GAME REVIEW: Life is Strange: True Colors

Title: Life is Strange: True Colors

Developer: Deck Nine Games

Publisher: Square Enix

Release Date: September 10th, 2021

Reviewed on: PlayStation 5

Introduction:

Life is Strange: True Colors is story driven adventure put in a third-person perspective that follows Alex Chen as she uses her gift or curse superpower of empathy to discover the mysteries surrounding her brother Gabe’s untimely death.

Synopsis:

After being in the foster care system for years and split up from her brother Gabe, Alex takes a bus to a small town called Haven Springs located in Colorado to be reunited with him. She has a bit of bliss as she feels happy again before it spirals out of control upon the death of her brother Gabe while on a rescue mission in the outskirts of a mining facility. Now Alex must uncover the truth using her powers of empathy.

Life is Strange: True Colors begins with Alex talking to her doctor about her well-being and discussing her trip to Haven Springs to reunite with her brother after being separated within the foster system. Shortly after arriving she meets the locals who all know of her arrival and make her feel welcomed. It is short lived, when a girl named Riley’s jealous boyfriend Mac, attacks her brother, Alex’s power than surfaces, as Mac’s anger flows through her, to avenge Gabe. Here is where her powers of empathy come forth and become a big part of the story ahead.    

Over the course of 5 chapters Alex must accept her powers and use them to uncover the truth of her brother’s death. In doing so she discovers the beauty of the mountains while unearthing secrets of the past. As she makes friends and enemies, you can see the growth of Alex as she becomes more confident in herself and the powers that she believes to be a curse. Are you ready to empathize with the locals?

   

Analysis:

The world of Haven Springs and Alex Chen: As soon as you arrive in Haven Springs, you are drawn in by its beauty and instantly feel that small town warmth and vibe. As your brother Gabe greets you and you begin to cross the bridge over the river, the music begins to play. These sights and sounds of birds, deer, and the rushing current, transports you into this place as though, you as an outsider, have just been initiated as an official resident. The powerful imagery and sound really make you slow down and feel like you should go on a hike yourself, which we should all do occasionally.

The town itself has a few places you will frequent and people you will encounter along the way, including:

Rocky Mountain Record Traders – The local record shop where Alex first meets Ryan Lucan and Steph Gingrich while looking for a gift for her brother. Ryan is a park ranger and one of her brothers’ best friends. Steph runs the record store and is also the local radio station host. Both characters are potential love interests during this game.

The Silver Dragon – A dispensary run by Charlotte Harmon, who is the girlfriend of Alex’s brother Gabe. Charlotte is an amazing artist known around the area. She has a son named Ethan who loves to make comics and LARP (Live Action Role-Play.) When Alex firsts encounters Ethan, she knows he has an imaginative flair to him and immediately bond over his creativity.   

Lethe Flowers – The towns flower shop is run by Eleanor, who has owned the shop for thirty years, is sweet and a bit forgetful. Her granddaughter Riley helps her run the shop while she is preparing for college. Gabe, who helps Riley with her college questions, is the cause for the fight between him and Riley’s boyfriend Mac. Mac’s jealousy gets the best of him.    

Black Lantern – A bar and restaurant owned by Jed Lucan, the father of Ryan. It’s a lively place for a small town, where you hear a lot of the history and gossip. Jed also owns the apartment above the establishment which Gabe lives in, and he also offers a job to Alex once she is settled in. The apartment is small, but cozy and offers a rooftop garden an amazing view. You can bet that every chapter of the game you can spend in both places.

Typhon Mining Company – A big corporation surrounding Haven Springs with its main office located in Denver. Typhon is a shady company that seems to be keeping secrets from the locals, most of which have or are working for them. The people we see within the game tied to typhon is the regional operations manager Diane Jacobs, safety manager Mac Loudon, and former foreman Jed Lucan who is a local hero from a mining accident that occurred years prior. What untold secrets are buried within this organization?

Other characters that make an appearance that are part of your journey are “Duckie” Reginald McCallister III a long-time resident, Jason Pike the deputy sheriff, and John and Wendy Chen parents of Gabe and Alex. The cast of characters are colorful and varied which make this a roller coaster experience for the player.   

  

The gameplay:

the game can be best described as a graphic novel of sorts that is played out in a third-person view. Alex is able to see her surroundings and the game allows you to interact with the objects in the space you are in. By interacting with these objects, you get a better understanding about yourself and the plethora of characters in the game, all while slowly unraveling a mystery.

When Alex uses her empath powers, she can reveal deeper meaning behind certain objects or people within the levels. The colors surrounding people and objects can mean different emotions. Blue for sad, purple for fear, red for anger, and gold for pure joy. These interactions can lead to story altering decisions both big and small.

Certain parts of the game offer diverse ways to play and interact, one such portion of the game appears in Chapter 3: Monster or Mortal. This chapter has LARP gameplay. Ethan has been given a mission from the king. The game turns into a turn-based RPG (Role-Playing Game) where you can find or buy scrolls to aid in your fights with wolves and other creatures. This chapter offered a wonderful mix up in the gameplay and really ensnared me into the LARP itself. The end boss fight was a great follow through.

Other elements I love within the game is you can play foosball with certain characters in the game. You can help people that may influence the story later and I love the party in the park where you preform for the crowd. A lot of thought went into the settings in how you interact with them.  

The best parts of this game require not doing anything at all. Sit down on a bench, a comfortable chair, roof top garden, or on the docks overlooking the lake and prepare for a musical treat. Like most Life is Strange games, you will be immersed into a well of melodic sounds from bands, singers, and artists. The library of music is stunning so please do stop and smell the flowers.

Wavelengths DLC (Downloadable Content) – In addition to the game an extra piece of gameplay can be purchased separately or is included with the deluxe or ultimate editions. It includes extra clothing sets for Alex to wear but what I was more excited about was the story in this DLC. The DLC follows Steph Gingrich as she becomes the manager of the record store. You get to DJ, take customer calls, decorate the store, clean out the back room and discover the history, while discovering your character. All this takes place before Alex arrives. A fun fact is that Steph’s character is in Life is Strange: Before the Storm so its nice to see the game connected in this way.

Score: 4.5

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Life is Strange: True Colors

I have played all Life is Strange games which include: Life is Strange, Life is Strange: Before the Storm, The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, and Life is Strange 2. Between Deck Nine and Don’t Nod who have developed these titles, I believe this series is a substantial contribution to the video game genre and I cannot wait to see more in the future. Please play this amazing game series and you may agree that life is indeed strange.  

Shane Kelley is a Senior writer for Boss Rush Network, as well as a writer for Another Zelda Podcast. His favorite game is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. You can find him on Twitter to talk video games, Marvel, and axe throwing.

Sources: Taken by Author

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