The anticipation of Life is Strange 2 and the great opening setup that was The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit got me thinking. Mostly about how I wish Dontnod will tie in the two different series, but that’s probably not going to happen. So all I have left is to reminisce about the original five episodes to the franchise and why I made the decisions I did. Especially after the prequel, Before the Storm, episodes. Now I know a lot of our readers are some of the smartest out there and the title of this article would be sufficient to inform anyone, buuuuuut obvious spoilers are obvious.
So in typical fashion for most choice based games nowadays there was only one major decision that mattered in Life is Strange season one. Naturally, this took place at the end of our adventure and required our heroine Max to make a choice. Would she travel back in time once again to the start of the series, thereby negating her powers (somehow) creating a hurricane that destroys her hometown, most likely kill everyone in it, and mean the death of fan favorite Chloe, or let that hurricane run wild on some poor sons of bitches. Now you can argue among yourselves what is the “right” choice, but I’m a self-proclaimed altruist and know what “should” be done.
I would let Chloe die back at the beginning of the journey and prevent the hurricane from ravaging Arcadia Bay. But I didn’t. I chose to save our blue-haired friend. Why you ask? Because I felt bad that Chloe’s life was a constant beratement of sadness since her father died? Because her mother’s new boyfriend is a grade-A dick? Or maybe because her (at the time) unknown relationship with this Rachel Amber took a toll on her psyche? Or just all of them wrapped into one? Nope! I did it because Dontnod thought they were pulling the rug out from under my feet and hoping a loud “oomph right in the feels” would expel from my lungs. Instead I was annoyed. Annoyed that these time travelling powers, that Max never asked for and were magically bestowed upon her, would somehow affect the nature, weather, and the very frickin’ seas around her for the worse.
Literally. We were expected to just believe that using time travel powers caused a hurricane to spawn. This wasn’t expanded, explained, or really reasoned with in any capacity by the storytellers. All of it felt like a dropped ball in order to create a difficult choice with a sad consequence regardless. It would have made more sense had this situation played out like The Butterfly Effect or Donnie Darko. Traveling to change or save someone would cause personalities to shift and become something completely different to the characters we know. This eventually escalates and causes some dire scene with more logic behind it (although logic with time travel is relative) and then Max’s choice must be made. Instead we get inexplicable time travel powers equals hurricane!
And look I get it if you chose to save Chloe, sans stubbornness. I’m not judging even if saving her caused an entire city to be wiped off the map. The character had a crappy life ever since her amazing and kind father passed away in a car accident. (Plus, trying to save the father from said fate would only get Chloe permanently handicapped and bedridden practically begging to be killed). Her best friend, Max, moved away shortly after and was left alone to wallow in this extremely traumatic event. Then surviving and overcoming this pain to only get a “stepfather” who was extremely controlling and borderline verbally abusive. In the middle of this she meets an amazing friend/lover in Rachel Amber who goes through her own traumatic family situation. Unfortunately, Rachel also bites the bullet thanks to a perv teacher’s and student’s tranquilizer. Then as far as Chloe is aware Rachel’s gone missing and Max has shown back up in town! Which proceeds to Chloe potentially dying numerous times.
The character didn’t have a fair shake at things and you wanted her to. I get it. Believe me I do. We all know too well that life isn’t fair and in this fictional circumstance we could make it for one who’s experienced so much pain. Life is Strange is certainly something special if it can reach that level of emotional maturity and decision-making in us. Yet, that still doesn’t make up for “having time travel powers=hurricane!” Here’s hoping that Life is Strange 2’s Chris has a better shake at things with his abusive dad and telekinetic powers. Just please don’t go the Chronicle route!