Life is Strange: True Colors
A Strong GOTY Contender for a Reason

Life is strange, but it’s also horrible.

We live in a greedy, lonely, and sometimes tragic world, and no one, no matter how well off, leads a perfect life. “True Colors” as a commentary manages to capitalize on the intricate details of human connection, suppressed emotions and briefly touches on the sad truth of how much power a single fortune five-hundred company can have over a small town. It sounds somewhat strange if I do say so myself. Title jokes aside, I was skeptical of the impact this title would have on me despite the emotional rollercoasters the other primary games in the franchise have put me through. Something about Alex Chen’s “reading vibes” power was offputting without the context of how it would work, but after playing the game, I can firmly say the integration is well thought out, and I appreciate that it isn’t forced in a lot of situations, merely left as an option to discover more story. There is so much I want to say about this game and the story, but I will limit myself to the metaphorical international waters around the mainland (a spoiler-free territory) because this is undoubtedly a game you want to experience for yourself firsthand, watching a playthrough or reading a summary would be a disservice to the handcrafted masterpiece of storytelling and immersion that is Life is Strange: True Colors. 

  • “I Want To Belong Somewhere. I Want To Know That There’s A Place And A Group Of People Who Wouldn’t Be The Same Without Me.”

    — Alex Chen

  • Once again, you need not fear spoilers here, dear reader. At the end of the game, there is a moment of realization, two clear paths sit before you, and that decision is the one that won me over. It’s a culminating moment, and it is masterfully executed in a way that made me hurt with a sort of distant unacknowledged longing I didn’t know I’d buried.

    Moments like these are few and far between in gaming, and I can’t think of another that held quite the same weight as this one.

It’s not easy to make a game in this genre fire on all the cylinders of player engagement, but Deck Nine knocked it out of the park. The music is outstanding and viscerally transports you into the small-town paradise that is Haven Springs, Colorado. The visual fidelity is fantastic and a massive improvement over the previous entries in the series. It fills me with great anticipation to replay the remastered copies that came bundled with my purchase. The moment-to-moment gameplay is exceptionally engaging, and even the tiniest of choices have surprisingly significant impacts on all sorts of aspects of the overarching story. It’s hard to address one of the most surprising but deeply welcome parts of the gameplay without stepping into the realm of spoilers. Still, to put it simply, there is a section of the game that is an entirely different genre of play, and the way the implementation is both satisfying and refreshing.

  • “It’s Your Life, The Life You Fought So Hard To Have. And For The First Time In A Long Time, You Just Live.”

    — Gabe Chen

  • Some of the moments in this game transcend the fabric of the videogame itself and bring you a moment of pause. Whether the attachment is from nostalgia or memories you’ve suppressed yourself, True Colors does have a superpower.

    A superpower to stop time and pull you into a deep, thoughtful little bubble on more than one occasion, and that is why I am grateful to have experienced this title which is well-deserving of being called a work of art.

  • Pros

    • Story: The tale of a rough upbringing launched headfirst into the stark reality of being alone in the world, only to wind up finally finding a place to call home that is then instantly wrought with tragedy is a masterfully executed plot that does justice to the subjects it broaches.
    • Characters: Alex Chen is quite possibly one of the most well-rounded and interesting main characters in the entire franchise. The supporting characters all shine brightly in their own unique ways, giving cause to replay the story if only to spend more time with them in a town idyllic as haven springs.
    • Romance: The game gives a lovingly handcrafted bit of proper representation to a real LGBT+ relationship but doesn’t force it down the throat of any of the players. It is merely a choice, and the straight alternative is equally polished and believable.
  • Cons

    • Characters: A few of the reactions and decisions made by the characters you interacted with feel out of place and downright stupid or nonsensical during the culminating final “council” moment.
    • Plot:  There are quite a few unaddressed loose ends left to the wayside as the game draws close, which gives the impression of a rushed final chapter. It’s still excellent overall, but I wish the story team tidied up more aspects before the end.
    • Ending: Of the two final choices, one of them leaves much to be desired in the way of wrapping things up. Before you even decide, you get a fantastic cutscene showcasing one of the choices, but the other doesn’t receive the same treatment and leaves room for want.
Summary

A truly one-of-a-kind experience, Life is Strange: True Colors is an emotional rollercoaster that respects the genre, highlights everything that has made previous games excellent, and takes place in a town that, for the first half, you might never want to leave.

— Atticus
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Comments

  • Linda Sanders

    November 21, 2021 at 7:22 pm
    Reply

    I love this game so much. The characters I feel have improved so much from the previous games. I felt so invested, not only in […] Read MoreI love this game so much. The characters I feel have improved so much from the previous games. I felt so invested, not only in the story but in the characters as early as episode one. In the original Life is strange, I was not invested in the characters until the second or third episode. The setting, oh my goodness the setting. It is so outstandingly beautiful! It's like being in a painting. If you just take the time to admire your surroundings, you'll just find so many details and new details each time you look! At first, I was a bit conflicted on the superpower being emotions but I actually love it. I think it's because of how well it was implemented. You can hear the thoughts and feelings of random people around town. You can use these thoughts and feelings to help them. The emotion system makes people feel so human! You SEE the overwhelming anger or sadness a character feels. And it's so unique how Alex's perspective changes when she's seeing the world through someone else's eyes. The world is bleak and gray, the world is fading away and cracked. Such amazing small details. Thanks for the review! I'll be sticking around your website, welcome to blogging! Read Less

    • Graham Ruth
      to Linda Sanders

      November 22, 2021 at 6:44 am
      Reply

      This one looks really good, my plate is a bit full atm to pick it up, but definitely will be playing it down the road. […] Read MoreThis one looks really good, my plate is a bit full atm to pick it up, but definitely will be playing it down the road. The earlier games are excellent in terms of narrative design, and character work, and this looks to be no different. I hope you savor it, also I saw your later response about the parallels for you on the previous game and that's kinda crazy, who knows maybe there will be even more after you play the DLC :) Read Less

  • Ann Smith

    November 20, 2021 at 8:42 am
    Reply

    Sounds pretty good, I haven't played any of the games in this series and was excited to try out the remastered ones before playing this […] Read MoreSounds pretty good, I haven't played any of the games in this series and was excited to try out the remastered ones before playing this game. Happy for fans of the series but I'll be eagerly waiting until 2022 for the updated versions. You're making me want to skip ahead and buy this right now. Does anyone know if I have to play them sequentially? Read Less

  • Robert van Hogert

    November 19, 2021 at 11:12 am
    Reply

    I love that this series continues to be successful. No it will never achieve that same emotional resonance Max and Chloe did in the original […] Read MoreI love that this series continues to be successful. No it will never achieve that same emotional resonance Max and Chloe did in the original but clearly they are still quality games and with the graphics getting better, even more beneficial to the storytelling. Really good review, subbed to your mailing list and looking forward to your investigative content Read Less

  • Evelyn Allen

    November 19, 2021 at 6:31 am
    Reply

    The thing that gripped me about the original Life Is Strange is the depth of its Symbolism and cleverness. Like the double meaning of “Rachel […] Read MoreThe thing that gripped me about the original Life Is Strange is the depth of its Symbolism and cleverness. Like the double meaning of “Rachel Is Here” and the doe sighting at the junkyard. I rarely see this addressed in reviews and much more interest put in the touchey freely stuff and pop social issues. It leaves me never knowing if I would like the sequels or not. Read Less

  • Heather Gray

    November 18, 2021 at 9:44 am
    Reply

    I finished it yesterday and I overall enjoyed it. I missed school drama from LiS 1. True Colors was a very good entry to the […] Read MoreI finished it yesterday and I overall enjoyed it. I missed school drama from LiS 1. True Colors was a very good entry to the franchise. I liked it a lot more than LiS 2. Graphic was really nice, lightning and ray tracing support elavated overall game estetics and made my time in Haven really nice. You're right about the end feeling rushed... Chapter 5 was entirely too short imo. It was more like an epilogue, not many choices there but the one you had really mattered and we get to know more about main character so it all made sense in the end. Read Less

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Hello, I'm Atticus. I love to read, write and travel. Welcome to my blog. I deliver highly curated and selective content and reviews. Read More

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