Once again the team behind the Life is Strange franchise has given its fans a truly memorable story. If you haven’t played Life is Strange: True Colors go and do that first before you read this review. I promise you that the game delivers in every aspect of storytelling. If you were like me and enjoyed the game a little too much, you might have found yourself wanting it to be longer or wishing you had known a little more of the backstories behind some of the main characters.
One of the fan favorites is the character Steph Gingrich, who you might remember from Life is Strange: Before the Storm. After everything that transpired in those three episodes, Steph now finds herself running away from her troubled past and settling in the town of Haven Springs. In True Colors, Steph is one of the main characters and possible love interest of Alex depending on your decisions, but in the latest DLC: Wavelengths, she is the main protagonist battling her past and transforming an old record shop into something she could be proud of.
In Wavelengths, you find yourself in control of Steph on her first day at her new job. She has now taken the position of “Radio DJ” at Rocky Mountain Record Traders. Her new friend Gabe Chen had made her out to be overqualified for the position and pretty much throws her into the lion’s den. The shop has been around since the ’60s and needs some sprucing up, so much of the first day is Steph basically learning the ropes of management.
Much of the DLC requires Steph to play music, answer calls, speak ads, and manage chores around the store. As you become more familiar with the process of the day, you start to feel like the store is more of a personal project and a glimpse of self-reflection for Steph. She is usually someone who is on the move and isn’t too comfortable with stability, so managing a store and reflecting on her life is a significant part of this narrative.
The entire game takes place within the record shop during different seasons before the events of True Colors. You start in the Spring and then it moves to a hot June, Halloween, and then lastly on New Year’s Eve. Each season follows a single day in the life of Steph as you begin to notice subtle changes and gain popularity within the shop.
No one comes to visit and her only interactions are through phone calls, texts, web cam, emails, and memories of conversations. You can even control Steph’s dating life in which you swipe right or left on a dating app and strike up conversations with the matches. There is a feeling of loneliness that lingers within this story, but it’s backed by a sense of newfound community as Steph becomes more comfortable with each passing season.
Steph’s back story isn’t really explored too much in True Colors, so Wavelengths allows her to address some of those inner turmoils and face the music (no pun intended). She grapples with her journey and the potential decisions she makes. Should she focus on her music and the shop, or should she move on to the next adventure? As you play, you also get a better understanding of how close she was with the other main characters, especially Gabe.
Let me add that the music within the Life is Strange franchise has always been spot on, so being in control of putting on records was really cool as well. Though a little short and not too adventurous, this DLC provides a beautiful setup to the story that follows, and really gives you that feeling of “Just you wait Steph, it might all work out soon.” With a playthrough time of about 3 hours, it’s a perfect game for those back story enthusiasts, or someone who wants to know what running a record shop in a small town would be like. Life is Strange: Wavelengths is now available along with True Colors on PlayStation, Xbox, PC, and Stadia with a Nintendo Switch release planned in the future.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Life is Strange: True Colors – Wavelengths for the PlayStation 5 provided by Deck Nine Games and Square Enix.