I'm going to give you a nice quick warning, this is spoiler heavy, so read on if you want to either find out what the ending is in Life is Strange or have already witnessed it.
So the ending of Life is Strange is, really, both amazing and disappointing for me. Amazing, in the sense that it reflects some of my personal feelings when in love. Disappointing, in the sense that it's binary. One choice or another, that's it. You either get the choice, destroy Arcadia Bay and save Chloe or let Arcadia Bay remain standing and let Chloe die in the beginning.
The choice is appropriate, but stifling. Because there is only two endings, there isn’t much room for your choices to weave an interesting alternate ending. There isn’t an ending in which you can save both Arcadia Bay and Chloe, or through your actions, present alternate sacrifices in the end. Yet, again, it’s really meaningful because it’s probably a choice we often all face: sacrifice everything for love, or let love go to the wayside.
Max has only two choices – to love Chloe and let her live, sacrificing the lives of so many more (I assume there is some fatalities in the mix) or to let her die, saving the town, and letting a normal set of events play out (Nathan arrested, which leads to a chain of all the wrongs righting themselves). One could argue either of the two is the good ending, but I let Chloe live.
Perhaps it’s the massive binge of Korean dramas I’ve been watching, in which love is translated as pretty much magic, or the fact that I know that feeling of wanting to sacrifice everything for someone, and I think as an artistic thought it’s very, very, impressive. I think that is very, very satisfying as a statement. The actual events – however horrible they are, do tie it all up. Max’s power was wrong, it messed up time, and the only way to fix it was to have never used it.
It’s sort of poetic, if that word means as I think it does, no matter what you do or what you choose. That’s the only ending, but at the same time, it sort of… nullifies your choices. Nothing really matters in the end, realistically. You either let events play out as they should have, which means nothing you would have chosen to do mattered, or you let time remain changed, resulting in the destruction of the city and the savior of what, I presume, would be your Max’s love.
On the mechanic side though, it’s a little bit sad that your choices don’t really matter. There isn’t an ending in which the plant comes alive, there isn’t an ending where something different happens based on your choices. Those choices only reflect those realities, as such, your choices throughout the entire game only have a mild impact on various personal interactions in the later chapters, many of which you could literally skip (for instance, in the final section, you cannot finish Joyce’s line with David, not changing her mind) and many of which exist no matter what you do.
I’m happy right now, I just finished the game right before a trip, but I will say that I have a lot to discuss about the game, the various paths, and a lot of replay time to see some various outcomes. Until then, I’ll be off to EVE Vegas. See you guys around!
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