With the release date for Life is Strange: True Colors fast approaching on September 10th for all major platforms, it won’t be long until you’re on another emotional journey filled with tough decisions.
As you wait, there’s no better time to catch up on the previous installments in the series to get the full picture. While True Colors is a standalone entry, it still takes place in the same universe as the other games, even more so with the return of an old character.
If you’re new to the Life is Strange series or need help refreshing your memory, here’s the full story so far to get you all caught up.
Life is Strange 1 Story Recap
Life is Strange is the first installment in the series and was initially released over five episodes from January to October 2015 for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, and later for PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
It was published by Square Enix and developed by Dontnod Entertainment, the French studio’s second game (their debut being Remember Me, which sold poorly).
The game takes place in Arcadia Bay, a fictional seaside town located in Oregon, United States, and follows 18-year-old Max Caulfield. Shortly after moving back to her hometown to enroll at Blackwell Academy, Max has a strange vision where she’s trapped in a thunderstorm.
Upon reaching a mysterious lighthouse, Max spots a gigantic tornado heading straight towards Arcadia Bay. She then finds herself in her photography class as if nothing has happened.
She initially believes the vision to be a dream, but it foreshadows the events to come later on in the story. After class ends, Max makes her way to the girls’ bathroom but is quickly forced to hide when two students barge in.
A fight breaks out, leading to a girl being shot. Max extends out her hand in protest and consequently discovers she can rewind time.
Using her newfound ability, Max prevents the girl’s death, who is later revealed to be her childhood best friend, Chloe Price.
Max can use her power to change the events of many situations, both minor and major depending on the player’s choices. Much of Life is Strange’s narrative focuses on the disappearance of Rachel Amber, a missing student from Blackwell Academy and Chloe’s close friend.
Max and Chloe go on an investigation to find out what happened to Rachel, with the help of Max’s rewind power.
While Max uses her time-traveling skills with the best intentions, she ultimately makes matters worse, including creating an alternate timeline in which Chloe is paralyzed. It seems the more she tries to make things right, the more she makes things wrong.
After returning to the original timeline, Max and Chloe discover that Rachel Amber was murdered. They stumble upon a sinister darkroom located in an underground bunker that belongs to Mark Jefferson, Max’s photography teacher. To their horror, they find various disturbing images of students from Blackwell Academy, including Rachel.
Despite their best efforts to warn others of Jefferson’s true nature, he ends up murdering Chloe and kidnapping Max. Held hostage in Jefferson’s darkroom, Max is forced to use her rewind powers again to save Chloe and report Jefferson before he hurts other students.
Again, everything seems well — until it isn’t. Even with Jefferson now in prison, Max is unable to stop the storm she’d envisioned throughout the story. As the tornado rips through Arcadia Bay, Max makes her way to the lighthouse to find Chloe.
She’s met with an incredibly difficult and heartbreaking decision: sacrifice Arcadia Bay and save Chloe or sacrifice Chloe and save the town. If Max chooses to sacrifice Arcadia Bay, the town is destroyed, including almost everyone in it.
If Max sacrifices Chloe, she returns to the past one last time. Instead of saving Chloe in the girl’s bathroom, Max lets the original course of events pan out. The town is saved, Jefferson is in prison, but Max loses her best friend in the process.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm Story Recap
Following the success of the original Life is Strange, a three-part prequel called Life is Strange: Before the Storm came to fruition. Square Enix offered the project to Deck Nine as Dontnod were in the process of making Life is Strange 2 at the time.
Before the Storm was released in 2017 for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, iOS, and Android. The game takes place a few years before the first Life is Strange, focusing on Chloe’s and Rachel’s friendship.
After sneaking her way into a concert at a dilapidated old mill, Chloe meets Rachel for the first time and they immediately get along. The next day, Rachel meets up with Chloe again.
She suggests they skip school for the day and hang out instead, which Chloe eagerly agrees to. They go to the local park to spy on passersby using a viewfinder.
Chloe pokes fun at a man and woman kissing, while Rachel looks on in silence. It’s later revealed that the man was Rachel’s father, and the woman was definitely not her mother.
In a deep rage, Rachel throws a family photo into a trashcan and lights it on fire. She kicks the trashcan over, resulting in a wildfire that spreads throughout Arcadia Bay. She screams in frustration, seemingly causing the fire to grow even larger.
As Chloe’s and Rachel’s bond strengthens, they discover that the mysterious woman Rachel’s father is having an affair with is her true biological mother, Sera. The pair get in touch with the town’s drug dealer, Frank, as he has the means to track her down.
After meeting up with Frank at the junkyard, Frank’s boss Damon promptly arrives to retrieve some money he’s owed. He threatens the trio, then stabs Rachel after she lets slip that her father is the district attorney.
With Rachel now in hospital, Chloe breaks into the Amber family’s home and comes across some disturbing evidence. Rachel’s father had paid Damon to kill Sera, and now she’s being held hostage.
Chloe contacts Frank for help, and together they save Sera. Chloe attempts to convince Sera to meet Rachel, but she believes her daughter is better off without her. Sera persuades Chloe to keep Rachel’s father’s secret as she doesn’t want to ruin their relationship.
Once Chloe makes her way back to the hospital, she can either tell Rachel the truth about her father or keep it a secret. If she does the former, Rachel will be visibly upset. The ending cinematic shows her family life to be unstable and strained.
If Chloe decides to protect Rachel from the truth, Rachel will get along with her father being none the wiser of what really happened.
Depending on the choices you made earlier in the game, there is also a secret ending where Sera meets up with Rachel.
Although there is a slight variation to the final cinematic based on your choices, it ultimately ends on a sinister note with Rachel’s phone seen ringing in a mysterious room.
There are multiple missed calls from Chloe and the flash of a camera in the background, foreshadowing Rachel’s fate in the first Life is Strange.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit Story Recap
Serving as a promotional teaser to Life is Strange 2, The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit tells the tale of Chris Eriksen, a 9-year-old boy with a vivid imagination.
The game was released for free in 2018 for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. It’s set at Christmas time in Beaver Creek, Oregon, a small and sleepy town.
Chris uses an alter-ego called Captain Spirit to escape reality and go on many exciting adventures – the complete opposite of his actual life.
The game starts with Chris being called to breakfast by his father, Charles. He informs Chris that they’re going to get a real pine Christmas tree, but only after he’s watched a basketball game.
As you discover early on, Chris is often left to entertain and fend for himself. He has no friends and his father is a lazy alcoholic. At breakfast, Charles is seen drinking a can of beer and remarks on a bruise on Chris’s arm, suggesting that he regularly mistreats his son.
After finishing breakfast, Chris gives himself some tasks to do while he waits for the basketball game to finish. Using items around the house, he makes himself a superhero outfit based on a design he’d sketched earlier.
During this time, you learn more about Chris’s mother, Emily, who was killed in a tragic hit-and-run a few years prior. Since her death, Charles has struggled to come to terms with his grief, sinking further into an alcohol-fuelled depression.
As a result, he was fired from his basketball coaching job at a school and now works for a railroad company.
Chris, now dressed up as Captain Spirit, goes to various imaginative planets (in reality, they’re just different parts of his house) to defeat or forgive his enemies. Unfortunately, when he “lands” on the last planet to confront his archnemesis Mantoid, he is unsuccessful in killing him.
With the basketball game now over, Chris finds his father asleep in his armchair. He wakes him up, but Charles is heavily intoxicated and stumbles over, knocking over a table.
He yells at Chris, at which point the doorbell rings. Charles angrily tells Chris to get rid of the person at the door, who turns out to be their neighbor Claire.
Chris can opt to lie and cover for his father or tell the truth. If Chris reveals the truth or unsuccessfully lies, Claire will immediately become suspicious of Charle’s abuse. She vows to come back with her husband later to have a chat.
If Chris successfully lies even after making Claire suspicious earlier, Claire will still think something is wrong but leave.
Lastly, if Chris successfully lies without making Claire suspicious, she will assume nothing is out of the ordinary. She will invite him to play with her two grandsons who are visiting and then depart.
Once Claire leaves, Charles argues with his son again, blaming him for his mother’s death. Charles instantly tries to apologize but Chris storms off outside to his treehouse.
As he’s climbing up the ladder to the treehouse, one of the boards wobbles and causes Chris to fall. Just before he hits the ground, a strange supernatural force washes over him, leaving him hovering for a few seconds.
Taken back by the odd experience, he spots two children, Sean and Daniel Diaz, waving at him from his neighbor’s backyard. He sheepishly waves back.
Life is Strange 2 Story Recap
A few months after The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit was released, Life is Strange 2’s first episode launched on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The fifth and final episode came out in December 2019.
Life is Strange 2 was developed by Dontnod and follows two young brothers, Sean and Daniel Diaz on the run from the police. It’s initially set in Seattle, but the brothers’ journey takes them to various locations throughout the narrative.
It starts with 16-year-old Sean making plans to go to a party later that day. Not long after, Sean sees his 9-year-old brother Daniel being harassed by their neighbor Brett.
Sean jumps in to defend Daniel, accidentally injuring Brett in the process. A police officer in a passing vehicle witnesses the scene, ordering Sean to drop to his knees.
Sean and Daniel’s father attempt to defuse the situation but is shot by the police officer. Daniel lets out a piercing scream that creates a supernatural shockwave, unintentionally killing the police officer.
In a moment of panic, Sean picks up an unconscious Daniel and flees the scene. Now fugitives, the brothers set out to their father’s hometown, Puerto Lobos, Mexico.
Sean and Daniel try their best to keep out of sight and stay in various areas, including an abandoned cabin in a forest. He tells Daniel to hide his power from people, which is revealed to be telekinesis, much to his young brother’s frustration.
During their stay at an abandoned cabin in a snowy forest, Daniel becomes sick and Sean is forced to take him to their grandparents, Claire and Stephen Reynolds, who live nearby. After an awkward reunion, Sean and Daniel rest easy for a while before meeting Chris from the Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit.
Daniel and Chris immediately become good friends, but it’s not long before the police figure out where the brothers are staying.
On the run again, Sean and Daniel find themselves working on a drug farm after meeting a couple of runaways earlier in the story. The brothers’ relationship becomes increasingly strained, even more so depending on your choices.
Daniel’s telekinesis is growing stronger but he’s unable to control it fully. After a heated moment between the two brothers, Sean is left injured.
Sean wakes up at hospital, having lost one of his eyes in the previous confrontation. Two months have passed, but Daniel is nowhere to be found. Sean later discovers that he has been recruited by a religious cult in Nevada.
The brothers’ mother, Karen, tracks Sean down to help him rescue Daniel. They then make their way to Karen’s home in Arizona. She knows the police will find them eventually, so offers herself up to the police to give the brothers time to get past the Mexico-United States barrier.
However, upon reaching the barrier, the brothers are surrounded by the FBI. Depending on your actions in the game, Sean can opt to surrender or escape. Both decisions have different outcomes based on your earlier choices too.
Life is Strange: True Colors is set to launch on September 10th, 2021 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S, and Switch.
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