Life is Strange: True Colours Review

If you’ve played a Life is Strange game before, you’ll probably know what to expect with Life is Strange: True Colours. The first game in the franchise pioneered some incredibly intriguing visual storytelling and the subsequent games have solidly built on this formula. Life is Strange: True Colours is the latest from developer Deck Nine and publisher Square Enix. Deck Nine aren’t strangers to the franchise since they worked on the prequel (Life is Strange: Before the Storm) to the original Life is Strange game.

So first and foremost, it should be stated that this game is absolutely not for children. This game features intensely hard hitting and heavy emotional and psychological themes which helps to drive its plot forward and ultimately makes this a story worth playing through. The game’s story is the best part of the package much like with previous Life is Strange titles. If you’re a fan of emotionally driven storytelling with plenty of mystery, intrigue, drama, comedy and more, this is the game for you.

Players in Life is Strange: True Colours will take on the role of Alex Chen. Alex is young woman who has survived the foster home system in the USA and is now moving to Colorado to visit her brother, Gabe. Players will control Alex as she reaches a sleepy town in the mountains where her brother stays. The story kicks off with Alex arriving in Haven Springs with players speaking to Gabe and learning more about the town and its inhabitants in a chapter-based process. The first chapter of the game barely scratches the surface of what’s to come as it introduces much of the game’s main cast but also shows off a tiny portion of Alex dark secret.

What pray tell is Alex’s dark secret you might be asking? Well, she can see emotions or auras around people. This “Power” of hers however is extremely detrimental because she seemingly cannot control it when emotions become deeply intense. An early example of this is when a particular character is raging with anger. Alex detects this disturbance of emotions and succumbs to its pull on her. Without spoiling too much of the story, Life is Strange: True Colours explores a multitude of situations where Alex must deal with the people of Haven Springs as she tries to integrate herself into her new hometown. Of course, everything isn’t always peachy keen in video games and the story of Life is Strange: True Colours takes on some incredibly dark and hard-hitting psychological drama twists. This is a story that must be played and paid attention to for it to be fully appreciated.

Gameplay in Life is Strange: True Colours involves players moving around in specific locations with Alex. Alex will be able to investigate objects in the environment while you listen to her internal monologue explain things. Alex can also interact with people by speaking to them and you as the player will watch scenes play out where you can respond with choices which have direct impacts on the story at hand. Sounds fairly standard but the gameplay implications of your choices do make a significant difference in this title.

Each person’s playthrough in Life is Strange: True Colours will vary based on their choices and actions in the game. For example, you could mess up a person’s order during the bar sequence or you could straight up lie to someone about something or withhold critical information from them. There’s a lot of moral questioning and in a game where your main playable character can actually detect emotions via auras, it gets pretty intense in the later chapters.

The emotionally driven storytelling of Life is Strange: True Colours is where the game hooks you. Each and every single character in this game is great. They all have personalities, significant backstories and there’s character growth which shows through with the excellent voice acting and cutscenes. This is a fantastic game which will keep you coming back for more as you delve deeper into Haven Spring’s community and colourful cast of characters.

Alex has access to a smartphone and the game integrates this into the story with text messages which come through occasionally as well as previous chat history and social media posts on “My Block” (which is the community chat board for the sleepy Colorado mountain town you’re in). Alex also has access to a journal where she notes down important events. This is a staple of the Life is Strange franchise and it’s great to see it here again.

Players will come across segments in the story where you can chill out or experience a “Zen” moment and let Alex air her thoughts. These are usually paired with some of the game’s fantastic choice in music. The OST of Life is Strange: True Colours, much like the other titles in the franchise features a lot of indie artists and alternative rock music. There are some excellent songs used in this game and players might find themselves a new catchy tune to add to their playlist.

Life is Strange: True Colours also features some distraction mini-games to enjoy throughout your playthrough. These a great and introduce variety to the standard role-playing you’ll be doing. Players can also alter Alex’s look by changing her clothes back at home. One major grip that’s to be had with the game is the lack of manual save files. Since you can’t save and load manually you are unable to play out a sequence and return to an earlier state to see a different route easily.

Graphically, Life is Strange: True Colours is ridiculously beautiful. Every single environment in the game is packed with detail. The environmental and level design artists have outdone themselves crafting such gorgeous scenes. The game straddles the line between realism and artistic with character models that are clearly on the more artistic side while environments tend to drift into the realism side, especially with Raytracing enabled. The overall effect is that you have a gorgeous game here that’s so visually pleasing to look at. The only caveat being that on PC, performance seems to be quite choppy even with subsequent patches since release. You’re going to want to turn down some graphics settings to maintain a solid, high framerate here if you aren’t running high-end hardware.

Overall, if you want a story-driven, emotionally hard-hitting game with drama, intrigue, mystery and most importantly heart, this is it. You can clearly tell that Deck Nine have put an immense amount of effort into this game and it really shows. The game is around 10 hours long but this can be extended further with multiple playthroughs if you want to experience difference story scenes and responses from characters. Life is Strange: True Colours is highly recommended, especially if you’re already a Life is Strange fan. This is easily one of the best entries into the franchise yet and Alex’s story was empathically resonant throughout.

Publisher: Square Enix

Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Google Stadia

This review is based on the PC version of the game which can be purchased here for £49.99

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