Tonight's not the night for me to be writing about this game. I've got a headache, I'm fretting over finances and plans for the future, and I've had to drag myself away from multiple distractions just to finish writing this very sentence. There are a hundred things bearing down on me and threatening the delicate balance I've got going in my life.
Life is Strange is a game that had me hooked from the first trailer. Everything about it grabbed me, from the art style to the music to the plot and setting- I get notoriously weak in the knees for modern fantasy and modern sci-fi. Which this is, I'm still not certain.
I've got a checkered history with games that claim to take my actions into account when they form the story. Some I enjoy, and some I don't, but I've resigned myself to the fact that very few will ever really leave me in control until the curtain closes. I still wasn't quite ready for this one.
In the final episode, the game took a hardline stance towards my meddling in the timeline; I'd orchestrated things (somewhat) expertly, I thought, avoiding antagonizing Nathan and Victoria, arousing people's suspicions about Jefferson, saving Kate and settings things up for what I thought would be a relatively cheerful ending. Instead, time was upset about my attempt at a fine-tuned history and told me in no uncertain terms that my storybook ending wasn't happening.
A nearly apocalyptic storm tearing through a (mostly) innocent town seemed, at the time, like a somewhat harsh means of influencing my decision. Clearly the right choice was the selfless sacrifice of Max's best friend, to restore the timeline to proper order... only, I realized, I just didn't feel right to have Max turn back the clock and allow Chloe to die. It felt less right the more that Chloe advocated for it, in fact. Each time she said that the people in the town deserved their lives more than she did, that this would be the one good thing that she did with her life, the more I came to understand that more than anything else I didn't want this girl's self destructive tendencies to get the better of her, consequences be damned.
It was an impulsive decision. In retrospect I don't think it could have played out any differently, because in the heat of the moment I was downright angry- at the concept of destiny itself, for forcing the choice and being so clearly biased in favor of Chloe's death that even she understood what had to happen. I accepted the consequences for Chloe's continued survival, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel uneasy watching Arcadia Bay picked apart- but I didn't regret my choice.
It was a very personal experience for me, and one that I couldn't have had without the game ending exactly the way it did. It wasn't my perfect ending, and all of my plans went to shit, but I didn't lose everything, and I came away satisfied and, I think, better for the hardship. When I think of it that way, maybe tonight's not such a bad night to be writing about this game after all.