The Life is Strange series is a strange series indeed. Not only does it feature emotional moments of storytelling through player choice, but it throws in supernatural elements for good measure. The series has had its moments, but understanding its identity has taken longer than players could have hoped, given how well-liked Max was in the original release. With that said, Life is Strange: True Colors has a lot to live up to, and after playing the first chapter, Deck Nine is up to the challenge.
Life is Strange: True Colors has a huge story to tell with themes of being an orphan and understanding how to navigate a new town where Alex Chen has just been reunited with her brother. I will say, my general reaction to Alex was cautious as I’m not one to open up to new characters too easily. However, within the first 5-minutes, I was a fan. This has to do with a combination of the animation work put into Alex’s facial reactions and movement and the voice tales of Erika Mori.
I had no previous knowledge of Erika before this release, and it seems this may be her first video game project, but she naturally fit the role of this 21-year-old outcast. As a character, Alex is complex in design, dealing with a history of sleeping on couches while finding her way through the foster care system. It’s this punk rock persona that has morphed her into a standoffish but unpredictable ball of energy. Of course, the player morphs some of these traits, which makes Erika’s performance that much more impactful in these moments.
Erika’s vocal range goes from timid to aggressive in such a natural way that you feel moved by this character. Visually, Alex’s eyes tell you everything she’s thinking before she even says it. Deck Nine blew it out of the park in this aspect as dialogue scenes display the character’s mannerisms through some excellent facial animations. Nothing appears robotic or unnatural, which made it easy to insert myself into this world.
One of the major aspects of gameplay is the dialogue itself. The developers chose wisely by making these characters a bit older or at least of drinking age. Gone away are the silly one-liners that we assume high schoolers say, and in its place is a decent understanding of real drama. It also helps that Alex likes good music after rocking out to one of the better Kings of Leon albums.
I need to explore more of the supernatural elements of true colors as I progress through the game. Alex has a way to see the color of emotions, but it’s unclear what kind of picture that will paint in the later parts of the game. Still, if you were unsure of Alex Chen’s capabilities of leading this adventure, Erika Mori and Deck Nine have done an amazing job of crafting a complicated and relatable protagonist.
Life is Strange: True Colors is coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, and PC-via Steam on September 10, 2021.
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