As an enormous fan of the sequence, I’ve been trying ahead to Life Is Unusual: True Colours for fairly a while. Even earlier than it was formally introduced, to be sincere. Developer Deck 9 had been rumored to be engaged on one other entry within the sequence shortly after they wrapped up work on Before the Storm, however the studio had saved mum on what their subsequent mission was. And whereas I did take pleasure in Dontnod’s Life is Strange 2, it felt just like the studio had maybe bitten off greater than they may chew for that sequel. I wished the small-town vibes of the beloved first entry, which is strictly what True Colours appeared to vow.
In contrast to prior protagonists Max Caulfield and Daniel Diaz, Alex Chen has identified about her powers for fairly a while. She possesses the distinctive skill to not solely see sturdy feelings radiating off others, however can even really feel and manipulate them. Nevertheless, this energy has confirmed to be nothing however a curse, with Alex by no means totally with the ability to reign it in. It has triggered her to be shuffled off from a number of orphanages and foster properties through the years. Nevertheless, after her brother Gabe lastly tracks her down and reaches out to her, issues look like altering for the younger lady. She has a brand new dwelling within the charming city of Haven Springs, Colorado, and an opportunity to actually begin over. The nice occasions don’t final lengthy, although, as Alex’s brother is killed in what seems to be an unlucky accident. Regardless of the small-town veneer of Haven Springs, there are secrets and techniques to be uncovered, and it looks like Gabe’s loss of life might haven’t been a complete accident.
Small city rot has been a constant theme all through the sequence, and True Colours doesn’t draw back from it. There’s a lot to like about Haven Springs from the surface. Its denizens are pleasant and take care of each other, and there’s a unusual appeal that makes it a perfect place to reside. Nevertheless, long-buried secrets and techniques are going to come back to mild after Gabe’s loss of life, with Alex being the catalyst for bringing them to the floor. Whereas the accident investigation is the driving power of the narrative, there may be additionally a powerful concentrate on Alex coming to phrases along with her energy and previous. She has at all times considered her energy as a burden, however she is going to come to understand that good can come of it as properly — specifically, the power to assist others rein of their grief and anger over the incident, serving to her lastly discover family and friends she’s longed for.
Regardless of my love for the primary sport within the franchise, I’ve to conceive that this new story could be probably the most full story within the sequence. Prior entries have struggled in quite a few methods, most noticeably of their conclusions. True Colours skirts this, although, by delivering a narrative that’s sturdy from begin to end. From the opening moments arriving in Haven Springs to a wonderful finale that outlines the place Alex can take her life, I used to be persistently captivated. Apart from the intriguing overarching thriller, credit score have to be given to the wonderful forged Deck 9 has assembled. Alex is a totally fleshed-out protagonist whose struggles really feel very actual and relatable, regardless of the superpowers she possesses. Except for that, the residents of Haven Springs are a delight to spend time with. The return of Steph Gingrich is a spotlight, as is the opposite character competing for our hero’s coronary heart, Ryan Lucan. He’s a significant step up from the Warren Grahams of the world. I loved my time sufficient with the city that I made positive to hunt out each interplay I may, which is a rarity for me as of late.
In case you are acquainted with the franchise, you must have a good suggestion as to how Life is Unusual: True Colours performs. You spend most of your time strolling across the city, interacting with varied objects and folks you come throughout. Generally this can simply result in a quip from Alex, and generally it could result in one thing extra significant. It’s possible you’ll unlock a brand new dialogue possibility for somebody, and even an elective side-quest. Be sure you at all times regulate your telephone for brand new textual content messages, or postings to the city neighborhood web page. These will assist additional flesh out the townsfolk and their varied goings-on. As at all times, your actions at all times carry a consequence. With a extra grounded story this time round, this gained’t lead to a supernatural twister or something, but it surely’s at all times essential to maintain that in thoughts.
When it was first unveiled, I wasn’t totally positive how Alex’s energy of utmost empathy was going to play in-game — it appeared like a tricky skill to construct an entire sport round. Nevertheless, Deck 9 incorporates it in ways in which really feel logical to the franchise. When tapping into her energy, Alex will be capable of sense coloured auras round a topic, with every coloration comparable to a unique emotion. Purple for anger, blue for unhappiness, and so forth. The surface-level use of it’s to only hear somebody’s interior ideas, which usually trace as to why they really feel that manner. For the extra minor characters, this shall be sufficient to repair no matter drawback they’re dealing with. Nevertheless, for the city’s key gamers, you have to to faucet even additional into her powers.
Apart from simply with the ability to see the feelings somebody is experiencing, Alex can each that emotion as her personal and manipulate their ideas as properly. As soon as she has additional tapped into her topic’s feelings, the world across the two will change to mirror their temper. From there, Alex can concentrate on particular objects which can be essential to the risky feelings she is working with. It might be one thing as innocuous as a photograph or foosball desk, however these things are essential to determining what’s actually happening. As soon as these investigatory moments run their course, you’ll hopefully be capable of present them some type of consolation. As you progress by way of the story, this course of will develop into an increasing number of strenuous on Alex, and sure situations might require extra drastic actions to be taken.
It’s removed from the deepest gameplay mechanic, however Alex’s empathy energy is dealt with properly. Coaxing out somebody’s buried emotions with a purpose to assist them feels much less sticky than Max’s use of time manipulation within the first Life Is Unusual. Since most of those feelings stem from Gabe’s loss of life, it’s nice that these moments assist Alex come to phrases with what occurred as properly. Grief is available in many kinds and emotions, and True Colours is cognizant of this. Possibly it was because of the selections I made, however I do want the sport explored extra of the draw back of Alex manipulating somebody’s feelings. Coming off of Psychonauts 2 — which made it abundantly clear that it wasn’t smart to mess with another person’s thoughts — what tends to occur right here can really feel slight. Once more, although, I may need missed addressing these potential points throughout my playthrough. One thing to maintain an eye fixed out for in subsequent runs, I suppose.
Life Is Unusual: True Colours is well the best-looking entry within the sequence thus far. The facial actions on all the important gamers look incredible, even on a last-gen console. They precisely sync as much as their dialogue, and every of them have defining options that give them some good taste. Haven Springs might not be the most important space to discover, but it surely carries extra element than both Arcadia Bay or any of the areas Life is Unusual 2 took gamers. The colourful colours of the native foliage and number of shops give the locale the small-town really feel that’s wanted to promote the story. Deck 9 may have executed a bit higher on the subject of blocking the place you possibly can’t go, however that’s solely a minor quibble.
One other factor that helps promote the characters is the wonderful voice appearing throughout the board. As Alex, Erika Mori had the most important take a look at on her arms, however she simply passes it. Mori does an unimaginable job of promoting the gauntlet of feelings Alex runs by way of in the course of the course of the story. The supporting forged is simply as fantastic, as properly. Katy Bentz continues to provide Steph an infectious power, whereas Stephen F. Austin as Jed sells the daddy determine presence the function requires. And never not like Deck 9’s previous entry within the sequence, the combination of licensed tunes and authentic soundtrack assist set the tone. This time round, the studio enlisted proficient duo Angus and Julia Stone to ship the soundtrack, and so they did an important job with it. Licensed songs from the likes of Kings of Leon and Dido may not be as rock-solid as among the artists used previously, however they serve their goal in-game.
The unique Life is Unusual will at all times maintain the highest spot in my coronary heart, however Life is Unusual: True Colours may simply be the most effective entry within the sequence thus far. Deck 9 has delivered an emotionally resonant story that efficiently avoids the clunky dialogue that plagued among the prior entries. They’ve additionally managed to provide you with a recent skill that feels pure to make use of in-game. Seems, the ability of empathy may be fairly unimaginable when utilized in the correct conditions. Dontnod did a wonderful job of laying the framework for what the sequence may be, however after this entry, I’m excited to see the place it will possibly go from right here.
This review relies on the PlayStation 4 model of the sport. A duplicate was offered to us by Sq. Enix.
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