does have spectacle with fire. Again, these are not subtle games — it’s subtext to communicate the burning urges of youth — but I can’t help but love it, and visually the billowing smoke ever-present in the background is so very striking.

And while you don’t have Max’s rewind powers, the developers have nicely added a few new features to the dialogue trees to keep matters fresh. Never at any point in time does it feel like you’re simply watching a film — you feel like you are in control, and that your decisions make a difference.

Lastly, I’ll state: this post is concerning the remaster, which … is not great. It is not polished. It has a ton of bugs and crashed several times and honestly? Doesn’t even look good enough to merit the term ‘remaster’. However: I bought it simply so I’d have a physical copy, so I could play it on my Switch on a desert island until the batteries died. That’s how much I love this game.

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