Life is Strange: True Colors tells the story of a new protagonist - the young Alex Chen - endowed with a truly special power: the supernatural ability to feel, absorb and manipulate other people's emotions, which she perceives as bright, brightly colored auras. Although Alex has renounced her abilities in the past, the heroine is forced to use them to unravel the mystery behind her brother's accidental death.
Somewhat ironically, the "life" of the Life is Strange series has had a strange evolution. I can say that the original producer DONTNOD Entertainment was taken by surprise by the appreciation enjoyed by the first game, failing to reproduce its success neither with Life is Strange 2, nor with other attempts within the same genre (see Twin Mirror).
And the publisher Square Enix showed its "true colors", entrusting another studio with the future of this series. And this decision proved to be inspired, Deck Nine Games being responsible for Life is Strange: Before the Storm, the culmination of the series (in the opinion of the undersigned), but also for the recently released Life is Strange: True Colors.
And, given the series' ups and downs, the inevitable question arises: is Life is Strange: True Colors a worthy successor to the first game and Before the Storm, or just another less successful attempt? In short, to dispel the air of mystery, True Colors proves that Deck Nine knew very well what to do, and the result is as expected. Even in these conditions, there are some disadvantages, which we will discuss a little later.
What we liked about Life is Strange: True Colors
The important thing is that Life is Strange: True Colors ticks the basic elements on which such a game should be built: the place where the action takes place, the atmosphere it emanates, the distribution of supporting characters, the mystery behind the story and, last but not least. , protagonist. Yes, I have the feeling that Life is Strange titles need heroines to "work" and be credible, part of the feeling of these games being closely related to… let's call it feminine.
And the new central character - Alex Chen - fits perfectly into the pattern: a young woman with a quiet past, gone through orphanages and many unsuccessful attempts at adoption and finally reunited with her brother. In the Life is Strange series, however, happiness has short legs, Alex having to use his special ability, which he tries to keep hidden, to solve the mystery surrounding a new drama that takes place in his life. The heroine is able to perceive the feelings that the characters around her experience, in the form of auras of different colors, and sometimes to intervene to diminish or amplify these feelings.
Otherwise, using the classic formula of the series (interactive film - these games are already far too far from the classic point and click titles to be called "adventure"), you have to explore the community of the charming town of Haven Springs to you achieve your goal. The game, in overwhelming proportion, does not pose major problems in terms of progress, the difficulty being kept at a level accessible to anyone.
And the continuity of True Colors is helped a lot by the fact that the whole game is delivered from the beginning, without having to wait for the release of new episodes. However, along the way, changes of tone appear, and even some gameplay innovations, which still vary the initial formula. However, those familiar with this genre should not expect who knows what revolutions.
And the impression of naturalness and authenticity is amplified by the new motion capture technology used by the producers to simulate, as accurately as possible, the heroine's feelings. You can relate on a much deeper level with a character who does not need to open his mouth to convey what he is experiencing at that moment, everything is read on his face. This does not mean that the voices used are not good; on the contrary, the new Life is Strange excels in this regard, as well as in the music presented throughout the game.
Although somewhat "youthful", this soundtrack has that melancholy air that fits perfectly with the characters in the game and the relationships that are built between them. Because in True Colors we will find complicated love stories, which can evolve (or involve) depending on the players' choices.
What else could have been worked on
And if until now I praised the creation of Deck Nine, I owe you in terms of the not so successful things in the game. And here I could mention the story… Not entirely, but rather its end and the relatively mundane and slightly hairy way in which the producers chose to conclude a well-built mystery up to that point. I think it's also a matter of taste, but personally, I considered the final explanation a bit anticlimatic.
While Alex Chen is one of the best played characters in video games, both in terms of visual appearance and facial animations, the other protagonists do not rise to the same level. The level of attention present in Alex's model is not found in the others, some secondary characters being worthy of the "PlayStation 3 era", while the main heroine seems to be a very next-generation achievement.
Otherwise, Life is Strange: True Colors is by far the most handsome episode of the series so far: Deck Nine has kept the aesthetics of previous titles, but adding much more detail to the gameplay. The icing on the cake is represented by the reflections rendered in the protagonist's glasses, which gives an additional level of authenticity to the sequences in which Alex appears in the foreground.
However, given the end result, I don't quite understand why the next-gen versions of the game (PS5 and Xbox Series) are limited to a framerate of 30 frames per second and the one with problems… Good thing we're dealing with a slow-paced game, in which exploration and discussions with the other characters take precedence, and the fluency of the action has a secondary role.
Overall, though, I really liked Life is Strange: True Colors. Indeed, it may not be on the same level as Before the Storm, but the producers have paid off brilliantly for the presentation, implementation and exploitation of the elements characteristic of the series. Moreover, they innovated in places and managed to create one of the most expressive main characters in current games.