Along with our principal Game of the Year Awards 2021, every member of the PC Gamer staff is shining a highlight on a recreation they beloved this yr. We’ll submit new employees picks, alongside our principal awards, all through the remainder of the month.
Life is Strange: True Colors is an enormous hunk of mature cheddar—the cheesiest recreation I’ve performed this yr. Come on, with a reputation like True Colours, the tone of the sport was set to be sickly candy—the kind of candy that makes your enamel harm and stains your tongue a synthetic blue. But right here I’m months after my go to to Haven Springs calling the journey considered one of my favorite video games of the yr.
You see, Life is Unusual: True Colours hits lots of beats I can relate to. As with the unique, I am about the identical age as the principle characters. I’m a bisexual, ethnic minority who tends to get pleasure from rock music, performs guitar, and has a patch denim jacket I’ve been engaged on since I used to be an adolescent. Shit, you bought me. True Colours is annoyingly my sort of factor, and when its characters are as great, considerate, and well-acted as they’re right here, the result’s that I begrudgingly adore the sport.
Regardless of the cheesiness inherent within the collection, it’s additionally extremely honest: a barely supernatural slice of life story that higher displays actual friendships, flirting, and relationships than another video games I’ve performed. The place the earlier entries dabbled in time journey and telekinesis, in True Colours the required superpower comes within the type of sensing and studying the feelings of others. It’s actually only a type of telepathy however with the added layer of having the ability to ultimately affect and alter folks’s feelings. However even when the ideas and fears of your folks, even when their deepest secrets and techniques, the proper factor to do or the most effective motion to pursue isn’t clear. It’s muddled and inelegant. Even with all of the info in entrance of you, proper there, it’s exhausting to know what’s greatest for the folks closest to you. And that’s simply life, isn’t it?
Greater than as soon as throughout my adventures with Alex Chen, I acquired up from my seat and paced in entrance of my desk. I knew the sport was going to ask me for a alternative, a choice, a path that I didn’t need to resolve upon. And once I wasn’t fretting, I’d giggle, sulk, and smirk my approach by means of all of it like I used to be watching a CW present—like I used to be discovering Supernatural another time. In the absolute best approach, it’s as shut as these experiences get to a chick-flick.
Apart from the sport pummelling you with feelings, Life is Unusual: True Colours additionally delivers a stunning atmosphere to analyze. Ordinarily I’m not a really affected person participant, however for Life is Unusual I’ll discover each nook and cranny of Haven Springs—each pretend band poster, each dialog possibility, each store. I need to soak up all the things. The file retailer is so detailed I can nearly really feel the vinyl in my palms. The flower store is so nicely stocked I can nearly scent the earth and pollen. It’s vibrant and great and I need to e-book a vacation to a spot that doesn’t even exist.
What carries the sport by means of, although, are the performances. Alex is performed by Erika Mori, who went on to be nominated for a Sport Award and a Golden Joystick. Though she is undeniably the star of the present, Han Soto as Gabe, Eric Emery as Ryan, and the return of Katy Bentz as Steph pulls the story collectively splendidly. Their jokes and pleasant rapport jogged my memory of going to events and sitting down with a gaggle of individuals you don’t know but. From laughing about previous pranks to supporting you once you’re down, the forged all reach portray an image of previous and new friendships completely. And it’s not like I acquired a lot of an opportunity to make new buddies my very own age in 2021, did I?
The characters and relationships of Life is Unusual: True Colours are so good that the loss of life of Alex’s older brother Gabe early within the recreation hits exhausting. The advertising and even the Steam web page put together you for his loss of life, nevertheless it’s nonetheless sudden and nearly random. Your thoughts swims in any respect you possibly can have executed otherwise to stop such a devastating loss, however in fact it is unavoidable. You miss him, the city misses him, and you’re feeling his absence for the rest of your journey. You would like you possibly can ask for his recommendation, characters mirror on how he may have helped them, and a few of them even want Alex had died slightly than Gabe. However I used to be glad to have recognized him; I used to be glad to have met and beloved Gabe earlier than he handed away. Spectacular stuff Deck 9. The tragedy will make you gloomy, however there’s additionally romance within the air in Haven Springs.
Ryan and Steph are each potential matches in your journey. Ryan is a form, bird-watching, outdoorsy kind with a smile that makes you swoon. Deck 9 takes time to indicate you ways he’s good together with his dad and the youngsters of the city, and that he actually desires to care for Alex in case you’ll permit him. Steph, then again, is a rock goddess, radio geek, and a LARPing genius. She’s the good nerd you’ll ever meet, and has ardour in bucket masses for the issues she loves, which may embrace Alex, in case you had been so inclined to this point her.
As Life is Unusual: True Colours got here to an in depth, what harm greater than the twists and turns of Alex’s story was leaving my imaginary relationships behind. It makes you take care of no matter companion you select deeply by the tip of the sport, and whoever you don’t select nonetheless looks like a greatest mate, confined in that little field by your desk. It’s unhappy, however hey, I can all the time play all of it once more, can’t I?
In a yr the place I couldn’t stay my life to the fullest, Life is Unusual: True Colours was a respite. I may really feel like I used to be transferring to a brand new place, assembly new folks, and possibly making a distinction to the life of somebody apart from myself. I fell in love with folks, friendships, relationships, and locations—all luxuries which 2021 did a rattling good job of stopping. However right here in Haven Springs, I may permit myself to fall in love, only for a second.