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|OT| Life Is Strange: True Colors |OT| Color Me Sadd

IbizaPocholo

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We caught up with Felice Kuan, the senior staff writer of Life is Strange: True Colors, to get some insight on writing for video games. From crafting a believable world to making player choice matter, here are Felice’s tips for game writing. Sponsored by Square Enix.

The latest entry in the critically-acclaimed series, Life is Strange: True Colors follows Alex Chen, a young woman who uses her psychic power of Empathy to absorb and manipulate the emotions of those around her, and investigate the truth behind her brother’s mysterious death.
We spoke to the game’s senior staff writer, Felice Kuan, to get some tips and advice on writing for video games. If you’re an aspiring video game writer who wants to get into writing for games, Felice offers tips on crafting a believable world, developing relatable characters, making player choice matter, collaborating with other departments such as art design and sound design, and where to find inspiration and influences for writing in games. Developed by Deck Nine and Square Enix, Life is Strange: True Colors is out now on PS4, PS5, PC, Xbox Series X and S, Xbox One and Stadia. It will arrive on Nintendo Switch later this year.
 

BadBurger

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This is the first game I purchased on the PS5 in which after confirming I was taken to a screen allowing me to clearly choose which version to download - PS4 or 5. I hope that remains consistent.

The animators did an amazing job so far on capturing authentic-looking feelings in facial gestures and mannerisms.

The score isn’t as good as the first game’s to me, but it’s still really early on!

I don’t think is 60 FPS on the PS5, it looks jittery when panning the camera.

I had to disable vibration. They made really poor use of the haptics. It’s not even comfortable when using her powers with L2 - in fact it feels awful and it’s too intense.

Now back to the game

Edit: wow this is awesome, I feel like a wine mom getting to control her own soap opera while tipsy at 3PM - and I mean that in the best way. Loving this
 
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Hydroxy

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Played the first chapter. So far not impressed. Am just not feeling the main character. Max was way better. Hopefully it gets better, but I have a feeling it probably won't. Atleast the ending to the first chapter was interesting so hopefully story picks up soon.
 

packy34

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No idea why they couldnt hit 60fps on XSX, it doesnt even look as good as ACV and thats a huge open world that runs at 60. Really hard to enjoy this because the performance is jarring
I'm not really sure why either. Most of my time with the game on PC it was at 80-100fps with ray tracing on and I don't even have a 3000 series card.
 

jshackles

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Picked this up on PC.

Just finished the first chapter. Holy hell.
 
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BadBurger

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It's weird, in the marketing I've seen (been very little) they make Alex look almost androgynous. She's no super model but is clearly feminine in game:



Just seems weird they did that


Edit: Oh man the festival

When she started paying Blister in the Sun I smiled great big, almost clapped. One of my favorite songs and one of the few I can actually play well on a guitar. This game just moved a few points up for me.
 
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reksveks

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Only now found out that there was an playanywhere purchase in the ms store so just bought it.
 
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I honestly never understood that initial reaction to Alex's design. There's a thread here where a low res image of Alex leaked before the official reveal and people really over-reacted to it. IMO their impressions were clearly colored by the series reputation and not the design itself because she's 100% looked unambiguously female to me the whole time.
 
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Certinty

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Yet to start this but i'm shocked it's being praised so much, some even saying it's better than the first game? Maybe the future of this franchise is with this Deck Nine. Very good to hear though after the disappointment that was the second game (not that it was bad but it wasn't exactly good).
 
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BadBurger

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Yet to start this but i'm shocked it's being praised so much, some even saying it's better than the first game? Maybe the future of this franchise is with this Deck Nine. Very good to hear though after the disappointment that was the second game (not that it was bad but it wasn't exactly good).

The writing of True Colors is significantly better. The first game suffered from the same kind of writing that The Walking Dead games did. Every circumstance was too earnest, often forced. Whatever the worst outcome of any event could be almost always happened. Some characters were defined solely by a single trait, some character flaw, feeling hollow and inauthentic. Meanwhile the events in True Colors unfold in a natural-feeling way. Each character feels like they could be an actual human being out there existing someplace.

Gameplay wise I thought the first was too involved for this manner of adventure game. Forcing the player to try to complete these kinds of quicktime events and such with the clunky controls (another similarity to the Walking Dead games). There's really none of that in this one, allowing them to focus on narrative, problem solving, and creative use of Alex's powers.

So yea, as much as I enjoyed the first in the series, True Colors feels like an evolution in every important way. I just wish it wasn't optimized like ass on the PS5. :(
 
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Yet to start this but i'm shocked it's being praised so much, some even saying it's better than the first game? Maybe the future of this franchise is with this Deck Nine. Very good to hear though after the disappointment that was the second game (not that it was bad but it wasn't exactly good).

I enjoyed it a lot, I wouldn't say it's better than the first game but it's leagues beyond LiS2 (which I would personally say was a very bad game). The first game has a higher level of mystery and paranormal intrigue that gave it a very special atmosphere. Max's powers felt deeply tied to the world around her/her overall fate, and likewise the strange events going on and the inescapable storm were a powerful metaphor for inner turmoil in a coming of age story. True Colors tells an interesting mystery story of its own, and theirs aspects like the animation, dialogue or secondary cast, that I think are better -- but it doesn't resonate on the same frequency as LiS1. I'd also give Life is Strange 1 a significant gameplay edge because the powers were incorporated into the actual puzzle and mystery solving far better.

That being said letting Deck Nine handle mainline entries of the series has been the best thing for it. DontNod's track record is just too spotty. LiS2 was a total dud to me, I enjoyed Tell Me Why but it wasn't exceptional and Twin Mirror was one of the worst disappointments I've suffered through in gaming. Deck Nine has proven they're extremely talented with True Colors so I hope they'll be steering the ship for the foreseeable future.
 
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Hydroxy

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I finished the game. Overall I am disappointed. I only liked chapter 3 and 4. I did not feel any connection with Alex. I liked Max way more. Also your power to read other people's minds was not interesting or fun as Time Rewind powers Max had. Life is Strange is one of my favourite games and this game wasn't even close to it. I would say I even liked LiS 2 more than this even though that game too was a disappointment compared to the first. The small town setting was great and some of the characters were good too but overall the story just wasn't engaging or long enough to make me care about it. Overall I'd give this game a 6/10.
 
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jshackles

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Chapter 4

That surprise Violent Femmes cover. Glorious.
 
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BadBurger

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Finished! I like my ending.

A very bittersweet discussion over a montage to conclude things.

Anyone tried Wavelengths yet? I am so tempted to buy the upgrade for it.
 
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Finished! I like my ending. A very bittersweet discussion over a montage to conclude things.

Anyone tried Wavelengths yet? I am so tempted to buy the upgrade for it.
I've got it, but it's unfortunately not out until the 30th. How many people agreed with you at the town meeting? Did you forgive Jed? (ending spoilers).
 
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BadBurger

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I've got it, but it's unfortunately not out until the 30th. How many people agreed with you at the town meeting? Did you forgive Jed? (ending spoilers).

Oh, I saw the option to buy it so I figured it was out. Something to look forward to while I play Eastward then.

Everyone except for Duckie agreed with me (I guess I missed some memory or task for him - but I did find his bourbon!), I condemned Jed. Fuck him. (ending spoilers)
 
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Arsic

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So I tried life is strange 1 after completing true colors....

I can't. True colors never felt shoe horned or this trope to 10000% stuff out the gate.

I prefer the age and look of True Colors cast, and the fact that my decisions are ones I was stuck with without knowing the other effect without a new playthrough.

Is life is strange 2 better in its game mechanic or is it also time reversal ? Are the characters better ?

I know it gets a lot of love but it was a total miss for me for LiS1.
 
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rob305

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For some reason I thought this was going to be on gamepass. I finished all other LiS games and was planning on picking this up but will wait a couple of months now for a price drop since a lot of games are coming out starting next week
 
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The stories are standalone so I'd say it's probably fine to play either this or LiS 1 first. You just wouldn't want to play Before The Storm before you play LiS 1 because it's a prequel that trades off the significance of the first games events. You wouldn't want to play LiS 2 ever .

That being said I'm not super sold on the new graphics in the remastered collection, myself. IDK they kinda bug the eyes out on the expressions sometimes, in the trailers they showed:
Oh wow. That looks absolutely terrible.
 
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Oh wow. That looks absolutely terrible.
Here's a video of comparisons that shows more than just the unfavorable shots:

I think it's a mixed bag. When Max pokes her head out from behind the bathroom stall, her expression is less stiff and her eyes are livelier. Similarly, her expression during the pool scene is a lot more human. Other animations go too far to me and exaggerate what came off as subtle emotion in the original. Plus I'm not big on the general changes to her design like making her eyebrows thinner, rounder face, less pronounced freckles, etc.

Being entirely fair to the remaster, this is a WIP that they've delayed until 2022. So what's been shown in the trailers thus far might not be 100% representative of the final product.
 
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Samus Aran

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Here's a video of comparisons that shows more than just the unfavorable shots:

I think it's a mixed bag. When Max pokes her head out from behind the bathroom stall, her expression is less stiff and her eyes are livelier. Similarly, her expression during the pool scene is a lot more human. Other animations go too far to me and exaggerate what came off as subtle emotion in the original. Plus I'm not big on the general changes to her design like making her eyebrows thinner, rounder face, less pronounced freckles, etc.

Being entirely fair to the remaster, this is a WIP that they've delayed until 2022. So what's been shown in the trailers thus far might not be 100% representative of the final product.

It was 100% representative of the final product when it was going to ship this fall, but the massive outcry made them delay the game. To bad it didn't happen to XIII.
 

IbizaPocholo

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Life is Strange: True Colors is OUT NOW for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S! Alex Chen's psychic power of Empathy allows her to see supernatural auras around people who are feeling a strong emotion. But those brightly colored auras, at the core of the gameplay, could have proven problematic for players with Color Vision Deficiency. Take a peek inside the game's many Accessibility options, through the lens of its color filters, and see how the game's developers, Deck Nine, aimed to make Alex's empathy accessible to all.
 
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Outlier

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Seems lie a good game. I liked LIS 1, generally.

I might give this a go hen I'm done with some other games.

Glad to see people enjoying it! :)
 
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At this point I've completed it and gone through most of a second run to see how some things can switch up, the variation is not bad at all. True Colors is definitely a return to form for Life is Strange. Deck Nine have given the series an extra layer (or two) of polish it never had before, especially in regards to the animation, environment art, voice acting and dialogue. Despite me loving LiS 1, I'd say a good 15~20% of the dialogue was cringe-worthy, True Colors doesn't have those moments where notably awkward lines get inbetween you and your engagement with the characters. Which also bleeds into the game's fantastic secondary cast of varied and likable Haven Spring's residents. Exploring their deep emotions through Alex's powers gives you a lot of character building to chew on. Which is great, but also where the game lets itself down by putting the core mystery on the back burner for very long stretches. In that regard I'd say it has pacing issues. Perhaps a reason they didn't give the mystery surrounding Gabe's death as much focus is because the details are actually pretty simple. There's still several shocking and effective revelations along the way -- in particular that Alex's father was among the minors that died due to Jed's negligence -- but I'd like to see this aspect of the series given a bit more love going forward.

Pros:
Alex is a great protagonist
Visual upgrade across the board & improved facial animations go a long way
Secondary cast is written with depth & are fun to interact with
Return to a focus on mystery & drama
Varied gameplay in the form of mini-games & light puzzling
Empath powers add interesting considerations to the choice & consequence mechanic
Slow build allows genuine bonds w/ characters
Dope music
Strong conclusion that delivers an emotional high note

Cons:
Slow build sidelines core mystery too much
Puzzles are too simplistic, even by the series standard, and don't incorporate Alex's abilities enough
Complaints over console performance
Some parts of the final chapter feel a bit too reminiscent of LiS1

Overall I'd give that game an 8.3/10, and say it's my second favorite in the series underneath the first game. Deck Nine has actually managed to capture a lot of the feeling that made the original great and improve on many aspects where DontNod could not. I'm totally happy with them handling the series from here on out. I hope this game is a success for them and Square Enix continues the series for years to come. I'd love to see Deck Nine continue to elevate their craft and be a stable and healthy presence for Life is Strange and adventure games in the mainstream, especially after what happened to TellTale.

Also, it was quite based when Alex and Steph covered Violent Femmes.
 
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Certinty

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First episode was great. The second was a bit strange, like are the last four episodes really just one hour long each unless you do the side content? I'm not a big fan of that, each episode should have more meat on it than just side content, at least to me.
 

reksveks

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Really enjoyed that, I still think my favourite in this 'genre' is lis1, tell me why + lis:True Colors, then lis2.
 
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Life is Strange: Remastered Collection release date announced for February 1st.

SQUARE ENIX ANNOUNCE LIFE IS STRANGE: REMASTERED COLLECTION WILL LAUNCH ON TUESDAY FEBRUARY 1, 2022​

Critically Acclaimed Life is Strange and Life is Strange: Before the Storm will come to new platforms in a Remastered Collection next year​

LONDON, UK (September 24, 2021) – SQUARE ENIX® today announced the new release date for Life is Strange™: REMASTERED COLLECTION – February 1, 2022

Once again harness the power of Max’s rewind ability or Chloe’s quick-witted attitude in the Life is Strange Remastered Collection. Features include:


  • Remastered character and environment visuals
  • New engine and lighting upgrades
  • Brand new, fully motion captured facial animation in Life is Strange
  • Before the Storm includes Deluxe content (outfits, ‘Farewell’ episode, Zombie Crypt outfit)

The Life is Strange Remastered Collection contains both Life is Strange Remastered and Life is Strange: Before the Storm Remastered, and will be available to purchase on Google Stadia, Nintendo Switch™, PlayStation®4, XBOX ONE®, and PC Steam on 02/01/2022.

The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions are compatible with and can be purchased on PlayStation®5 and XBOX SERIES X|S®.

Not too far off, hopefully they've made some good improvements.
 

balls of snow

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Finally a dude worthy of a fem mc. Ryan is a good, sincere guy and he got to tap that ass.
Love the Johnny Cash ending. All in all like it more than LiS 2 for sure and thats primarily because of Alex and Gabe. Way way better chemistry than the brothers in LiS 2. Gg Deck Nine.
 
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balls of snow

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The writing of True Colors is significantly better. The first game suffered from the same kind of writing that The Walking Dead games did. Every circumstance was too earnest, often forced. Whatever the worst outcome of any event could be almost always happened. Some characters were defined solely by a single trait, some character flaw, feeling hollow and inauthentic. Meanwhile the events in True Colors unfold in a natural-feeling way. Each character feels like they could be an actual human being out there existing someplace.

Gameplay wise I thought the first was too involved for this manner of adventure game. Forcing the player to try to complete these kinds of quicktime events and such with the clunky controls (another similarity to the Walking Dead games). There's really none of that in this one, allowing them to focus on narrative, problem solving, and creative use of Alex's powers.

So yea, as much as I enjoyed the first in the series, True Colors feels like an evolution in every important way. I just wish it wasn't optimized like ass on the PS5. :(
Agree on the writing. The entire chapter 5 is really hard to write without being some sappy, on the nose, preachy dialogue especially during the big showdown. But as I was going through, I was legit impressed with it.
 
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Finally a dude worthy of a fem mc. Ryan is a good, sincere guy and he got to tap that ass.
Love the Johnny Cash ending. All in all like it more than LiS 2 for sure and thats primarily because of Alex and Gabe. Way way better chemistry than the brothers in LiS 2. Gg Deck Nine.

I do appreciate that they've made the romantic interests in true colors more equally viable. Was always a super lop-sided aspect to the other games.
 

M1chl

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I guess autumn is coming and I had mild depression, I play through it again and man, it filled me with joy went with the Steph this time and it was great. Love this game, I think the performance of VAs and impressive motion capture made this game.

I want more, please give anything LiS related to Deck Nine indefinitely, DONTNOD lost their touch long time ago.
Wanting to play this eventually, is it woke af? Trailer didn't seem so.
Nah it's not, it does not really preach anything. Despite those "empathy powers", the game felt natural with the interaction of characters there.
 
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Played through the Wavelengths DLC last night and I liked it a lot. Steph has a much more outgoing personality compared to Alex so it was cool to get a different perspective on a familiar locale (the DLC is about Steph starting her new DJ job and takes place entirely in the record store). There's some good fan service for people who miss the OG Arcadia Bay characters. Deck Nine also finds some clever ways to yet again create light puzzling out of slice-of-life scenarios and even make choices matter within such a limited scope. I do wish we could have seen a bit more of Charlotte, Ryan and Gabe. Maybe have them stop by the record store one time but it was still cool to get more interactions via text & such.

Honestly wouldn't mind more True Colors DLC, although I'm not sure exactly what angle you'd take on it. In any case I hope it's not too long before we get some more LiS to play because True Colors has really restored my appreciation for the series and renewed my faith in its potential moving forward. If Deck Nine can take their solid fundamentals and really knock it out of the park with a top tier power/gameplay twist then the skies the limit for their next game.

I guess autumn is coming and I had mild depression, I play through it again and man, it filled me with joy went with the Steph this time and it was great. Love this game, I think the performance of VAs and impressive motion capture made this game.

I want more, please give anything LiS related to Deck Nine indefinitely, DONTNOD lost their touch long time ago.

Hard agree keep the series far away from DontNod for the forseeable future. They're way too inconsistent to be trusted and I just wouldn't want the visual downgrade anyway. IMO Tell Me Why was good enough to make me think it's possible they can still produce a good game, but Twin Mirror was laughably bad. I'd need to see at least 3 good games in a row from them before I'd be comfortable with them working on LiS. Even then they should be the B-Team making spinoffs and Deck Nine should handle the main entries.
 
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BadBurger

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I purchased Steph's story but there's no option to play it. Time to delete and download the entire thing again. Apparently this is an issue a lot of people are experiencing according to reddit and twitter. Even the reinstall and restoring licenses (locally and by contacting Sony support to do it on their end), even removing the device from their account and adding it back, isn't working.

People give PC gaming shit sometimes because of some assumed complexity with it, or the false belief that it s inherently less stable or reliable as console gaming. But I haven't had a problem playing a single game on PC in about ten years. Meanwhile, this is the third PlayStation 4/5 game I've had to jump through hoops to get DLC working, and the fourth console game overall since I also had issues with the DLC for an Xbox One game. Grrr. Please work reinstall......

Edit:

Narrator - "It didn't work"

Edit 2: I had to replay the very last part of the final chapter while creating a new save file. Then exit the game, relaunch, and the option to "Play Steph's Story" appeared. WTF. Anyways time to get started
 
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I purchased Steph's story but there's no option to play it. Time to delete and download the entire thing again. Apparently this is an issue a lot of people are experiencing according to reddit and twitter. Even the reinstall and restoring licenses (locally and by contacting Sony support to do it on their end), even removing the device from their account and adding it back, isn't working.

People give PC gaming shit sometimes because of some assumed complexity with it, or the false belief that it s inherently less stable or reliable as console gaming. But I haven't had a problem playing a single game on PC in about ten years. Meanwhile, this is the third PlayStation 4/5 game I've had to jump through hoops to get DLC working, and the fourth console game overall since I also had issues with the DLC for an Xbox One game. Grrr. Please work reinstall......

Edit:

Narrator - "It didn't work"

Edit 2: I had to replay the very last part of the final chapter while creating a new save file. Then exit the game, relaunch, and the option to "Play Steph's Story" appeared. WTF. Anyways time to get started
Damn, that sucks. Glad it worked out in the end, though.
 
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Shouta

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Finished TC last night. I really enjoyed it overall. In a lot of areas I like it better than LiS1. I like the cast in this and the writing for them is better overall particularly Alex. On the other hand, the story isn't nearly as engaging as the one LiS1 and I feel like the empathic powers weren't utilized to its potential. I also would have preferred more things be revealed slowly across the entire game. That said, it's a huge improvement over LiS 2 which was kind of a mess. I played that recently too and while I really dig the morals/brotherhood mechanics of that, the story is really contrived.
 

SF Kosmo

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I just started the game but watching the main characters unironically rock out to Kings of Leon and then seeing Alex break into a sad girl accoustic cover of Creep is worse than all the hellas in the first game combined.