I recently decided to give a chance to Life is Strange’s newest addition, True Colors, mostly because it became available in the first quarter of April 2022 on Game Pass. I went in knowing how this type of genre works. Your decisions have consequences on the story, and I knew that these would affect the ending according to the way you played. That’s it. I haven’t played any other Life is Strange game, so I was hoping the story wouldn’t be a sequel of previous games because that would have been really confusing and maybe the experience would’ve been ruined. Since this game is quite dense in story, and truly the only reason why people play it, I won’t be sharing too much of it, so you guys can experience it if you decide to try it out. So, no spoilers.
True Colors is the story about a young girl, Alex, that’s about to gain her freedom after spending many years in the foster system without any success. Not only her past haunts her, but also a special ability that allows her to feel and understand other people’s emotions. Let’s say like Inside Out but there’s no tiny people inside your head, and instead it’s more about emotions being portrayed outwards like an essence, or fragrance. She can’t control when she can feel emotions; it has to be powerful for her to see it’s presence, however she can control when to focus on the emotion and find the origin of it. This last part will be a major driver of the plot.
Fortunately for Alex, though without parents she still has one family member that’s waiting for her to help her out on this new journey of her life.
Alex will arrive at a small town in the Rocky Mountains area. This fictional town has different types of people that will provide a confort that she has never been able to experience before. As the player we get to travel this town as well as discover the great mystery that will fall into our lap from both the present and the past of the town. The game makes the story more about relationships, so we will have many options and paths to explore with other characters. The game tries to give more than one path to choose at least when it comes to the secondary decisions, because the important ones have only two options.
An extremely great addition to the game is its semi-partial open world, because while it keeps the sense of a linear story, you get some segments where you can travel around the town and discover paths and conversations that might or might not affect your final chapter. This makes the open world experience pop, as it gives the player more reason to explore and decide if they want to learn about or help other characters. Just beware that some decisions, though not emphasized, will have repercussions on the ending of each chapter, but you can only find them if you explore.
Many of the characters have unique personalities that I can only associate with characters from the movie Cars. People from a small town, welcoming and heartwarming that always has community as part of their daily life. This is something that the main protagonist has been lacking for many years, and this new change will transform her life in a major way.
Outside the story aspect, this game is just as expected: all throughout the game important decisions will come out, and it makes quite the emphasis when some are more important than others. It is refreshing to have open world segments, as it veers off the traditional linear path that sometimes would feel like a 3D point and click, and adds a bit more depth by allowing the player to explore. Of course it’s not going to be an open world Ubisoft or Breath of the Wild size wise. Instead it will be kept within a single area where you can explore, do some tiny sidequests, or just look around cause let me tell you if there’s something I enjoyed a bit too much it is the setting where the game takes place.
It was gorgeous to see the sunset or look at the horizon as the sun grazed the land filled with pines and snow. The game is fantastic in that aspect. It’s beautiful to look at. That might just be me since I crave games around a forest in the mountains. Talking to you, Far Cry 5.
Developers not only crafted a story and characters, they also added some tiny, side quests where you can help out people that Alex does not necessarily talk to as she does with other side characters. However these small interactions are wholesome and in some cases funny. There is one chapter in particular where the developers went far and beyond to create a kinda RPG, almost JRPG? Where Alex helps another character in a custom game Dungeons and Dragons style. You can fight, have sudden encounters, play in a turn based combat, it’s the whole package. Of course, the game will have many social topics that at this point in time will become more regular in gaming, like same sex relationships, mental health, sexism, corruption etc. However, the game at least in the romance department allows you to pick the character you want to start a romantic path with.
The biggest thing I can take away from the game is how important it is to have empathy to other people. We can’t know what others go through, or how they deal with things. Many times even, no one will open up about their problems, even to close friends or family. We can look at our daily conversations, we ask other people “How are you?” and most likely than not they will answer with a short “Fine, and you?” This only repeats the cycle. These conversations might happen even with close friends, it’s not only conversations that happen with acquaintances or strangers. We live in a time where in many moments we don’t pay attention to our present and we might think mostly about our future. Because of this, whatever affects us in the present, gets brushed off as a minor inconvenience until it becomes a major problem.
True Colors wants to explore how not paying attention to our emotions can cause lots of problems for us. Remember when I said this was like Inside Out? Well just like in that movie emotions like anger or sadness aren’t seen as dangerous emotions that shouldn’t exist, instead both of them are needed because anything can teach us something.
Another key thing is how important it is to have a conversation about the emotions we feel every day with the Holy Trinity, because as much as the game tries to emphasize that we can overcome any life event, we gotta remember we are just humans. We can’t do everything by ourselves, but that’s okay. We have our loving Father that will always listen, the Son that can understand us in our pain, and the Spirit that knows what we need in the moment. They are the full circle, an eternal love that longs for us to grow closer to God.
True Colors, while it strays from many Catholic teachings, did bring to my attention the importance of maintaining a conversation with the Lord and care for other people in a deeper way. At the end, this game is an entertaining adventure to play if you like story heavy games, the Telltale gameplay style, or even if you’re just looking for some quick gamerscore. The game doesn’t last longer than it has to, although I kind of wish they showed a bit more at the ending, but I guess that’s their way of saying, “Now it’s time for you to go out and start paying attention to your own life. Live, understand and help others.”
Developers gave a lot of personality to the characters, much of it coming from a postmodern point of view so you will encounter the possibility of flirting with a same sex character, or see and hear mentions of romance of this type between other characters.
Characters love to express their emotions with a good amount of cusses as if less of it wouldn’t be showing their true feelings or emotions.
There is also mention and some discussion of drugs used as recreational, one of the characters owns a store for this, and a minor addiction situation from another character.
For violence there will be some fights between characters but nothing of gore, just some blood. There is also a slight moment of domestic violence that will be explored in later chapters of the story.