The latest episodic narrative game from Life is Strange creators DONTNOD Entertainment, Tell Me Why is the story of siblings Alyson and Tyler, who reconcile a decade after a devastating family tragedy forced them apart. Confronting their memories and re-forging their bond, you’ll discover what led to their separation and deal with the demons from their troubled childhood.
The first chapter (of three) opens with an absolutely devastating cutscene before shifting ten years into the future, putting you in control of Tyler as he prepares to reconnect with his sister. You’ll switch control between the siblings over the course of the narrative, making choices in dialogue that will affect their relationships with each other as well as other characters that are encountered along the way. There’s some puzzles to overcome (one of which had me really stumped and – I’m a little ashamed to say – had me search online for the solution), but on the whole this is an interactive story that has a bit more direct control and, it seems, potential narrative changes than something like, for example, a Telltale series. Interpreting shared memories with your twin sibling, for example, can lead to your relationship being strengthened or weakened, depending on how you choose to decipher its meaning.
I’m very wary of going into any more detail from a narrative perspective, because you should go into Tell Me Why knowing as little as possible of the story in order for it to have maximum effect and impact. It’s brilliantly written and full of great twists and turns. One thing I need to make clear, however, is that this is a game that’s doesn’t shy away from dealing with LGBT issues – and does so incredibly empathetically. I don’t know of any other game that deals with the issues at hand in such a sensitive, respectful and impactful way. In addition to this, the Alaska setting means that there’s also representation of Indigenous people too; again, this is done respectfully and with care. It feels like a truly inclusive title that gives voice to people who often feel marginalised and discriminated against.
It’s beautifully crafted from an audiovisual point of view too, with wonderfully designed characters and environments that feel incredibly authentic in every way. The soundtrack is absolutely sublime as well.
There’s a jaw dropping climax to the first chapter; I’m extremely keen to continue my journey with Tyler and Alyson – if the next two chapters are as strong as the first, I’m going to have difficulty saying goodbye to them both.
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