Upon starting up Life is Strange: True Colors' Wavelengths DLC episode, I expected to see more of Deck Nine's original story, only from a different perspective. While that's what I got, to a certain extent, I was surprised to see that Deck Nine put forward something noticeably different. On top of that, the studio managed to do so within the confines of only one of True Colors' locations.
Growing up Steph
Wavelengths follows True Colors supporting character Steph Gingrich and travels back to the early days of when she first showed up in Haven Springs. The story follows Steph's development as the KRCT DJ, taking place over the course of four different days spread out across the span of a year. Each day, Steph has a handful of tasks that she has to complete, which includes answering calls and reading ad copies. In-between that, the story goes to some compelling places, all without Steph ever leaving the Rocky Mountain Record Traders shop.
The four days in which players follow Steph each represent a different portion of her life in Haven Springs. Players will follow Steph adjusting to her new small town life, celebrating the end of Pride Month, and a few other major milestones in her life. That includes some surprising follow-ups on the events of the original Life is Strange and Life is Strange: Before the Storm. In fact, Wavelengths will ask the player if they've played the first game and whether they chose to save Arcadia Bay. The original game is six years old, but don't worry about not having played it. A simple "yes or no" to that question will suffice and the latter half of Wavelengths will unfold slightly differently depending on whether Arcadia Bay is still standing or laying in ashes.
The real draw of Wavelengths is following Steph's growth through her time in Haven Springs. Interacting with various objects will trigger memories, as will occasional text messages and random surprises that pop up throughout the record store. While Steph has been one of the more developed supporting characters across Deck Nine's Life is Strange games, Wavelengths is truly her story. While True Colors' main story is totally centered around reading emotions, Wavelenghts follows up on that idea without the use of any supernatural powers. Players experience Steph's excitement of starting a new job, her joy over being a part of Pride, her anxiety over interacting with certain characters, and even her sorrow upon reflection of the past. Anybody who has ever wanted to learn more about this character, this is a story that's not to be missed.
Caller, you're on the air
Steph's story is the perfect backdrop that allows Deck Nine to get experimental. The Wavelengths DLC lasts roughly three to four hours and all of it takes place entirely within the record store. The last time Deck Nine played with this concept, Before the Storm's Farewell DLC kept players entirely in Chloe's house. However, Wavelengths builds upon the concept further by spreading the narrative out across four days and there's a good reason for that.
To start, being a DJ is simple enough. Steph can pick from a stack of records and queue them up as she sees fit. Unfortunately, there's no way to preview any of the tracks, so whatever you pick, you'll probably hear it for the first time along with KRCT's listeners. Answering calls starts a fun recurring story where Steph basically predicts people's futures with the roll of a D20 die. Players are free to roam about the store and complete other tasks, but phone calls will come in at various times, at which point Steph has to step back into the booth and answer, which usually leads to another prediction session.
One of Wavelengths' most interesting ideas is that Steph creates a dating app profile. Players can swipe left or right on however many profiles they see fit. Sometimes, the app will create a match, which can lead to back-and-forths across text messages. Other times, Steph can initiate the conversation herself and try her luck by reaching out. Since Wavelengths takes place over a long period of time, these conversations develop into dates and lasting relationships. Depending on who you talk to and who you choose to skip over, Steph can experience entirely new relationships to the point that mementos start to pop up in the record shop.
A solo story
Life is Strange: True Colors is a wonderful game on its own, but Wavelengths is a fantastic standalone story. If you have a close attachment to Steph, this is everything you could ask for, diving farther into her character than anything that's come before. Even if you don't, Wavelengths stands out as an intriguing new way to experience the Life is Strange formula.
There aren't a lot of major decisions in Wavelengths, but still, it's unfortunate to see that there are no user stats at the end of the story. I would have been interested to see which records people played or which dating app profiles they pursued. There are some fun choices in this story, but sadly, there's no way to know what your friends ended up selecting.
Even as a solo tale, Wavelengths is worth playing through. Assuming this story closes the door on Steph Gingrich, it's a great way for this proud gay icon to go out.
These impressions are based on a PlayStation digital code provided by the developer. Life is Strange: True Colors' Wavelengths DLC is available now on Steam, the PlayStation Store, the Microsoft Store, and coming soon to the Nintendo eShop for $12.99 USD. The game is rated M.
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Life is Strange: True Colors Wavelengths DLC impressions: Career change
Oh THANK you. Been waiting for this.
Great review. I really enjoyed this DLC. Like a lot. Steph was already a great character and this fleshed her out.
I agree it was a bit sad there was no stat tracker like there always is in LIS episodes. There was also zero achievements for the whole thing.
My online dating was with violet and we broke up but stayed kind of friends but not really. It’s like dognose irl
Kinda need to replay it without skipping past everybody who wasn't Violet and the bots
Maybe she the only one you can romance? It seemed like a detailed romance with all the texts and choices so part of me was thinking she is the only one that can be chosen
idk, I am all homophobic and shit so I skipped everybody who wasn't feminine. Got a funny bot tho
I romanced both Violet and Fiona and got mementos from them both. Plus Fiona came out to me as trans at the end of the story, which was heartwarming.