I got protective over fictional characters.
The last time I felt as genuinely, angrily protective over a character as I did over Kate in Life is Strange
was probably Mayu in Elfen Lied
, and that was a lot easier because I had no say in what happened to her. I'm not a protective person by nature but there's something about genuinely nice, innocent people (which is probably why it's such a rare feeling since there aren't many of those in the first place) being subjected to really horrible sh*t that is in no way their fault that gives me this rare, weird feeling. I got so
protective of Kate that my heart virtually stopped when I saw her on the roof, then when I couldn't seem to use my power I felt despondent because I was sure she was going to die, but when I got to the roof and started talking her down I felt good. Yes, I can do this, I'm sure I've helped her in every way I possibly could.
And then came the bloody bible passage question.
I genuinely put my head in my hands on my desk. It all came down to this. I hadn't paid attention. I thought I cared about Kate, but I hadn't cared enough to remember what was important to her.
Touché game, you've perfectly emulated the feeling of being a sh*tty, fake, superficial friend. I sat there considering the decision for what must have been a good minute. I had just witnessed my powers acting up. I didn't know if I'd be able to take another shot at this...
And I still don't, because I got it right on the first guess and felt like one jammy mofo. But from that moment on, I paid better attention to absolutely everything
. And the pay-off when I visited Kate in the hospital made even the small piece of coke that remains of my heart glow a little. But this was balanced out by making me feel like a really
horrible human being in the very late game, when I was sent right back to the start and given the opportunity to stop Kate being bullied into her suicide attempt at all. And I didn't really want to do it, because if none of it ever happened it would mean losing that lovely friendship we'd built over the whole situation. Which ultimately boils down to me wanting Kate to suffer so I could be there to help her more
than I wanted her not to suffer at all. Later, alternate universe Max even confronts you over the idea you were only doing what you did to make yourself popular - It was by no means specific to that one situation at all, but it still made me feel terribly ashamed.
I questioned and violated my own moral code.
Early on, I realised there were basically two kinds of moral decisions - whether to prevent harm people do to one another, and whether to prevent harm people cause themselves. I decided that in-keeping with my real world beliefs, I would only prevent the former
. But then people started doing things that I knew
would have a negative impact on their own and other people's lives. I started to reason for them and alter their actions. You don't really want to do that you idiot, you're not considering the consequences.
It still feels slightly wrong. But at the same time, I made them happier than they otherwise would have been. That definitely merits some philosophical soul searching.
Disliking video surveillance and authority in general, I signed the petition against CCTV and almost immediately made David the security guard my natural enemy and cut him no slack whatsoever, the puffed-up prick. I didn't particularly care if he was actually responsible for any of the dodginess we were investigating, I just wanted to take him down a peg. For doing this, the game made me feel progressively worse and worse. He was screwed up and had a chip on his shoulder yes, but life
had screwed him up. He, like me, was only trying to protect the people he cared about in a way that made sense to him. I didn't really know
David as a person, I didn't get it, and by the time I did it was too late and I'd already ruined his life. Yet he still came back to help me in the end. I didn't deserve David, and preventing him from killing Jefferson to make sure he wouldn't go to prison was pretty much all I could offer him in the end. Don't be so ready to judge people you don't know, point well taken, game.
I made a final decision I would not have anticipated making at all.
I am not a utilitarian. I am exactly
the kind of person who would sacrifice an entire town full of people for someone I really cared about. I'd probably do the killing myself. And yet... in the end I chose to sacrifice Chloe (a decision I note I share with exactly none
of the four of my Steam friends who have played the game). I didn't do it because I wanted to (I didn't), I did it because it was what she
wanted and the characters in this bloody game affected me that much. If you love somebody, let them go, as the saying goes - Chloe was willing to sacrifice herself to save the people she loved, and I wasn't going to be so selfish as to argue against her.
While I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have let Chloe die if she hadn't
been okay with it, I would still have found it hard to say goodbye to the residents of Arcadia Bay. Which, sadly, is something I had to do anyway upon finishing the game. They were some of the best realised characters I have ever encountered in a game - All so bloody human, all shades of grey. Serious time and thought went into this game, not just creating a unique gameplay experience and excellent characters but a totally unique atmosphere (I haven't even mentioned the music, which is perfect. I didn't really know many of the artists, although I had to laugh when I heard Jose Gonzales - The album that track is taken from was one of two CDs in my former workplace that I could actually stand, so I've heard that particular song a few more times than I'd care to. It's still a nice tune). I don't think I've ever felt so simultaneously mellow and on edge, and it's set in the Pacific Northwest, which is pretty much my favourite place on Earth anyway. This game has made me both contentedly happy and intensely sad. To only turn back time and be
eighteen again like Max and her friends, but to know that's an impossible fantasy, that's the real feeling I'm left with.
That's not to say certain niggles don't remain - I feel like there should probably have been more situations where you couldn't
rewind time, where your decisions in the moment should have stuck permanently. Or perhaps it could have been limited to a certain amount of rewinding in each scene/chapter, but I get that wouldn't have worked with the game as-is (I would have been very, very dead in the Dark Room for how many attempts it took me to get out of there, the number of times poor David bought it before I noticed you could tell him to pick up the camera...). It would have been nice to have a final scene where I could have talked to all the characters and ascertained which bloody timeline I had actually ended up in, what had actually happened in it and what hadn't, and get some closure for everyone else (the fact that didn't happen was made more disappointing because I thought for sure it was being set up with the cutscene for Chloe's funeral). The final episode felt a little disjointed and like the things I did mattered a lot less. But overall, these criticisms are nothing. I loved this game to pieces, it was worth ageing in the cellar for a few years to break out just when I needed something damn fine.