Tell Me Why – Game Review


Tell Me Why

(Available for Xbox One and PC)
(Xbox Series X version available later this year)
(PC version used for review)

(No Spoilers in Review and please refrain from posting Spoilers in the comments section)

Tell Me Why is a narrative driven game made by developers from Dotnod entertainment, the developers behind the Life Is Strange games. This time the game is not being published by Square-Enix but instead by Xbox Game Studios to make it an exclusive to Microsoft platforms and is also being used as a way to bolster the line up for Xbox Game Pass which is looking better deal by the day. it initially released with just its first chapter in late August but received the second and third chapters shortly after which is welcome bit of fresh air considering that Life is Strange 2 took most of last year to release all 5 parts. The second and third chapters also come at no extra charge so once you pay for the game you get everything, both of which is likely as a way to make it more palatable for Xbox Game Pass streaming. Since this is such a narrative driven game as mentioned earlier I’ll be avoiding spoilers, but the basic premise is that twins Tyler and Alyson after being separated because of Tylor going to prison for the murder of their mother in self defence (it’s not a spoiler it’s the first scene of the game) they are traveling back to their childhood hometown of Delos Crossing to finally refurbish sell their mother’s house. However they begin to see visions of their past which suggest things might not have been the way they thought and they investigate using this new power to give themselves closure. Right off the bat the game is much shorter. While each chapter runs about the same length as typical Life Is Strange episode of around 3-4 hours there are obviously less episodes so it runs of a total run time of about 9-10 hours which obviously means you’re getting less play time than Life is Strange 1 & 2 which come in of a run time of 16 and 18 hours respectively but the beauty in these games is how they hold up to replays to see how events can turn out differently.

Pros.

  • Soundtrack: Dotnod games always have great soundtracks and this game is no exception. If you’ve played Life is Strange the soundtrack will be familiar to you in terms of music genre’s
  • Brilliant LGBT characters and storyline: Tyler is probably one of the best written transgender characters that has been put into a video game and the use of LGBT themes are also well done in regards to another character.
  • Set up for the plot: the game sets up a very intriguing storyline which gets you invested in the characters and what happened around the incident all those years ago , how it follows that up is another matter

Mixed

  • Graphics: the graphics are a mixed bag, on the one hand they seem like they are better than the Life is Strange games in terms of textures on characters and backgrounds but it feels like compared to those games the characters are not as expressive in cutscenes and the game has a way less distinctive art style. the game does run well for the most part. the game is set as a default 30 frames per second but I was able to up it to 60 in the settings and I suspect the series X version will be 60 as a default. The game runs way better at 60 so if you’re playing the PC version and have a PC that’s capable make that settings change as soon as possible
  • Story: it has good character moments and a decent sense of mystery but if falls flat on the whole and the game feels like it tells you more about character motivations than it actually shows you. it also doesn’t help that I guessed a major plot twist way in advance because the games limitations on characters and scenes with those characters. many of them only contribute to a couple of scenes. They’re good ones but they don’t serve much purpose outside of that.

Cons

  • Not much replay value: this games gives you choices but they really don’t feel like they matter at all. You really can’t affect much of the plotline at all. Unlike Life is Strange 1 & 2 it doesn’t have the replay value since the choices don’t affect character motivation all that much and the game comes down to 2 endings which don’t affect the conclusion in any way. say what you like about Life is Strange 1 at least in that game you could actually affect the conclusion this game on the other hand really makes you feel like you were just along for the ride and weren’t doing much of anything
  • Too short: this game really need to be longer so the developers could do more with the characters and the plotline. 9 hours simply isn’t enough time and the lack of replay value means you won’t get more time out of it after you’re first playthrough. The game was likely rushed and that is really felt by the end of the game because it feels like a lot of ideas have been left out of the game
  • Puzzles: they’re too easy and are tedious, all you have to do is look up for a chapter in the storybook and you have what you need.

Overall thoughts

There’s a really good game in here but it really feels like a game that was put out quickly to be a selling point for Xbox Game Pass. It has good characters and acting but doesn’t know what to do with them and leaves a plotline with intrigue but no real consequence since choices don’t matter so much. I didn’t hate this game and was invested for the first 2 chapters but the third one made the game feel a lot more hollow once everything had been said and done. but felt a bit more empty afterwards compared to other Dotnod games which really had me invested by the end. It’s probably the weakest game the studio has put out in recent memory though I can sense there was a lot of effort and some good ideas here it just feels like they don’t pay off. though I have also been coy on some of my thoughts to avoid spoilers

Score: 6.8/10

If you’re at all curious and have a Xbox Game Pass subscription you might as well give it a go otherwise wait for a steam sale even with it’s reduced price of £25. If you want to get into these kinds of games though I’d sooner recommend Life is Strange 1 & 2, especially 2. They’re both slightly cheaper and where Tell me Why fails they suceed
 
Calvin – Nerd Consultant

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