Tell Me Why Game Review: A Experience Full Of Faded Memory In Alaskan Terrain

Tell Me Why is an adventurous narrative game developed by Dontnod Entertainment and published by Xbox Game studios. It is a thoughtful, atmospheric narrative adventure game with its trans lead character, a defining moment of industry.

Tell Me Why is consist of three episodes. It was released for Microsoft and Xbox One on 27 August 2020. It was announced in 14 November 2019, back then it attracted media attention during its developmental cycle for the being the first AAA Video Game to feature a transgender character as one of its main characters.

Tyler and Alyson

Their team also consulted relevant experts such as GLAAD, a non-governmental organization (NGO) founded to monitor media coverage of LGBT people, to make sure that its portrayal of LGBT characters would be regarded as respectful and authentic. In this game, Dontnod also enlisted a trans man voice actor for Tyler Ronan, who was transitioned during his time away from his sister, Alyson Ronan.

Graphics And Animation

Dontnod’s were known for their notably atmospheric narrative-driven games just like the Life is Strange series. Tell Me Why is also fulfilling all its regards. This time in Tell Me Why the visuals were stunning, with a strong sense of place and rich subplots. The Alaskan Landscape is breathtaking and the developers have taken care of small details such as footprints in the snow, exhalation in the cold. All details were rendered perfectly.

tell me why

The exquisite animations makes each scene a joy to find, and similarly as with other investigation test systems like Gone Home, the varying media configuration takes care of into the story, with each article or soundtrack adding to your comprehension of the characters.

Gameplay

In Tell Me Why you play as twins Tyler and Alyson Ronan. Where Alyson was a cis woman and Tyler was a trans man. The voice was given by Erica Lindbeck (Alyson) and August Aiden Black (Tyler). After their mother, Mary-Ann Ronan’s death siblings reunite after a decade to organize the sale of their family house in a small town in Alaska.

Besides their old home which was maintained by Mary’s friend Sam, the twins also revisit part of the fictional hometown Delos and interact with its local people. Tyler and Alyson also have some kind of supernatural bond with that they can communicate with each other and experience the visions of past events.

Tyler and Alyson with local person of Alaska

The main gameplay of Tell Me Why is to guide the twins as they experience the memories and dreams of what had unfolded in a progression of situations spread across three scenes, and piece together the plot by watching them unfurl, with every individual having various translations of what happened. The player will settle on choices for the pair dependent on which form of the previous occasions they need their symbol character to accept, which will affect the result of the game’s narrative.

Players can here and there switch back and forth between the viewpoints of the two kin, regardless of whether in their communications with the occupants of Delos Crossing or while going through the storybooks they played with as kids.

One major highlight is the Book Of Goblins which, a collection of stories, which the twins wrote in the past with their mother when they were kids. This book forms a sort of parallel fantasy world that provides clues in the form of compiled metaphors for the puzzle of the present day.

Plots

The Tell Me Why game starts with a flashback of thoughts of Tyler confessing the murder of his mother Mary-Ann in his self-defense as a child in 2005. After ten years, an adult Tyler leaves the juvenile detention where he was sentenced to and reunites with his sister Alyson.

After their mother’s died, Alyson was adopted by Eddy, the investigating officer of Tyler’s case. The twins return to their hometown Delos Crossing to sell their childhood home. But they found their home in a state of disrepair. Their house was taken care of by Sam, who turned to alcoholism since Mary’s death.

Tyler and Alyson childhood memory

While exploring their house, the twins experience flashbacks of their childhood memories especially the fairy tales about a runaway princess and her two goblin friends told by their mother. After learning about Tessa’s discussion with Mary-Ann about Tyler’s gender identity. Later the twins visit Tessa’s store, where they told about the weekly increasingly erratic behavior of Mary Ann causing her death.

Then Alyson and Tyler went to Delos Police Station to meet Eddy, where he refuses to see her file. Later Alyson experiences a flashback where she stabbed her mother Mary-Ann with a pair of scissors and begun to suffer from her post-traumatic stress.The next morning the twins again went to the Delos police Station, then eddy confronted that he visited Mary-Ann to warn her on Tessa’s instigation. The twins admit Tessa, her action and claimed their mother isolate herself from the community and her mental instability and parental incompetency was endangering her children.

The twins get back to the house to track down the adjoining horse shelter on fire and a torchlit running away from the area. Subsequent to extinguishing the fire, the twins understood that the incendiary had attempted to get to a compartment underneath the outbuilding floor containing a bolted box, inside which they discover letters from somebody teaching Mary-Ann to get an early termination. The twins later experience a memory of Mary-Ann contending with an inconspicuous man on a boat however, Alyson backs away from Tyler following a conflict over their next strategy.

Awards And Nomination Of Tell Me Why

YearAwardCategory Result
2020Best of Gamescom AwardsBest Microsoft Xbox GameWon
2020The Game AwardsGame for ImpactWon
2021NAVGTR Awards

Outstanding Original Light Mix Score, New IP
Nominated
2021NAVGTR AwardsOutstanding Performance in a Drama, LeadNominated
Pégases AwardsBest GameNominated
Beyond the Video GameWon
Best Game SettingNominated
Best Narrative DesignWon
Gayming AwardsGame Of the yearNominated
Reader’s AwardNominated
Authentic Representation Won
Best LGBTQ characterWon
Best LGBTQ narrativeNominated
British Academy Games AwardsGame Beyond EntertainmentNominated
GLAAD Media AwardsOutstanding Video GamesWon
SXSW Gaming AwardsMathew Crump Cultural Innovation AwardNominated

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