Finished “Life Is Strange: True Colors” along with its DLC “Wavelengths”. Have quite a lot to say.
Firstly, to get this out of the way as fast as I can: production quality is amazing compared to previous games, definitely a head above. There were a few issues with voices’ positioning in beginning of 2nd Chapter and some echoes in beginning of Wavelengths (and a couple of bugs in it, too), but overall, really good. Music collection is superb, I’m checking out quite a few artists, I never heard about before the game. Definitely worth full price.
Secondly and kind of “lastly”, I want to talk about the story, since it’s the main thing here, obviously. Want to start with Wavelengths.
To be honest, while playing the game it did not even occur to me, that Steph was the Steph from original LiS (or rather “Before The Storm”). Character model was very different, and she was not as prominent back then, I guess. When she was reminiscing about the vents of 1st game… Damn, that hurt. I remembered the choices I made back there, how difficult they were and how greatly they devastatingly affected the game’s world and it hurt. And then when DLC was ending, I remembered the choices I made in the main game and wanted to cry, but now from happiness, I guess.
I believe this is the main difference of the game compared to previous ones. You won’t find such mysteries and plot twists as in the 1st game here. I mean, there is a twist, but you start seeing it before it actually reveals itself. And, arguably, there is no character journey, literal or metaphorical one, as we’ve seen in 2nd game. But is has something else. Something which made me feel quite giddy and fuzzy inside. Almost happy. I do not remember when the last time I felt that way at all, let alone from a game (or any kind of content consumption, really).
From the very first steps Alex took in Haven Springs, I thought: “Damn, I would gladly live here”. The studio has already done a mining town back in Twin Mirror, but there it was dark and unwelcoming to the character (for a reason), in LiS, though it was warm and welcoming… Homy. It’s not just that everyone knew each other: they also accepted and supported each other.
If you think about it, that’s all there is in this game: a story about community welcoming and accepting a newcomer and then dealing with some tragedy and some past mistakes. Together. As a big family of weirdos. The sense of community made me… Jealous. I do not think I ever had that. I had maybe glimpses of it since I came to Finland, which, considering how anti-social I can be, confirmed, that I made a right decision, but it still have not reached that degree. Maybe it can if I move to a smaller town?
Even though character development was minimum (with a big chunk kind of forced at the beginning of 5th chapter), I never once thought that it was even necessary, because it was not about “changing”, it was all about acceptance. Perhaps, sometimes a bit idealistic, yes, but it made me think of what I am doing, question whether what I am doing is right, and maybe I need to change something. To me, a story, that makes you reevaluate yourself, however insignificantly, is way more important for a person, than any other exciting story with intrigues or action or whatever else.
“True Colors” is such a story. As Steph said: “Haven Springs is a place to heal”. If you are one hurting right now, unsure of yourself or your future, perhaps it can help you heal, too? At least, it can with certain choices you make in the game. Certainly, worth a try.