Life Is Strange: Before the Storm - Episode 3: Hell Is Empty
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The conclusion to Hell Is Empty didn't give me my runaway future, but the prequel nature of Life Is Strange: Before The Storm made that an impossible dream. Instead, another story shoves it aside, trying to find the difference between what is right for someone and what is good for them, but there isn't enough time in this episode to deliver this message and round out everything else. This pace leaves it rushed and somewhat tunnel-visioned. That said, characters I cared about and real, hard choices which often don't feel truly right or wrong kept my gut firmly wrenched throughout. Light puzzles break up the talking and drama but again serve to remind us that "correct” isn't necessarily “right.” Instead, there's a strong single theme that's delivered well in a story that isn't afraid to get in a few punches.
The episode itself has its weak points, but it's still a successfully heart-rending finale to one of the great storytelling achievements in gaming.
Chloe and Rachel's complicated friendship shines in this finale, making you care about each character and the bond they share in a way you couldn't fully grasp in the original series
Three years ago, we were introduced to Chloe as she was a desperate and lost young woman. We were told that Rachel meant a lot to her, but we didn't know the half of it. Before the Storm provides that context and it's immensely successful in the way it tells that story. In my favorite scene from all of Life is Strange, Chloe was willing to don a silly outfit, get on stage, and stammer through Shakespeare to protect her friend. That's about as un-Chloe as it gets. Rachel clearly means the world to her.
Deck Nine has lived up to the expectations and has crafted a perfectly fitting ending to Chloe Price's journey. Although Life is Strange: Before the Storm could have had a couple more chapters, "Hell is Empty" is a more than enjoyable finale to the prequel.
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The overall story stayed interesting throughout, the characters were complex, the bigger themes were brilliant and it was a generally emotional and expertly executed second trip to Arcadia Bay.
Certainly not a calm before the storm, but while it's full of wonderful characters this final chapter feels unsatisfactory.
By improving upon the issues of the last two episodes while continuing their successes, the conclusive episode to Life is Strange: Before the Storm is a near-flawless end to the impactful, heartfelt prequel.
Some players may well prefer Max and her powers to the more grounded story of Chloe, but the prequel is still a worthwhile journey through Arcadia Bay and an appropriate telling of the events before Max returned to the area.
A solid ending to the powerful Life is Strange prequel series, Hell is Empty delivers all the emotional beats that you would expect as Chloe and Rachel's adventures come to a close.