Life is Strange has entered into players' lives in a disruptive, unusual, even magical way. It allowed them to connect unexpectedly to its characters and their stories, but above all to their emotions, weaving an unbreakable link between the player and the universe created by Dontnod. The developers themselves probably didn't expect such positive feedback from the gaming community when the Life is Strange phenomenon surprisingly exploded in their hands, and Max, Chloe, and even Rachel soon became really popular on forums, even after the conclusion of the first extraordinary season.
After building a solid narrative and strengthening its foundations, with added thanks to Life is Strange: Before the Storm - a decent prequel, this time developed by Deck Nine Games - we have another slice of story in the form of Before the Storm: Farewell, the last missing piece needed to complete the whole puzzle. This episode shows us the state of their friendship just before Max moves to Seattle; a way to provide further background to 2015's episodic adventure.
Farewell is a bonus episode contained in Before the Storm's Deluxe Edition, although Standard Edition owners can access it by upgrading their game. Here we're shown Max's last hours in Arcadia Bay as she says goodbye to Chloe. Unlike Before the Storm, however, we play as Max once again and we watch her torn by doubt and uncertainty just before revealing her move to Seattle to her best friend. The bonus content, lasting less than a couple of hours, explores the life of the two 13-year-old protagonists almost like a time machine, retracing events through photographs, conversations, thoughts, and through the foundation of their friendship.
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More than ever, Farewell's mechanics are reduced to almost zero. If in Life is Strange and Before the Storm there was little in terms of actual gameplay, in this bonus episode the player interaction is even more limited. Your input mainly focuses on understanding when's the right time to reveal your secret to Chloe, delaying the moment that you say goodbye in order to enjoy some additional time with her. However, in spite of the limited gameplay, our emotional involvement in the events revealed during this short episode is enough to offer us one of the most touching and upsetting moments in the franchise.
What makes Farewell so beautiful is the gentle way it leads us by the hand into the life of these two teenagers, experiencing what's precious in their friendship. The fact that Deck Nine invites us to explore the Price house is a natural and fluid way to discover further nuances and missing pieces relating to the various characters who, in one way or another, have found a place in our hearts and are there to stay. But there's something more, as what makes this bonus episode so special is an extraordinary reflection that comes from it; metaphorically speaking, Farewell explores the traumatic transition from childhood to adulthood.
Whether it's moving to another city or the disappearance of a loved one, it doesn't matter; those years represent a delicate phase in the life of every young man and woman, during which our insecurities begin to come to the surface, where some certainties, until then unshakable, crumble under our fingers without being able to hold them back. The strength of Farewell lies in reviving, through the lives of Max and Chloe, a difficult moment that is common to all of us, here reflecting on it lightheartedly, perhaps with a more adult eye. "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," the old saying goes, and that's the message that this bonus episode brings with it, because it's from the ashes of that complex and tormented shared experience that we build ourselves, our individuality, exactly as happens to Max and Chloe in Life is Strange andBefore the Storm.
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Saying our last goodbye to Max and Chloe isn't easy. After having lived and shared exceptional adventures in Arcadia Bay with them over the past three years, saying goodbye via this episode was more painful than we expected. After giving us a wave of overwhelming emotion once again with a touching finale, Deck Nine has given our heartstrings one last pull, and it's a fatal one, one which makes our separation from two of the most complex, intriguing, and unique heroines that we have crossed on our video game paths even more difficult. Despite its brevity, Farewell concludes one of the most precious stories of recent times, one we'll keep talking about and remember for a long time to come.
8 / 10
Max and Chloe are back together; Devastating, exciting, unforgettable; A perfect ending to a series that already has a place in our hearts.
It's a bit short and the ending was unfairly rushed.