Life is Strange: True Colors Xbox Series X Review

Life is Strange: True Colors is a heartful tale full of difficult moments highlighting the importance of connections and community.

By Grayshadow, Posted 10 Sep 2021

Life is Strange has a profound history of delivering emotionally charged tales thanks to well-written characters and deeply personal stories. Whether it was Max reconnecting with her childhood friend Chloe, Chloe learning to find happiness again with Rachel Amber, or Sean trying to keep his brother Daniel safe. Each story offered challenging decisions focused on personal connections and Life is Strange True Colors does not disappoint. In fact, it improves on many of the previous game's shortcomings by adjusting the pacing with less padding. The narrative does have some major predictable moments during the finale relies heavily on plot armor. Despite this Life is Strange: True Colors delivers an excellently crafted adventure and the best installment in the franchise.
 

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Life is Strange: True Colors stars Alex in the town of Haven. This small community is where her brother Gabe lives and after searching for his sister finally finds her. The 2 were separated after being placed into foster care, Gabe went to juvenile hall and Alex bounced around homes. It's not long before Alex is introduced to many of Haven's citizens such as Steph the local record store owner and DJ, Ryan the Park Ranger, Jed the bar owner, and many more. It's not long before something tragic happens and now Alex must solve what exactly happened. It's hard to discuss what this is since it happens very early but it serves as the major plotline for the entire story.

Unlike Max or Daniel Alex has had years to use her powers which have served more as a burden than a benefit. Alex can sense the emotions of a person and to a degree read that person's mind. The problem being if that person's emotions are strong enough they can influence Alex, such as sending her into a blind rage or causing uncontrollable sadness. Her abilities can be pushed further during certain situations to dive deeper into a person's trauma or even influence their emotional state at a cost to them and her own emotional stability.

To make these decisions profound the writers ensured that the player connects with every major figure within this narrative. Alex will spend time with the significant figures of Haven and learn of their history, grief, status, and more. Over the 5 episodes, you'll have the chance to develop a relationship with each of them and make choices that will alter how they see Alex and shift the narrative.
 

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Choices still play a major role as in previous games with the decisions of the community being highlighted at the end of the adventure. These are excellent in showing what could've been done and gives you an idea of what could've happened. 

The overall story has a lot of strong twists until episode 4. After episode 4 and most of 5, the game falls into predictability as many players will be able to see what is to come very easily. Alex also gains superhuman durability and fortitude to the point you'll wonder if her abilities go beyond what we know. This is salvaged during the finale but regardless it seems the writers wrote themselves into a corner and just decided to wing it for these moments.

One of the biggest issues with the previous Life is Strange games was the pacing. Much of the games focused on 2 to 4 choices with branching options available and the occasional unneeded activity. Here the developers decided to streamline choices and reduce puzzles to about 3 with very simple solutions. You'll still make significant decisions that will be indicated when presented but the minor choices have been reduced to mostly 2 choices that range from passive to aggressive. This doesn't mean you won't have more ways to alter the story as much of Life is Strange: True Colors focuses on optional tasks.
 

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Alex can build relationships up by taking on more personal interactions between characters that are not necessary to move forward. This will impact how these characters view Alex in the long run. There are also minor characters that Alex can influence, leading to them acting differently in future situations but don't impact the major narrative. And there are plenty of items for you to interact with that add the history of the people and town. 

Puzzles have also been reduced to a small amount. There's a small amount and the solutions are fairly easy to find. The game does include collectibles but unlike previous games where they were mostly trinkets or some action that needed to be done here, they serve a more significant purpose. Offering emotional links that these objects hold to the person they belonged to.

Alex can use her abilities to read into the feelings and minds of those around her. Triggering this will highlight certain characters in specific colors to indicate particular feelings such as blue for sadness, red for rage, and yellow for happiness. Unlike Daniel or Max, these abilities make Alex feel more grounded since she's been plagued by these powers her entire life. They're a part of her and she has had to learn to live with them. And sorry, for those hoping for an explanation of how these abilities manifest this game will not do that.
 

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Bringing this all together is the incredible art direction and musical scores. The voice acting is absolutely amazing and the musical scores complementing the more significant moments add more emotional weight to these scenes. Coupled with excellent visuals and you have a recipe for some astounding scenes especially with the game's exceptional soundtrack. Which adds a new problem, streaming the game.

Life is Strange: True Colors has a lot of great music and performances, the issue is that if you're streaming the game these are completely muted. Instead of offering an alternative no music or voices are played to avoid copyright protection issues. Those on Twitch will definitely want to turn off all copyrighted music due to the sheer amount of it in the game or face major strikes. This isn't the developer's fault but be aware that if you stream on Twitch you're taking a huge risk but with them turned off expect a weaker experience. This isn't 100% either as despite me playing the game with all copyrighted music muted according to the options menu I was still hit with claims on YouTube.

There are some technical problems that do need fixing. Sometimes the game will have distorted colors on the screen and during the final scenes, random images before the next scene are played. These are minor complaints but they happened enough that I couldn't ignore them.
 

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Life is Strange: True Colors is a heartful tale full of difficult moments highlighting the importance of connections and community. Alex is a down to Earth protagonist simply trying to survive and find a place in this world. Things go haywire and now she must salvage what remains while also developing bonds she thought would be impossible. And thanks to improved pacing and simplified choices players can focus more on making the best option instead of picking from similar-looking decisions. There are some hiccups during the final chapters but the overall story delivers on everything fans of this franchise love.
 

Adam Siddiqui,
Managing Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): Square Enix
Developer(s): Dontnod Entertainment
Genres: Adventure
Themes: Story
Release Date: 2021-09-10

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