I adore the Life is Strange games, they are full of emotion, feelings and have a little sprinkle of the weird that I really enjoy. Whether it's superpowers, reading minds or other anomalies, the Life is Strange series has a lot to offer and after recently finishing True Colours, I can confirm that the series is still brilliant and this may be my favourite entry so far.
Life is Strange: True Colours is not connected in any way to the previous games, it tells a new tale about Alex Chen, a young troubled woman who can feel and experience the emotions of others. Just imagine that. It's complicated enough just experiencing your own emotions, never mind experiencing the emotions of others as well.
All The Feels
Alex moves to the initially idyllic location of Haven Springs after being in foster care. What initially looks like a beautiful, perfect community quickly unravels into a story chock-full of deception, danger and LARPING but more on that topic later. The more I reveal about the narrative the more I will spoil so I will keep it light.
I found the story in True Colours passionate, heart-warming and it had enough surprises to keep you on your toes. It was great to see and play a game based around reading peoples emotions that brought out so many emotions in me. I felt sad, happy and angry, sometimes all at once. True Colours is an expressive ride I think most people will enjoy, especially fans of the series.
One of True Colours best attributes, as with other titles in this series, is its stunning array of characters and the actor's portrayal of them. Alex is fleshed out, alive and most important of all, believable. There is nothing worse in story-based games than voice acting and characterizations that take you out of the world and break the immersion. I had none of that with this title, every character felt deep and everyone has a story to tell.
Your bonds through the game will be tested, your relationships will bend and bow as the story unfolds but everything is so well-acted and realized that I was besotted the whole time. As I mentioned earlier there is a chapter in the game where you try out LARPING (live-action role-playing) and the whole chapter plays out like a classic turn-based RPG and it's friggin’ brilliant. Everyone knows it's make-believe but the way it is presented and the fact everyone in town gets involved is genius.
A Looking Glass Into To The Soul
True Colours controls and plays out like the other games in the series. It's a third person, sort of point and click title that has you controlling Alix and moving the story on by completing various tasks. The system that separates this game from the others is Alix’s ability to read others emotions and even sense what they are feeling. At various points in the game, normally to move the narrative forward you will have to walk up to a character and hold a button to read their feelings.
This leads to you recollecting something from their past, reliving past emotional memories and therefore, hopefully, being able to help them move on. It's a novel system that gives a unique insight into peoples thought processes, emotions and motivations. How it's worked into the story, how Alix evolves throughout the game is very well done and very nuanced, considering the subject matter. Emotional issues are tough to tackle and True Colours does it very well, with reflection and with feeling.
Haven Springs is beautiful, it's a small village set in a mountainous, watercolour region that looks stunning. Just looking at it makes me want to live there. The whole presentation of this game is very pleasing to the eye. The characters are well-rendered, the UI very useable and everything is very crisp and detailed. It does have that slight comic book art style I personally appreciate but that may not be to everyone's taste.
True Colours also runs extremely well. I had zero issues on my PlayStation 5. Everything ran smoothly. I had no crashes or issues to speak of and in this day and age that is something to be applauded. There were not too many PlayStation 5 exclusive features but I did notice some nuanced but very well implemented haptics on the DualSense controller. Hugs felt pleasant and feeling peoples emotions could be felt on your fingertips. I do love the Dualsense.
Music to My Ears
Another thing I loved about True Colours is how the soundtrack and music, in general, were weaved throughout the game. There's a music store in town, Alex plays the guitar and does perform in the game. Music is an integral part of Life is Strange and it works very well. A special shout out to Alex’s performance of Creep from Radiohead. that made the hairs on my neck stand on end. It dripped with emotion.
You can tell why this game has won awards for its music. It's full of great songs that really drive home the emotional highs and lows of the game's winding narrative. There are so many good songs and how music is implemented in other ways than just the soundtrack is very enjoyable throughout.
An Emotional, Beautiful Entry to The Series
If you liked the previous Life Is Strange games then you will love this entry. Don't worry if you haven't played the rest of the series, this is a good jump on point. If you are in the market for a unique story-driven game with fully fleshed-out characters then I cannot recommend Life is Strange: True Colours enough. It's pretty, runs well and never outstays it's welcome. Just be prepared for all the feels, they are all here in abundance.