Life is Strange is a popular franchise known for its compelling characters and even more exciting storylines. Dontnod Entertainment developed the first iterations of the franchise, but Deck Nine took the reins for True Colors. With a new story and interesting characters, has Life is Strange: True Colors left its mark on the popular series? Find out in my Life is Strange: True Colors review!
Life Is Strange: True Colors is available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, and Google Stadia for $59.99 with the game being reviewed on the Series family of consoles.
Story – True Colors Is A Story Full of Empathy
True Colors, like previous Life is Strange games, lends a mix of supernatural to the daily, “Alex Chen has long suppressed her ‘curse’: the supernatural ability to experience, absorb and manipulate the strong emotions of others, which she sees as blazing, colored auras. When her brother dies in a so-called accident, Alex must embrace her explosive power to find the truth – and uncover the dark secrets buried by a small town.”
Life Is Strange: True Colors has SO much character; it’s unreal. I don’t want to go into too much detail about things, mainly because this is truly a joy to experience. The story is a traditional one, big, harmful company versus small-town life, but it’s exceptionally well done. That being said, it’s a story about empathy, personal growth, and how to love and accept yourself.
Where True Colors shines is in its characters. This is a character-driven story, and the team knocked it out of the park with this cast of characters. They quickly make the player fall in love with Gabe, Alex’s brother, right away, making it all the more heartbreaking to lose him so soon in the game. You feel the grief and loss of Gabe along with the inhabitants of Haven; it really works to bond the player to what’s happening in the game. Even the characters who make bad or harmful decisions are hard to hate and even easier to care for.
Haven quickly became one of my all-time favorite settings for a video game. I can’t even remember the last time I played a game where the setting felt like a character in itself. It feels so alive and set apart from the real world. Haven itself has a special kind of magic that lets the player believe that superpowers are real. More than once, I found myself thoroughly enjoying just walking around town, exploring the local haunts, and getting to know the citizens.
Gameplay – My Choices Actually Matter?!
In games like Life Is Strange: True Colors, it’s so easy to feel like your choices don’t matter. Narrative games like this tend to make the player believe that they’re affecting the story when it’s really just set on rails. True Colors doesn’t feel like that at all. From significant decisions to small interactions between characters, every choice seems to matter. When my playthrough ended, my immediate reaction was to start the game over to experience all the branches of these thoughtful stories.
Other than making decisions, much of the gameplay revolves around Haven, reading thoughts, and interacting with objects. I won’t go into detail to preserve the surprise, but there are some RPG elements as well (It’s easily one of the sweetest and funnest sections of the game!). The controls are smooth and straightforward, which allows the story itself to shine.
Graphics and Audio – Rocking Soundtrack, Flat Graphics
The soundtrack for Life Is Strange: True Colors is phenomenal. Music almost seems like a character in itself, with how important is it to the characters and the town of Haven. The soundtrack is a soft rock blend that appears to capture the enchanting atmosphere of Haven and, as if by supernatural means, perfectly sets the mood for specific interactions. It’s handled with craft and extraordinary attention to detail, and I constantly looked up songs and artists while playing.
Along with the soundtrack, the performances were outstanding. Each character feels genuine and unique, and a lot of that has to do with the mocap. The characters feel very human, especially Alex and Gabe, which is huge to selling the story and one of the reasons why it works so well.
Unfortunately, in our True Colors review, it does falter slightly when it comes to graphics. The designs are great and fun to look at; it just doesn’t feel like it was made for next-gen consoles. A handful of times, I had these weird black boxes take up parts of the screen while playing. It seemed to happen during romantic encounters where the opposite characters could be swapped out, which was frustrating. On top of that, the load screens seemed to take way too long, and it had a way of taking me out of the experience.
Life Is Strange: True Colors sets a new precedent for games like this going forward, in and out of the franchise. It honestly feels like every choice matters, and I spent so much time thinking over my decisions and how they resonated throughout the story. This is majorly due to how compelling every character in this story is. From the town drunk to the possible love interests, I legitimately cared about how my decisions could affect the other inhabitants of Haven, and exploring their personalities through Alex’s ability is quite the experience.
Haven is potentially one of my new favorite settings for a game, and it was a joy to explore the town. The moment my initial playthrough ended, I immediately wanted to start it again to see how differently the story could play out. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll get angry. There’s a charm to True Colors’ sense of humor that sets the tone for this thoughtful experience.
If the graphics had matched the detail-oriented crafting of the story, this would have easily been a five-star experience. However, visual glitches, black screens, and super-long load screens put a damper on the experience.
True Colors is a journey in empathy that deserves to be fully explored whether you’re new to the franchise or a tried-and-true fan.
Are you a fan of Life is Strange: True Colors and enjoyed our review? Let us know in the comments below!
- Compelling, very human characters
- A heartwarming story about empathy and self-discovery
- Great setting, atmospheric soundtrack, and thoughtful performances
- It felt like the choices really mattered
- Graphical glitches (black screens, etc.)
- Long loading screens
- Pacing in the final chapter