The curse of the prequel is that we already know how they end so it’s hard to get dramatic tension, and so far Life is Strange Before the Storm has mostly avoided that pitfall. Episode one focused on Chloe, introduced us to Rachel as her first love interest and gave us a glimpse of how things were around town before the original game. Rather than trying to cover every little thing that happened before Life is Strange it picks one facet and expands on that. Focusing primarily on the two as a couple means the game can tell an impactful story without intruding on the already covered material. There is a lot going on in this episode, and most of it isn’t particularly positive for Chloe or Rachel. In fact, Rachel is apparently the only positive in Chloe’s life at the moment (despite adding her own troubles to the pile, too). However, that just makes things more tragic since we know that this will not end well. In a sense, this is using the fact that we know things aren’t going to work out between the two as a way of building tension that would otherwise not be there.
The most common complaint of the first episode was that the relationship between Chloe and Rachel developed entirely too fast. I’m willing to let this slide for two reasons. First, the three episode structure compresses the storytelling. Second, we’re clearly going for a Romeo & Juliet style tragedy. One of the core elements of the Romeo & Juliet story progression is that the two heroes have to fall in love too fast for reality to catch-up. That’s clearly happening here, and we can expect the end result to be explosive in Life is Strange Before the Storm Episode 3.
Many games of this style suffer from weak middle episodes, but Life is Strange Before the Storm episode 2 sidesteps that. Part of that is because they are cramming all this story into just three episodes, and part of it is because Deck Nine only has a narrow range of time to tell their story before it begins interfering with the events established in Life is Strange. Perhaps because of this some of the decisions you will make in this episode are surprisingly difficult, and the feeling of impending consequences is overwhelming. Even the annoying “backtalk” mechanic introduced in episode one is used relatively effectively here, although I would not at all be sad if it didn’t return for Episode 3. I am personally extremely excited for the final episode to drop so I can see how (badly) this is all going to end.