Everything was not as it seemed in the picturesque Haven Springs; it's our brother, and we have to find out what happened. Life is Strange: True Colors is a rollercoaster of emotions, but is it one worth the ride?
I won’t lie to you, I have spent the past few weeks desperate to tell you about Life is Strange: True Colors, a game designed by Deck Nine and published by the famed Square Enix studios. If you haven’t played any of the Life is Strange series, True Colors is a stand-alone story – no worries, but you can expect to pick up on a few references and reunite with a few characters if you are already familiar to the series. True Colors is truly a generation nine title, making vast improvements as compared to prior titles – and that is saying something because this series is incredible.
What details do I need to know first?
True Colors is a third-person adventure-exploration game, now including the entirety of the story in one fell swoop rather than being episodic as its siblings are. A game that is in no rush to tell you how awesome it is, True Colors begins slow, introducing you piece by piece to the story and the town of Haven Springs. Honestly, I would usually grow bored of games like this, but this game is different; the sheer immersive potential of setting and story is addictive from the get-go. Like a good Netflix or Prime Series, True Colors leaves you itching to know what happens next, and if we are comparing it to a series, 13 Reasons Why might be a good place to start. Interested? You need not wait long, True Colors comes out on all major consoles, like the Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 4/5, on September 10th, bar the Nintendo Switch, which will only take several weeks longer to publish. Truthfully, it is a miracle that a game of this ilk is compatible on the Switch, so I don’t mind waiting a bit longer. Good things come to those who wait!
Where is the game set this time around?
No review of True Colors is complete without giving credit to the first-class design of the game’s home, Haven Springs, an idyllic little town that was previously a mining village, sitting rurally in the middle of the striking Colorado mountains. An Eden of sorts, Haven Springs is a utopia of nature and colour, omniscient peaks monitor the town as would the Gods, romantic trading stores bring bustle to the main street and a tranquil river washes away the denizen’s troubles and secrets, as do cute little birds who sing idly from the hedges. True Colors is set in the most picturesque of all locations, but is all as perfect as it seems? We all know what happened in Eden, is Haven Springs headed towards a similar fate?
'An Eden of sorts, Haven Springs is a utopia of nature and colour, omniscient peaks monitor the town as would the Gods, romantic trading stores bring bustle to the main street and a tranquil river washes away the denizen’s troubles and secrets.'
What is the game’s context?
True Colors takes us through its story in third person as the angsty Alex Chen, a teenager with the supernatural power of empathy who is basically the antithesis of a psychopath. As Alex, we come to know the many good-looking people living in Haven Springs, sometimes even romantically, as we see what they feel and why, reading their minds and occasionally becoming almost possessed by our sensitivity for their trauma, causing an explosion of spiritual colour and feeling referred to as a Nova. Alex has long buried the truth of her ability, never allowing others to cotton on to her intrusive abilities – that is until her long-lost brother, Gabe, dies in mysterious circumstances. Alex is drawn to find out why, Life is Strange: True Colors explores along the same lines of a murder-mystery, allowing Alex’s clairvoyance to lead the way and come to the rescue.
'Alex has long buried the truth of her ability, never allowing others to cotton on to her intrusive abilities – that is until her long-lost brother, Gabe, dies in mysterious circumstances.'
Is it written well? Does it look ok?
If I were to skim over the writing behind True Colors, I would probably end up offending myself; the game is superbly written, a real tear-jerker and at other times a tension-builder. Better still, the game uses its detailed character profiles as leverage, making you care enough to ponder pedantically over every decision made, even if that decision is in ostensibly unimportant dialogue-tree sequences, or choosing between two vinyl records or bouquets of flowers. At the end of the day, a gaming experience of this kind necessitates some stellar writing, and True Colors does not disappoint, nor does it fall short in the auditory department either. All Life is Strange titles have some awesome soundtracks, using songs by the likes of Wolf Alice, Phoenix, Daughter and Gorillaz, and True Colors is no exception – it is like playing an indie film. How about the visuals of the game? Well, at the worst of times True Colors looks modestly aesthetic, and at the best of times this game will just blow you away – check out the above paragraph for a reminder of imagery, or take a minute to appreciate the screenshots included. Some games just have a real knack for engrossing the player to such an extent that it feels like they are really there, True Colors is one of these games, with all aspects of the game, writing, visuals, sound and plotline, converging to create a truly absorbing experience.
'At the worst of times True Colors looks modestly aesthetic, and at the best of times this game will just blow you away.'
Will there be a DLC package?
Turning into a slew of strange lives, True Colors lends us the opportunity to occupy more than just the perspective of Alex, but instead allowing us to delve into the character of Steph, the returning fan-favourite who runs Haven Spring’s radio station. The DLC, called Wavelengths, consists of a new Steph-oriented narrative fortified in typical Life is Strange style by a fresh soundtrack containing Alt-J and Sigur Ros, so you can infer how stylish this insanely detailed additional content is.
If you are still on the fence about playing Life is Strange: True Colors, perhaps consider that the gaming saga as a whole is being converted as we speak into a TV series by the same guys who produced the Batman Trilogy, Inception, Interstellar, the upcoming film Dune and sundry other blockbuster films – so, I guess you could say that Life Is Strange is kind of a big deal. Anyhow, Life is Strange: True Colors comes out on the 10th of September, the perfect time to accompany us through the winter, easing the bitter dark of cold winter days with the warmth and welcoming of Haven Springs, holding our attention with the intricacy and subtle tension of the plot, appeasing our hearts with sublime character development and a story that grips you from day one – can you tell I am eager to play this one?
You can purchase Life is Strange: True Colors using this link.
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