When it was first released, there was nothing like Life is Strange. It’s a point-and-click adventure game based on the Telltale games, where players interact with their surroundings to reveal information, and the plot is often driven by engaging characters rather than action. It focuses on the lives of teenagers and the trials and tribulations they often face, but : Max Caulfield has a gift for rewinding time. Though reviews at the time were only “generally positive,” gamers’ love for Life is Strange endured, eventually necessitating a prequel, a spinoff, and two other main entries. Whenever a game receives such intense adoration, it’s easy to raise expectations, only to be disappointed because the experience isn’t quite the same. Perhaps Life is Strange 2 suffered from this in some way, but now, Life is Strange : Primary Colors offers a similarly emotional and cathartic experience, but wrapped in stunning graphics, smooth gameplay and a heartfelt in the conversation.
This time around, players will take on the role of Alex Chen, a young man who has been in and out of the orphanage and foster care system since her teens. While her brother was able to escape and disappeared, she struggled to find a permanent home because of her own strength. Alex is an empathetic person and thus able to tap into another person’s emotions. But while she sees it as a curse, unable to control uncontrollable negative emotions, her powers end up being a gift that everyone around her recognizes, as she uses it to help them cope with her brother’s death.
Alex joins her brother in the small town of Haven Springs, a town so perfect it’s almost surreal. Lush flowers occupy every corner and appear in nearly every shop, the sun keeps rising on the hilltops, deer drink from the river that runs through the main street, the picturesque place may be more like paradise than the real place , such as the first moment in a dimly lit room where the player finds Alex sitting in Life is Strange: True Colors. Not to mention that the place is named “Haven”. These people seem to match this beauty inside and out, but some will start to show their true colors after Alex’s brother Gabe tragically dies in a tragic accident just as he reconciles with him.
Life is Strange: True Colors is without a doubt the most cinematic game the team has released to date, but the way Life is Strange has grown since the first game is pretty obvious. Possibly the biggest complaints about the first game were the awkward dialogue, unnatural facial expressions, and, in some rare reviews, obnoxious characters. But with True Colors, the characters are arguably the strongest element in the game, the animations have never been better, and the performances are more realistic thanks to full facial motion capture. Unfortunately, the tactile feedback provided by the DualSense PS5 controller doesn’t add to the experience as much as its many complex and intimate personalities, art direction, and soundtracks.
After Gabe’s death, the town is thrown into chaos. He’s close to many of Haven’s residents, with the exception of Alex, with whom he’s only just beginning to reconnect. Now it’s up to Alex to accomplish the impossible – not only to find the truth behind his death, but to help everyone deal with their grief. While other “Life is Strange” have explored death, grief and its transformations, none have explored the immediate aftermath as intimately and authentically as “True Colors.” The death of a loved one triggers a complex set of emotions, especially when the loss itself is complicated, and Life is Strange : True Colors tackles it head-on and accurately. There is no one “right” way to deal with loss, and True Colors shows that. Likewise, it preserves the essence of the other Life is Strange games : Rarely has the right answer to every question.
Every character in Haven Springs is lifelike and complex, and Alex must use her supernatural powers of empathy to understand how they really feel. Some people experience anger and hatred, while others experience sadness and pain. Some residents are quick to point fingers and blame or get defensive so they don’t feel like the bad guy–those are perfectly normal emotions when grappling with the loss of a loved one. But as Life is Strange: True Colors will show, how one chooses to deal with those emotions is what really matters, which is why certain characters really shine throughout the game.
If characters are the stars of Haven Springs, then Steph and Ryan are the protagonists among the most well-crafted characters. Alex could choose to share a romantic relationship with one of them at the end, but ironically, the player might find himself falling in love too. Steph just evolved from her nerdy dungeon master in Life is Strange: Before the Storm. With passion and blood, she pours herself into everything she does. If Steph is chaotic good, then Ryan is lawful good, a kind-hearted outdoorsman who always tells dad jokes. But at the end of the day, he cares about the people around him more than anything else.
No chapter is too long when it comes to spending time with the people of Haven Springs. In fact, players might be a bit disturbed by the shortness of the overall experience, despite its similar length to other Life is Strange games. But it’s worth considering that while the length remains the same, the price point has increased. Until now, a Life is Strange game has never cost more than $40, including the Remastered Collection. Right now, the Life is Strange : True Colors tab is the often seen $60, but plays for the same amount of time. The tradeoff is generally more impressive graphics and animations.
Each chapter is filled with emotion and love, especially Chapter 3, begging the player to look around. Fans of Stephen’s Dungeons & Dragons session before the storm will be in for a real treat when they arrive at LARPing. They’ll find many of the activities typical of a typical fantasy action-adventure. It hits the nail on the head for RPGs, but is still easy enough, and still enough that players who don’t typically play intense combat games will still enjoy the experience. It’s childish, but seeing the joy it brings to everyone is infectious. At its core, Life is Strange: True Color is a feel-good slice-of-life game about the friends Alex made while in Haven Springs. until it’s not.
Life is Strange 2 changes the formula drastically. The fact that the player has no control over a child with superpowers makes it more of a mystery than a harrowing road trip, even if the player doesn’t really know what awaits them at the end of the line. But True Colors brings the series back to its roots. “Life is Strange” is a thriller that twists and turns unexpectedly, even out of reality, and finally breaks the cycle, and “True Colors” employs this strategy. For a long time, Alex felt comfortable in this safe haven, learning about this new world and all its bewitching perfection. Its residents are all kind-hearted. She is comfortable and happy with her new life. But it’s too good to be true. The truth of Haven’s history is sinister, but only by understanding how other people feel can Alex understand what really happened to Gabe and why.
If Life is Strange: True Colors Having any issues, if any, it could be that Alex’s selection sounds a bit hollow at times. While there may be a total of 6 different endings, they all seem to lead the same path with the same culprit. Yes, Alex’s decisions play a role in the final few scenes, but it’s hard to imagine how different those moments could have been, unlike Life is Strange 2’s many bittersweet endings. In these endings, however, players discover the consequences of their actions and success, such as how they choose to respond to Charlotte’s rage or Pike’s fear. These decisions affect the final moments, but don’t change the conclusion the way Sean and Daniel Diaz’s story did. Some players may be somewhat disappointed by this lack of control. Conversely, how Alex chooses to use her empathic powers usually only has a small impact on other people’s lives, but doesn’t make or break anything. The same goes for Life is Strange.
The writers of Deck Nine and DONTNOD have proven their talents are no different than Alex’s. They have empathy and understanding for the struggles humanity faces. Life is Strange: True Colors builds on the excellent performance of the first film and does it even better. So far, no game in the series has reached such cathartic heights, and by the end, players will leave the imperfect town of Haven Springs heartbroken.
Life is Strange : True Colors will release on September 10, 2021 for PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. For the purposes of this review, Game Rant obtained the PS5 code.