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Even though prequels are a very popular concept in films, games, and TV, it’s strange how it’s possible to enjoy something when you know the ending in advance. It sometimes feels like you just filling in the spaces, like how Anakin became Darth Vadar or how Master Chief became the last spartan in Halo: Reach. The Life is Strange series is no stranger to prequels, with Before the Storm set before the events of series one. Here, with True Colors’ Wavelength content, it’s the character of Steph who is once again the focus, giving us the chance to fill in the gaps from when she left Arcadia Bay for Haven Springs.
Our review of Life is Strange: True Colors dropped in with the big 5 out of 5, praising the game for its brilliant storytelling and exciting enhancements to visuals and gameplay. Wavelengths continues on in the town of Haven Springs but a year earlier than when the initial True Colors tale was set.
This time the location is that of the record store/radio station and nowhere else, with things separated into the four different times periods of the year: spring, summer, Halloween, and Christmas. We see Steph arrive for a job as the record store manager and DJ, getting to work out how to use the DJ booth and maintain the store at the same time. The story relates to how Steph copes with moving from Seattle to a small town in Colorado. We see that she lied about her experience to get the job, and sit back as her memories of Arcadia Bay come forth, along with hurtful experiences from past relationships. There is nothing huge that happens like in the main game, and instead it’s full of dramatic mini moments or little stories that fit together perfectly. We even get to learn how the record store cat came to be, and how the relationship with Ethan blossomed.
It all works cleverly and once again Wavelengths is masterfully written, giving Steph a nice payoff from the first Life is Strange until now. It’s a lovely lead into the main game as well, ending as the main game begins. The story writing in the DJ booth is exceptional, with some adverts you have to read out letting you choose the outcome, along with calls to answer from listeners. It’s the little details in the throwaway stuff like commenting on things around the store, and how Steph might find an old poster or deliver her opinion on pop music that makes the writing stand out.
Gameplay-wise, True Colors Wavelengths works exactly like the other games; it’s all about dialogue choices and walking around the environments, interacting with items and objects. Here the gameplay can be separated into two sections. There is the DJ booth whereby you have to play records and get involved in a certain amount of tasks to complete; stuff like reading all the ads on a piece of paper or answer telephone calls. The next section focuses on the jobs around the store. At one point you have to tidy the record collection up or fix a grate in the corner. When you have completed all these tasks and the story that occurs from them, that segment of the year is completed.
You will also find other options in between the main tasks to do. You’ll get to explore the record store shop for all the little details, compose an original song and decide on what musical parts to add. There is also your mobile phone, full of messages from friends but also a dating app where you can swipe right or left and engage in chats with possible partners. You can even play foosball again, remembering epic matches with Gabe.
Life is Strange: True Colors still looks great with the Wavelengths content; there is an incredible amount of detail included, working right down to the bespoke record covers and a store design that feels so real. I did miss venturing out into Haven and seeing other people, but after the first couple of sections, you soon get into the groove of the setup.
The voice work is wonderful as well, with a brilliant performance from Steph’s actress, as well as down to the supporting cast. But it’s the soundtrack which is utterly immense, with one of the best and trendiest mixtures of music you’re going to get from a game. There are some seriously brilliant tracks on offer.
If you enjoyed what True Colors originally delivered, you’ll certainly enjoy more of being in this world with Wavelengths, and that’s not only because you’ll get the chance to give Steph a little more time. She may not have been everyone’s favorite character initially, but Wavelengths and the five hours or so of gameplay it brings, certainly changes that.
Get Life is Strange: True Colors Wavelength by getting the Deluxe or Ultimate Edition from the Xbox Store