I by no means obtained to say goodbye to my brother. I deliberate to go to him on the morning he handed away, to consolation him as he sat in mattress ready. Before any of that would occur, he was gone. I blamed myself for lacking out on an interplay I had no management over. For the previous few months, that missed alternative has sat with me. It was like I’d failed him, and myself, for not being there – like the ultimate moments with somebody I treasured had been unfairly snatched away from me.
Life is Strange: True Colors taught me it’s okay to really feel like this, to acknowledge such failures as you grieve and settle for the departure of a cherished one. It’s about treasuring the occasions that mattered, the love and intimacy fashioned by way of the enjoyment and perseverance that comes with being human. Alex Chen’s journey into the city of Haven Springs is one I’ll always remember. Deck Nine has surpassed expectations in each conceivable method.
Alex Chen is a younger lady who has spent her life being tossed round by the foster care system, a damaged household inflicting her to be whisked between guardians and authorities amenities as she grew up and realized to view the world as one that may by no means settle for her. She’s a flawed human, solely current to be thrown apart by those that need to make the most of her. This may all change as she strikes to Haven Springs, an idyllic city positioned within the beautiful mountains of Colorado. While it’s an ostensibly healthful place, there are darkish secrets and techniques hidden amidst its luscious flower outlets and hipster document shops – and but, regardless of how ominous issues could appear, it retains a type of particular high quality.
This sense of belonging is additional emphasised as Alex reunites along with her older brother – Gabe. He’s enjoyable, caring, and conscious of his want to alter within the face of a previous he regrets. Upon arriving on the town, Alex views herself as an outsider, however she’s taken underneath her sibling’s wing and introduced right into a neighborhood that accepts her inside moments. She picks up a job on the native bar, makes new mates, and begins to really feel like Haven Springs may supply her a life lastly value dwelling. That is till a tragic accident kills her brother and he or she’s compelled to delve into the thriller behind his premature passing.
Deck Nine attracts us right into a world of nostalgic comforts earlier than turning every little thing on its head, however even with all of this distress, there’s an aura of happiness that permeates all through all of True Colors that stored me smiling regardless of such a bitingly relatable loss. I misplaced my brother like Alex misplaced hers, and her grief resonated with me in a method that no different game has been in a position to seize. The narrative isn’t afraid to make you comprehend the affect of dropping somebody you like, and the way it forces you to behave in ways in which might sound irrational, but it surely’s all in service of coming to phrases with how a lot this particular person means to you. Past video games within the collection would typically dwell on thriller and melancholy, however this one is all about making you smile, prefer it needs you to stroll by way of the wind and rain with a smile plastered throughout your face – it succeeds.
Alex has an particularly distinctive method of sifting by way of her emotions. She’s an Empath, which means she’s in a position to learn the feelings of individuals round her and even take in them into herself in sure circumstances. A battle breaking out may trigger Alex to erupt right into a match of violence and aggression, whereas somebody fearing for his or her life will trigger our heroine to withdraw right into a state of infinite paranoia. She’s in a position to management this energy to an extent, however when surprising conditions get away round her, we see Alex develop anxious and unsure about what may occur. While it’s described as a superpower, it feels extra akin to a psychological sickness that we should grasp, or maybe comprehend so we will start to view it as a frame of mind to be treasured as a substitute of a societal vice to be feared.
Throughout the game Alex is ready to learn the minds of individuals throughout Haven Springs and may resolve to assist them, whether or not it’s a person on the lookout for his misplaced canine or a few mates debating the danger of leaping right into a romantic relationship. You can even resolve to stroll away, recognising the significance of 1’s personal emotions and accepting that tampering with them isn’t proper. People really feel for a cause, and opting to control this valuable facet of the human situation isn’t all the time the suitable factor to do. I made errors like this in my playthrough, and it solely made me admire how brilliantly True Colors is ready to weave a story of emotional poignancy by way of its characters and setting so seamlessly.
Haven Springs is delivered to life because of a solid of remarkable supporting characters. At the centre of this internet of relationships sit Ryan and Steph, your shut mates and potential romantic companions. Alex Chen is canonically bisexual, expressing attraction in the direction of each women and men within the game’s dialogue that made me assured sufficient to pursue each choices. Ryan is a birdwatching himbo with a coronary heart of gold, so I inevitably fell head over heels for him, however there have been additionally moments of flirting with Steph that had me questioning whether or not our relationship may very well be one thing extra. Love in True Colors isn’t a straight street, and dialogue choices make sure you aren’t locked right into a romantic endgame since you couldn’t foresee how sure characters may react. Alex has spent her life making an attempt to salvage relationships as they fell aside round her, and now she has an opportunity to construct one thing that lasts, so I savoured each second with these characters and the bonds that fashioned by way of adversity and triumph.
While True Colors is on the brief facet, it makes up for this with glorious pacing and a calibre of writing that far outweighs the standard of earlier video games within the collection. Characters now converse like actual folks as a substitute of adults making an attempt to mimic youngsters. You’ll nonetheless cringe at some interactions and need Alex acted in a different way in choose moments, however this isn’t as a result of the dialogue fails to select up the slack – it’s since you’re delighted to see this lady is appearing in a method that’s so relatable. I’m awkward as hell and so is Alex, falling over her phrases as she struggles to talk – or flirt – with these round her. Alex is a deeply genuine character who desperately needs to be accepted. When she lastly succeeds and grows near folks, it feels earned, permitting heavier emotional moments to land with all of their supposed affect.
However, some pivotal narrative scenes can come out of nowhere, feeling misplaced and unearned as a result of the game hasn’t arrange the required quantity of dominoes for the entire themes to come back throughout as honest. All it wants is a number of extra items to attain perfection, however these are small complaints in an total story that executes its message of loss, love, and belonging so successfully. LARPing by way of Haven Springs like its a turn-based RPG or discovering your self roped into an impromptu efficiency on the native competition are only a few cases that introduced a roaring smile to my face, Alex’s preliminary hesitation morphing into confidence as she realises that is an surroundings the place she’s free to let unfastened and make a idiot of herself with out being mocked or belittled. It’s a strong portrayal of genuine happiness, however the wider expertise isn’t afraid to additionally pressure us to confront how folks come to cope with grief that at occasions can really feel insurmountable.
The moment-to-moment motion of True Colors is sluggish and deliberate. You’ll stroll round Haven Springs at a relaxed tempo, sinking into nuanced character interactions the place you’re given time to ruminate over dialogue selections and scour the surroundings for non-compulsory reminiscences. Alex additionally has a smartphone with message threads and a Twitter-esque social community designed to supply higher depth to the city. You can delve into her previous, uncovering traumatic encounters with outdated companions that discover the character of consent, or social media threads from native bigots that decry how Alex is diluting the city’s cultural significance. Deck Nine has ensured this game is related to the fashionable day in each method that issues, with Haven Springs coming throughout as a queer, inclusive place that welcomes everybody. Sure, there’s a nasty egg or two all through, however that’s the case wherever you go. Unlike Arcadia Bay or a lot of America in earlier video games, there isn’t a darkish secret festering away ready to make our heroine’s life a distress. Like I stated earlier than, True Colors needs to make you smile, and recognise the moments in life value combating for.
You shall be compelled to make arduous choices and stay with them as Alex Chen, a few of which could have an irreversible affect on the narrative. Yet there’s no harrowing conclusion to be uncovered right here. Much like actual life, every revelation is a punch you will need to roll with, whether or not it’s dropping a cherished one or conjuring up the braveness to admit your like to a crush. No matter how trivial or monumental, True Colors makes every second matter because it kinds the id of a girl I got here to look after and relate to in ways in which few video games have managed to attain. This brings me again to the sibling bond between Alex and Gabe, and the way it seems like a digital alternative for the bond between myself and the brother I wasn’t in a position to bid farewell to. I had that likelihood right here, and I can’t describe how a lot which means to me. Without being overly poetic or needlessly saccharine, I’m glad extra video games are participating with how we will study, develop, and love as human beings, and the rewards that include accepting such hardships alongside the way in which. Life is Strange: True Colors actually is one thing particular.
Tested on PlayStation 5. Review code was offered by the writer.
PC gamers may need to anticipate a number of patches earlier than journeying into The Lands Between.
About The Author