Tell Me Why is a brand-new narrative based adventure from the same people that brought us the beloved Life is Strange franchise, DONTNOD Entertainment. Published by Xbox Game Studios, Tell Me Why is a breakthrough in the way it represents transgender, queer and indigenous characters, as well as characters with mental health issues.
Tell Me Why Details
A narrative based adventure with a strong focus on its characters
As with other DONTNOD games such as Life is Strange, Tell Me Why is a narrative adventure with a strong focus on its characters. The game unfolds over three chapters, all available now, that allow you to play at your own pace. Tell Me Why tells the story between twins Alyson and Tyler Ronan. The twins reunite for the first time after their mother’s tragic death ten years ago.
We learn that Tyler is a transgender man who has been struggling with his mother’s death for many years. When the twins return to their childhood home, they realize what they thought happened in the past might not be exactly as they remembered. I want to take a minute to acknowledge the incredible job that DONTNOD has done in portraying Tyler in a way that is relatable to just about everyone.
It’s clear that the team at DONTNOD did their research with the help of many experts to portray all the game’s themes thoughtfully and respectfully. While Tyler being a transgender man is certainly part of Tell Me Why‘s story, it isn’t the centre of it. In fact, the focus of the game is the relationship between Tyler and his sister Alyson and their journey to uncover the past.
A “Bond” that will help uncover the truths of the past
Gameplay in Tell Me Why is similar to that of Life is Strange, in that your choices and decisions you make directly affect the characters and narrative outcome. However, there are some differences in gameplay. For example, gameplay in Tell Me Why is based around a supernatural link between Tyler and Alyson.
You use this link or “Bond” to help uncover the truth of the events leading up to and surrounding their mother’s death. Major choice moments in the game are more subtle. As a result, the flow of the story feels more natural while still having a powerful impact.
The choices you make affect the Bond between the twins and also have a direct affect on the story and course of the game. Memories between the twins are not always remembered the exact same way and it is up to you to choose which memory to follow.
Beautiful small-town Alaska
Tell Me Why takes place in the fictional small-town of Delos Crossing Alaska. The team at DONTNOD did a fantastic job in creating a beautiful snow landscape and a town with unique and varied characters from all types of backgrounds. An incredible amount of attention to detail exists in the game both indoor and outdoors. For example, the twins mother loved to carve things out of wood. And, you can see this reflected in their childhood home through wooden bears carved on either side of the couch.
The voice acting for both Tyler and Alyson is superb. Emotion, heartache and sorrow can be felt as each character goes through a roller coaster of emotions throughout the entire journey. As expected, the music in the game plays an important role and helps tell the story and convey emotions perfectly.
Tell Me Why is a fantastic narrative based adventure that you will not want to miss
Tell Me Why is a fantastic narrative based adventure that will take you between 9-10 hours to complete. The characters in the game feel real and don’t adhere to any stereotypes and at times the story is very eye opening. I love how DONTNOD doesn’t shy away from telling the story through its characters in a true and accurate fashion.
Gameplay is typical of other games from DONTNOD, with a few differences. The choices I made throughout the game were what I would have done based on the situation and circumstances if I were in the same situations. It felt rewarding to see the relationship between Tyler and Alyson grow, change and evolve over the entire journey.
If you are a fan of any of the previous DONTNOD games, you will instantly fall in love with Tell Me Why. And, for those that have never played a game by DONTNOD who are looking for an engrossing narrative adventure, you wont be dissapointed.
+ Engaging and inclusive storyline that doesn’t play to stereotypes
+ Unique cast of characters with their own stories and experiences to tell
+ Beautiful 4K graphics that are some of DONTNOD’s best to date
+ Game’s themes thoughtfully and respectfully portrayed
+ Excellent voice acting
– Gameplay does not innovate much for the genre
– Hard to tell how some choices affect the story
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF TELL ME WHY
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5