Life is Strange Spoiler Section

Discussion in 'General Gaming' started by Stephen Bitto, Feb 17, 2016.

  1. Stephen Bitto

    Stephen Bitto Administrator Staff Member

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    Just finished the game and noticed a few of you have as well!

    What did everyone think of the game as a whole? The ending? Time travel rules?

    Let your thoughts be known!
     
  2. Swordsman

    Swordsman PSLS Level: Bronze

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    time travel got heavy consequences..

    prefer the longer ending which is more poignant.

    I thought Max going to died in the end, her nose was bleeding due to using the rewind power too much.. It strain her body.
     
  3. Chalryn

    Chalryn PSLS Level: Bronze

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    Max's "rewind" is a bit odd. In some ways, namely the larger leaps back through time, it seems comparable to Rintarou's "Reading Steiner" in Steins;Gate -- Max's current conscience removes itself from her current body and timeline and then implants itself into her past self, thus overriding her past conscience, and divides the timeline, creating a new "branch," so to speak, from that point onward. However, in the most commonly exhibited form of her power, her entire body seems to be moved through space-time, allowing a sort of "teleportation," like seen in solving the principal's office door "puzzle." This is just one glaring inconsistency in her power, and one that remains just as much a mystery as pretty much everything else about her power.

    Another thing about her power that bugged me, particularly in relation to her long-"distance" time leaps, was how her conscience would jump back through time to bring about whatever change, but then it would seem to... revert to its previous (pre-"override") state until that timeline caught up to the time from which she initially backtracked? This was most noticeable after preventing William's death, where you saw Max suddenly "pop" back into her alternate timeline body, hanging out with the Vortex Club. Clearly, Max herself was affected by the change she made in history, but once her original timeline's conscience (re-)emerged within her, she had no idea what was going on -- she was suddenly herself from another timeline. (What happened to the conscience that resided within her up until that moment? Shit gets potentially dark there, heh. ...Actually, that subject may or may not have been touched upon during Max's "dream" toward the end of the game... That whole scene was never really explained.) Wouldn't you expect her to just continue existing as she was from the moment she "took over" her past self's body? Obviously, this meant several years of story, so maybe it was just a lazy excuse to skip through time rather than developing a whole new story arc based on this alternate timeline. The same thing happened later, though, when Max escaped the Dark Room and stopped Chloe from entering the dance at the school. She even knew it would happen, and told Chloe that when she re-emerged later, she would have no recollection of what happened between those two points. Unless they just decided to reuse the excuse as an actual plot device, then this would suggest one of two things about Max's power: a.) Her power isn't limited to "rewinding," but also contains the ability to "fast-forward" in some form or other, and she just hasn't yet tapped into that ability intentionally. b.) Max's original conscience is tied down to a certain point in time while she performs... seemingly, only these larger "focus" time leaps, and only temporarily (time limit?) resides in her past self before removing itself and planting itself back into her "current" body, albeit in an alternate timeline. Either of these theories comes with rather significant ramifications, making the absence of a canonical explanation that much more frustrating.

    Speaking of those focus leaps, again mostly referring to the one to save William, how exactly can one explain Max maintaining her rewind power after traveling back to a time before she had awakened her power? Several years before, at that. Does her power simply exist within her conscience? (Or maybe "soul," if you wanna open up that can of worms, haha. Spiritualism and science fiction don't typically overlap beyond symbolism.) It travels with her to whatever point in time she lands in? You'd normally expect either she'd have to wait until her power awoke within her again before she could use it again, or that her power would have a limitation to the timespan after the activation of her power. ...Actually, come to think of it, this first shows itself when she initially gains her power, in the school bathroom, and then in Jefferson's class before that point in time. EXPLANATION, PLZ.

    Allowing Chloe to die is pretty clearly the right thing to do, and when you're familiar with time travel stories, you could pretty much see it coming from the very start of the game. As such, it seems to be the "canonical" ending. I was pretty disappointed with the alternate option, though. Considering you choose to sacrifice an entire town, along with everyone you care about in it (except Chloe, of course), you don't even get to see anything resembling a happy ending for the two of them. Just drive through the mess you caused and try to leave it behind. Roll credits. Was this, perhaps, the developers' way of telling you that you made the "wrong" choice? After all, technically, the ramifications of keeping Chloe alive most likely wouldn't end after just that one storm, and it likely wouldn't stop at just Arcadia Bay alone. The fact that only Arcadia Bay was affected in the first place was kind of odd. Whether via nature or a higher power, the only explanation I can think of for that is that Arcadia Bay was the source of the "disturbance," so it was just trying to correct the natural order by targeting that area. All the more reason it should technically follow them out of town, though... But either way, there just wasn't any follow-up at all, so it felt like a half-assed ending, since you didn't really get to see the consequences of your actions beyond the immediate destruction of the town. Or maybe the developers just wanted to leave it open to interpretation. Who knows.

    Yeah, I was surprised that that never really became a significant part of the plot. Well, aside from Max's power's temporary shutdown while trying to save Kate. (But who needs rewind when you have 'Restart from previous checkpoint'? Lolz. Nice try, guys.) Her nosebleeds became more and more frequent, and more severe, and as Max made multiple jumps in close proximity later on, it seemed like reality (or at least her perception of it) started to become distorted around her. (See: dark red spots in the Dark Room, glowy fuzziness all over Max's dorm room, warped background outside of the school...) And then that dream? (Seriously, what the hell was up with that? Once again: EXPLANATION, PLZ.) I would have expected at least an alternate ending in which Max dies or is somehow erased from existence due to overusing her power, but nothing ever came of it, sadly, and that kind of undermines the significance of it that was constantly suggested throughout the game.



    Time travel is always a bitch, for both the author of a story and a character in a story. Being entirely hypothetical, there are bound to be plot holes and such, so I try not to be too critical of how time travel is handled within a story. Max's rewind seemed to mostly parallel Reading Steiner from Steins;Gate, as I mentioned before, which was a pretty acceptable form of time travel, so I was mostly content with how it was handled in this game. It just would have been nice to have had a few of those loose ends tied up.

    Time travel gripes aside, I enjoyed the game greatly. It's an excellent example of how to use gameplay to immerse your audience in the story you're telling, compared to simply showing you the story as, for example, a film. While a lot of choices in the game ultimately didn't mean anything, you could really feel the weight of many of the more important choices, simply because you were the one making them, and that truly pulls you into the story as more than just an observer.
     
  4. Stephen Bitto

    Stephen Bitto Administrator Staff Member

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    I found myself quite disappointed with the ending. I understand why it had to happen but it was too predictable. With all the major environmental impacts going on, I was expecting some kind of outside involvement. Like someone else who had the rewind ability showing up. While that may have overcomplicated the story, another major twist would have been interesting. Would have also allowed for a bigger ending with questions instead of the simple bow on top ending Dontnod ultimately went with.

    Also, what was up with the dream sequence at the end? I never fully understood it. Were they simply alternate realities? If so, how were they relevant?
     
  5. Chalryn

    Chalryn PSLS Level: Bronze

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    See, this is one of those problems with most time travel stories. As I said above, it's a bit of a pattern, so it's usually pretty clear from the start how things will end. (More or less.) Steins;Gate had a similar problem, although I'll refrain from spoiling anything specific there (I highly recommend checking it out if you haven't already, whether via visual novel or anime). After the big build-up at the end of the second-to-last episode of the anime, the finale felt somewhat lackluster, since you were going into it with at least an idea of how things were going to go. Thanks to the butterfly effect, time travel stories can be difficult to wrap up in any way other than a reversion of some sort, so they're constantly plagued by predictability in the end. It's what leads up to that point that's interesting, since it's all about the hypothetical possibilities of time travel. Without that, time travel usually just comes off as some sort of cheap plot device to explain b.s. goings-on in a story otherwise unrelated to time travel. (Though I'm not saying there are no stories out there with a good balance between two extremes. Just not many that I've experienced myself.)

    This is indeed a big question for the game. As far as I could tell, it was simply that -- a dream. The weight of everything going on in that one week, plus alternate timeline activities, was taking its toll on Max, and that dream was a representation of her chaotic state of mind. Guilt, fear, paranoia... It's pretty much all represented there.

    Alternately, it could have been her brain trying to play catch-up with everything that had occurred up to that point, particularly compensating for alternate timeline experiences. (Dreams are, after all, often referred to as the brain's means of organizing information.) Ever seen The Butterfly Effect? That movie played with the idea that jumping through time was hazardous to one's health, because the brain can only hold so much information, and cramming it full of information from several lives in alternate timelines could result in... well, in this case, they just went with a tumor. Scientific explanations aside, the idea was there that cramming a single brain with information from multiple lives was not good. Life Is Strange may have dabbled in this concept as well, giving Max headaches and nosebleeds from overusing her power, much like the protagonist of The Butterfly Effect, albeit without leading up to any real consequence.

    My only idea otherwise is basically an equivalent to Final Fantasy VIII's "time kompression" (KURSED SEED) -- an amalgam of bits and pieces from several different timelines mashed into a single space-time, physics and logic be damned. However, given the content of the dream (being told she should have made choices differently, Warren being more like an aggressive stalker, the general threat of Jefferson, the day of William's death, etc.), I think it's probably safer to say it really was just a dream, in some form or other.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2016

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