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Emotions and secrets – Life is Strange: True Colors in the test

Things get emotional in the new installment of the story adventure series. In Life is Strange: True Colors from Deck Nine Entertainment and Square Enix, we experience the story of Alex, who wants to make a new start in a small town. We played through the third (main) part of the adventure series in the test.

Alex Chen, heroine in the third installment of the Life is Strange series

Unfortunate circumstances in their past lead to siblings Alex and Gabe Chen being separated and not seeing each other again for years. However, the reunion is quickly overshadowed by new tragic events and soon Alex must deal with her past, present and future alone.

Welcome to Haven Springs!

Alex Chen travels to Haven Springs, a small town in the middle of the Colorado mountains. There she meets her brother for the first time in eight years. Gabe, now lives in the small town, has a family and is a popular member of the community. Unfortunately, the siblings do not have too much time to celebrate their reunion, because that same evening a tragedy shakes Haven Springs.

Reunion after eight years

At the center of the events is Alex, who is trying to come to terms with what has happened. In the process, she soon encounters inconsistencies. In keeping with the spirit of the community, the residents of Haven Springs stand by her side. Although she is actually new to town and is still struggling to feel truly at home, she nevertheless quickly makes connections and new friends. Soon, however, the circumstances surrounding the tragic events puzzle her, and Alex is determined to find out the truth, as Haven Springs and its residents have many a dark secret to hide.

Colors and Feelings

Alex has a special gift of being able to perceive people’s emotions. Strong emotions manifest visibly to Alex in the form of auras, which allow Alex to hear the thoughts of the person in question. Depending on the emotion, a person’s aura has a certain color. This ability is both a curse and a blessing for Alex, as she can help people through it, but emotional outbursts lead to her being overwhelmed herself, which makes it difficult for her to keep control. This has already led to problems in the past. As the story progresses, however, Alex discovers new sides to her ability.

It is then up to you how Alex uses her gift, as this affects how she relates to the other residents of Haven Springs. Alex can make both friends and enemies throughout the story.

Tough choices and big emotions

During the course of the story, Alex has to make many decisions. These, of course, have consequences. The decisions are rarely easy. Is it better to tell someone the bitter truth to their face or to try to understand a person’s point of view better? Is it right to lie for someone if the person trusts you? Depending on what Alex does, some encounters go in different ways.

Some decisions are not easy

Most situations are emotionally charged and it’s difficult to do the right thing. It’s these moments that shape Alex’s relationships with others. It’s also in these moments that the game can play to some of its greatest strengths, the big emotions. Especially coming to terms with loss is something Alex is confronted with again and again. In the form of grief, (self-)hatred, anger or despair, but also joy and memories are key elements.

This was similar in the previous Life is Strange parts, but is best achieved in True Colors so far. Since many critical moments revolve around Alex and her friends or acquaintances, the supporting characters play an important role. Most of the characters are likable and interestingly written. Although the series remains true to itself and gives many characters a concise characteristic, a hobby or a trait that stands out very much, the characters are not reduced to this as much as it was, for example, still the case in the first part.

Also, there are fewer moments when the game ignores your decision in favor of the plot, as it sometimes happened, especially in Life is Strange 2. True Colors has struck a good balance between telling a story and influencing it through decisions. The story continues, and whether your decision was good or bad or right, you may not find out until later, when there are unforeseen repercussions.

Much to do in the small town

In terms of gameplay, the third part of the series remains faithful. In five chapters you explore Haven Springs with Alex, investigate things and talk to people. There’s a lot for Alex to discover in Haven Springs, and you’ll also learn more about the small town and its inhabitants.

There are also things to do left and right aside from the main story, so you’ll have optional side quests or stumble upon things besides your current main quest, for example you can help some residents with various things. So sometimes small side stories arise from conversations and favors. There are also some elements that add some variety, like the role-playing-like battles when Alex participates in a LARP.

Alex can help the birdwatcher

In addition, more open and linear sections alternate quite well. In fact, you can walk around quite freely most of the time and even have multiple objectives most of the time. The main story progresses sometimes more sometimes less. However, it becomes a bit unbalanced towards the end of the game. In the last chapter there are a lot of revelations and developments at a stretch. Since there is a lot of storytelling, the gameplay turns out to be rather linear compared to the first chapters. This is a bit of a pity, because there would have been definite potential to get more out of it or to distribute some of the story told to the other chapters.

Alex likes to listen to music

There are also some sort of collectibles again. Instead of simple keychains or the like, True Colors features objects that have a memory attached to them that Alex can perceive. The memories seem to be successfully integrated into the world and are mostly not noticeable as collectibles at all. Also back are the so-called “Zen moments”. At certain points in the game, Alex can simply pause, listen to music and indulge her thoughts.

Fantastically colorful world

Atmospherically, the third part is not inferior to any other in the series. True Colors lives up to its name and lets you explore a beautiful, colorful world. Graphically, the focus was on contrasting and bright colors. Haven Springs, the game’s main setting, is a pretty and insanely detailed small town. Besides the outdoor areas, which provide a great backdrop, there is a lot to discover in the various stores, Alex’s apartment, etc. The game can also convince all along the line when it comes to the soundtrack. Due to Alex’s musical interest, you can’t help but enjoy the fantastic soundtrack in the game, which contributes to the great atmosphere of the game. Be it the jukebox in the pub or when Alex’ listens to music in the record store.

Conclusion

Life is Strange: True Colors is definitely one of the strongest parts of the series and should convince both fans and newcomers. Since a release in the form of individual episodes was dispensed with this time, there are no long waiting periods between dramatic cliffhangers. Graphically and atmospherically, True Colors doesn’t have to hide behind its predecessors. Exploring Haven Springs and getting to know the residents is fun. The story is exciting until the end and is a successful mixture of drama, mystery and slice-of-life elements, similar to the first part. One’s choices feel important and create a definite replay value.

The gameplay time is around 10 to 12 hours, which is a bit shorter than the first two parts. Life is Strange: True Colors has been available since September 10 for PC, Playstation 5, Playstation 4*, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Google Stadia and Nintendo Switch.

Pro
Contra
Story
80%
+ Exciting mix of drama and mystery – Somewhat unbalanced split
Gameplay
95%
+ Exploration and discovery is fun.
+ some varied elements
+ many small side tasks
+ decisions have consequences
Balance
90%
+ relaxed game
+ Settings allow extending the timer for decisions on time
Controls
90%
+ Controller support on PC.
+ Accessibility customization options (font, timers, controls, brightness effects, etc)
– Rarely the control is a bit inaccurate
Graphics & Sound
95%
+ Fantastic atmosphere
+ Soundtrack and graphics coherent

Life is Strange: True Colors (Playstation 4) price comparison


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Simon Lüthje

I am co-founder of this blog and am very interested in everything that has to do with technology, but I also like to play games. I was born in Hamburg, but now I live in Bad Segeberg.

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Things get emotional in the new installment of the story adventure series. In Life is Strange: True Colors from Deck Nine Entertainment and Square Enix, we experience the story of Alex, who wants to make a new start in a small town. We played through the third (main) part of the adventure series in the … (Weiterlesen...)

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