“Life is Strange: True Colors” offers an interactive story game

By June Peers

The trending video game “Life is Strange: True Colors” was released on September 10.  This game is the fifth installment of the “Life is Strange” series.  One of the reasons it is so popular and has so many versions is because it is a graphic adventure and an “interactive story” game.

This story chronicles 21-year-old, Alexandra Chen’s transition from a mental institution to the fictional mining town Haven Springs, Colorado.  After being released from the foster care system and having been separated for eight years from her brother, Gabe, Alex is reunited with him in his hometown.  They both reside in a modern apartment above the well-known town bar, The Black Lantern, where Alex is offered a job, working alongside Gabe.

Throughout her adjustment to settling into a new town, she deals with much inner turmoil concerning her future, vacillating between either pursuing music or living comfortably in Haven Springs.  Her decision becomes an increasingly difficult choice as Alex creates many lasting relationships with the Haven Springs residents.  Due to her history of group homes, orphanages, and foster parents, she feels as though she finally belongs somewhere now and is not yet ready to abandon her friends to focus on her art.

A feature within the game allows you to read other people’s emotions and thoughts, or even objects connected to their current mental state.  When pressing the left trigger button, a glow surrounds the character.  The color of their aura displays their emotions, hence the name “True Colors.”  You uncover more of the story with this power, especially when reading into objects which are significant to the characters.  The player is able to see flashbacks pertaining to the object and the connection to the character, which reveals more of the storyline.

Though her ability to explore the emotions of others can be considered a superpower, reading into people also directly affects her.  As the story progresses, the player discovers that Alex has a tendency to exhibit the behavior of a person whose emotions are intense.  

Along with her indecision between going elsewhere to embark on a music career or staying in Haven Springs to continue her friendships, Chen is confronted with the challenging task of not letting the minds of others overtake her emotionally.

As Alex encounters Haven Springs residents, she writes journal entries about each individual, including the emotion she associates with them.  Chen relates to the other characters on a personal level, seeing a quality of hers in every person she meets.

She is quite passionate about playing the guitar, and from her explorations of others’ feelings, she composes poetic songs.  Musical artist, mxmtoon, is the singing voice for Alex.

Unlike any other interactive story video game, “Life is Strange: True Colors” delves into its characters’ emotions, each having a unique story. While many video games give insight into the principal character, “Life is Strange: True Colors” gives a unique perspective into non-player characters (NPCs). 

The graphics have also improved immensely since 2015 when the first “Life is Strange” was released.  Before, the lip-sync was off and the animations were not nearly as realistic as they are in this installment.  In comparison, in “True Colors,” you are fully immersed in the quaint historical town of Haven Springs.  When visiting the rooftop of The Black Lantern, you can see the park it overlooks. When you’re attending the annual Spring Festival at night, you’re also able to admire the nearby lake which contributes to the aesthetics of this town.

“Life is Strange: True Colors” is a poignant story about a young woman who struggles internally from focusing on others’ emotions while disregarding her own in the process.  This game portrays the complexity of our feelings and how we are often controlled by them.  Amidst Alex’s difficulty in finding her own identity, she gains insight into how the bonds you make can significantly impact your perception of the world around you.