Father and Son Bonding

One of my favorite games on the planet is Devil May Cry 4, barely coming under Devil May Cry 3. Not only was it one of the hardest games I ever played (I cried after 23rd attempt and beating the final boss), but there were several elements of the story I loved. Yes, there was the wonderful, cliche plot about the hero, Nero, saving his girlfriend from the forces of evil. Despite that element of the story, another aspect stood out to me. The relationship between Nero and the franchises main character, Dante, overshadowed Nero’s steadfast will to save his girlfriend. However, it wasn’t just the interaction of Nero and Dante, but also Nero’s ties to Dante’s whole family. One scene really does an excellent job of visually connecting Nero and Dante without them interacting takes place shortly after the first fourth of the game.

Here’s the full scene. You can skip about 2:32 to 3:44 since it’s just dialogue, and there isn’t anything that really tells story outside of the dialogue exchanged between Nero and Agnus.

Okay, let’s begin with the beginning (not an illogical way to start). Nero enters a spooky. laboratory space. The area bulky swords posted on the walls, a giant glass panel that appears to be an observation deck, and just beyond that glass floats a broken katana.

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This is Yamato, Dante’s dead, twin brother’s sword..
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Here’s a decent shot of the lab area. It’s dark, and obviously used for evil intentions.

The important element so far is the broken Katana in the glowing blue light. The player, if they’ve played the other games, knows that Vergil, Dante’s ambitious twin, had two defining features that separated him from his brother. Firstly, Vergil fought a katana, and his favorite color to clad himself in was blue. Instantly, from just the visual, we know that the katana is Yamato, Vergil’s weapon of choice. In break in Yamato, and the fact that it’s not in Vergil’s possession, implies Vergil’s grim fate, whether they’ve played the prior games or not. It’s obvious nothing good happened to the previous owner of this katana (which nothing did. SPOILERS. Vergil went to hell, then died, and then was controlled by an evil demon until he fought Dante, and was finally put to rest). It’s made apparent that the sword has demonic origins when Nero looks down at his demonic arm and clenches his fist, hinting at a connection between the two.

Right after, a hunched over guy with nasty hair enters the frame. Nero now encounters this Igor/Dwayne Johnson hybrid with a monocle and a heavy lisp:

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Agnus who looks like Agnus without the g. 

This supernatural scientist fellow sort of welcomes Nero to his lab, Nero says some distasteful comments about Agnus’ lab, and my favorite bit of dialogue to ever be uttered commences. (“Don’t you think that’s a little harsh? Killing me because of the way I t-t-t-talk?”) Anyway, the scene continues and there’s one more notable moment before the fight. Nero asks Agnus “What’s going on here,” and Agnus replies with “I don’t have to tell you.” As Agnus responds, the camera pans to Yamato. We’ve learned so far that Agnus has been doing something sciencey down here, and from the camera pan, we get definitive proof that Yamato is involved. Then there is a fight scene, which the video edited out, but Nero breaks the glass to face Agnus.

At 3:44, Agnus catches Nero off guard and an enemy charges Nero, stabs him in the chest, and pins him to a wall. There’s a shot of Nero, pinned to the wall, which mirrors an early scene where Dante is stabbed through his chest, and pinned to a statue (which is a reoccurring scene through the games…)

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DMC1 Dante is stabbed by a magic sword. 

However are the images side by side of the two being stabbed in Devil May Cry 4.

This allusion with Nero foreshadows his familial relationship with Dante. It’s never explicitly stated in the game that Nero is somehow related to Dante, but this scene has a moment that practically confirms his parentage (to anyone who has played the original game). Not only does Nero cause the re-formation of Yamato, but the sword flies to his demonic hand. Now wielding the demonic katana, Nero’s form is joined by a blue spirit that oddly resembles Vergil’s Nelo Angelo form from the first game in the franchise.

Here are two excellent shots that shows Nero with Yamato and the blue spirit.

There are a few, minor changes, but the two demonic entities are eerily reminiscent of the other. Firstly, the player knows from these visuals that this is Vergil’s katana. It’s now been a hundred percent confirmed. Secondly, the player can infer from the parallels with Dante and the ability to reforge and wield Yamato, that Nero’s mysterious lineage is most probably tied to the twin demon brothers.

This scene is honestly one of my favorites in any game because of the visual references to Vergil (one of my favorite videogame characters of all time). While it’s never actually stated in game who Nero’s father is, it is confirmed that Nero is Vergil’s son in paratext. Hopefully, they’ll explore his lineage further in the fifth game since this game set it up perfectly.

 

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Turning My Emotions Off to Play TheWalking Dead

My first attempt playing The Walking Dead consisted of me cowering behind my controller with my seventeen year old brother urging me to take the handcuff keys from the dead cop. It took around two minutes of mentally prepping for the surprise that I knew was coming. Finally, I had Lee, the hero, reach down and grab the keys. I was expecting the jump there, so when it didn’t happen, my anxiety shot through the roof. To make matters worse, Lee dropped the keys right in front of the face dead cops face. I screamed, wanting to drop the controlled and never play the game again. However, my grade depended on it, so I pushed forward. I made Lee grab the keys. With no trouble, he removed the handcuffs. As the cuff fell from his wrists, the dead cop let out a low mumble. My dread reached its peak. With unnatural speed, the dead cop, now an undead cannibal, lashed out, knocking Lee to the ground. By some miracle, I managed to kill the zombie and save Lee. No doubt the encouraging, but also belittling, comments from my brother were the solace that kept me from an untimely death.

Then entire game had me on edge. I over analyze like no one else, and that added to real time events spells disaster. However, it’s now been proven that a stressed Jerah makes better choices. Yet, there were several choices throughout the game that I really struggled with. There were three choices, all involving children, that proved difficult for me to make.

HEAVY SPOILERS AHEAD

The first choice that hit me hard was whether to shoot Duck myself (as Lee), let Katjaa do it, or let Kenny do it. Duck became a victim of the world around him, a world he had no control over. During an escape from bandits, a zombie bit the kid. Growing up, I had two brothers, an older brother and a younger brother. Duck reminded me of my younger brother, the same one who had been aiding me during the game. So Duck being bit already stung, but the choice to have one of his parents or Lee kill him struck even harder. Both times I played, I wanted to make Kenny, not Katjaa, kill Duck, but I couldn’t bring myself to make a father shoot his own child, so I had Lee did it. I loved and hated this choice because it really captured the horrors of the world the characters inhabited.

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The choice I didn’t make.

Another choice I struggled with ties into Duck’s death. The boy who starved to death in the attic nearly brought me to tears. My stomach sank as Lee climbed into the attack and saw a hunched over Kenny. Soft growls and hisses echoed in the background. Then Kenny said “He kinda looks like Duck, don’t he?” Kenny’s development at this point broke my heart. He lost his family, and now he’s being reminded of his loss. The entire part after the death of his family consisted of Kenny moping around and yelling at Lee to leave him alone. Then the attic boy scene came, and I felt so hard for Kenny. My first play through, I let Kenny kill the zombified child. It hurt, but I felt that Kenny needed some sort of appeasement from not putting his son out of his misery. The second time, I had Lee killed the child. In the end, I preferred my choice to have Kenny kill the child after he didn’t kill Duck. Lee doing both the killings, for me, lead to me believe that Kenny didn’t get the closure he deserved.

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The attic zombie boy.
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Kenny in the attic. 

The final choice that I found difficult was whether or not to have Clementine shoot or leave a bitten Lee to turn. On one hand, I didn’t want Lee to turn, but on the other, I didn’t want Clementine to shoot her surrogate father. Also, shooting him would give her a weird sense of closure. Lee would be undoubtedly dead, and Clementine would have that affirmation. I knew what I had to do, but I didn’t want to. If I hadn’t been playing the game in front of three of my four siblings, the Niagara Falls would’ve been coming from my eyes. With my final choice in the game, I asked Clementine to shoot Lee.

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Did I hold back tears while googling this image? Maybe.

Other choices such as leaving Laura or taking Clementine with me to Crawford weren’t hard choice to make. Overall, I loved this game. The choices were dynamic in their ranges of difficulty. I’ve played it twice, and I’ll play it again because it’s never the same experience.

Deemo’s Art Makes Me Cry

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Deemo, Alice, and the Masked Lady

In tenth grade, a close friend of mine introduced me to an app about a little girl named Alice who falls from a window into the dwellings of a strange, friendly black spirit and their journey to return her home. However, this goal requires the titular Deemo, the black creature, to play song after song on a piano so that a tree will sprout from the ground, and grow higher and higher so that the Alice can climb through the window she fell from, the only exit. Alice and Deemo are joined by a masked individual with unknown intentions in this whimsical containment. By the end of the game, the player discovers that Alice was in a coma and Deemo was her pianist brother’s spirit, Hans, who had perished by pushing Alice out of the way of a speeding car. In the end, Deemo plays a final song for Alice as she ascends the final leg of her journey, and as she climbs Deemo reveals himself as her brother’s spirit. The masked figure takes off her mask, and she looks identical to Alice. Through post-ending gameplay, the player learns that the masked figures name is Celia, an anagram of Alice, and she represents the ignorant and selfish part of Alice, the part of her that wishes to stay in the dream world with Deemo.

So, the game is played similarly to Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Notes come from the top of the screen and when they reach a point near the bottom, the player must click them. They player is scored by how many notes they hit and how accurate they are. Here’s a video with the intro to the game, the menues, and the gameplay.

Moving on to the art in the game, the story alone has a bittersweet tone, and the art and music significantly enhance the experience. Not only are the visuals and music beautiful, they provide large portions of story. The soft blues, grays, and greens gives the setting ethereal and otherworldly vibes. In dreams, trees represent themes of hope, desire, and life; all are main themes in Deemo. Deemo excellently ties in the colors and visuals to give the narrative deeper meaning.

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The gameplay video showed you how the song selection works, and showed the unique artwork accompanied with each song. As the player unlocks songs, the art unlocked with it reveals more and more about the story. One song, Pulse, shows Alice hooked up to hospital machines, and Deemo is directly connected to her and her life. This alludes to Alice comatose state and Deemo’s involvement in her recovery.

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Pulse

Other songs such as Snowflakes, Delivery, Encumbrance, Expansion, Mellow, Overlong, Re: the Full moon World, Morning Drops drop small images of Hans, or Deemo appearing as Hans. The final song of the main story, Fluquor, initially shows Deemo comforting Alice, but changes to Hans on the results screen after completing the song with the full combo achievement.

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To match Deemo’s identity being hidden throughout art in the game, so is Celia’s. The songs like Moon Halo, Anima, Final Rush, Earlier Than Today, Say Hi, For Sis, and Earlier Than Today all do this.

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The game has minimal dialogue used to tell the narrative, so story is told through in-game cutscenes. Here’s a video with all the in-game cutscenes.

The simplistic, manga art style manages to tell the story of Alice, Deemo, and Celia masterfully. I know I cry every time I play the game. Deemo would lack it’s bittersweet charm with a more realistic style, or become jarring if it mirrored other popular app styles. Overall, I rate the game’s art choices as a 9/10. I give it a 9 only because there are a few DLC’s that come off as too harsh for the themes of the game.

The Intros of Fire Emblem Fates

I convinced myself that I’d wait before writing a blog post on Fire Emblem, but the recent release of the app (which I promptly downloaded two minutes after launch) sent me on a downward spiral back into my unhealthy obsession with the Fire Emblem franchise. This post will focus on the two introduction cut scenes from Fire Emblem Fates. The day the main title intro was released, I watched it about twelve times. I might have cried from sheer thrill. However, I believe it does an excellent job conveying enough about the story to engage the player without giving away keep plot points.

Also, here’s the intro for what’s considered the “true” path titled Revelations that the player can take:

It begins with two warring sides. There’s a scary golem creature and lots of fighting.  It’s revealed to be a portrait with two swordsmen in the center, and the camera quickly pulls away and shows a woman with long blue hair dancing. Her identity is unknown, but the camera follows her as she dances to a haunting melody. The camera goes into her yellow eyes and shows five individuals. Their attire matches the style from one of the warring sides from the portrait. There’s a woman in the center of a circle and four younger individuals standing on the outside. It gives each character a moment to signify their importance. Then it switches to show five other characters, highlighting them in a similar fashion. In the center of their circle sits a creepy old dude who definitely appears to be evil, or at least moderately not good. The first minute and twenty-two seconds already has given the player the following information:

  1. This feud between the two countries isn’t a new thing.
  2. There are at least eleven major players (five on one side, five on the other, blue hair chick.)
  3. There’s a scary rock monster out there.
  4. Knowledge on potential villains (which the player would probably assume to be the five individuals who were with the evil looking king.)

The next thirty seconds show a mystical world with floating islands. Next is the reveal of an eerie face that could be a giant mask or carved into a cave wall. It’s mouth crumbles, and from the ominous surroundings it’s a safe assumption that it could be evil. Then we flash to the blue-haired dancer from before. There’s a giant Pokemon-esc creature above her with its hand around her throat. It fades and shows a faint, white silhouette of an unrecognizable character. Then we get a showdown. Two men stand with their swords drawn. Each from a different group from the original ten people shown. They begin clashing swords, and between swings the camera flashes to the dancer girl as she dances frantically. It ends with a last shot of the girl. Her necklace breaks and the ornate piece on it flings into the distance. Cue title screen.

Technically, there is player control before the next scene, but it’s only character customization, so not any really “gameplay.” However, the next scene give the player vital information about two of the characters and their respective countries. Before anything, it shows the dancer girl singing and walking into a lake. She glides through the water as if she’s flying, and there are floating buildings similar to the ones shown in the previous opening. It flashes to a battle field. The player learns about Prince Xander of Nohr and Prince Ryoma of Hoshido. Ryoma challenges Xander to a dual. Just before their swords clash, the game shifts to the control of the character the player just designed. That’s where the game officially starts with player interaction.

The intro videos time out to only be around four minutes but introduces the player to the main conflict and main characters. After playing the game, there’s a whole other world that the blue-haired girl (Azura is her name) hails from. It’s a huge aspect to the game, and it’s shown enough to linger in the players mind so that when it’s revealed it’s provides a moment of “OH YEAH!” I remember when I played and we traveled to the other world I thought “I remember seeing this in the intro! Rad.” There’s a lot of information given in the intros, but it’s all subtle enough to not send the player into a daze.

Monomyth Archetypes in Devil May Cry 3

Archetypes within the monomyth Feat. Devil May Cry 3

 

Devil May Cry 3 holds the title as one of my favorite hack and slash games. The hero, Dante, and his twin brother, Vergil, hold a very near and dear spot in my heart. Their rivalry reminds me of my younger brother and me (just not as extreme and neither of us have demonic powers… at least I don’t). Anyway, Devil May Cry 3 (from here on out will be referred to as DMC3) presents a cast of characters that can be applied to Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth archetypes. There are 7 archetypes: hero, herald, mentor, threshold guardians/henchman, trickster, shapeshifter, villain/shadow. However, the DMC3 characters aren’t just limited to one of the archetypes. I’m going to analyze each character and sort them into the archetypes from the Monomyth they’d exist in.

Here’s a quick summary of each:

  1. Hero
    1. Protagonist (doesn’t have to be “heroic”)
  2. Herald
    1. Introduces the hero to the main conflict
  3. Mentor
    1. Teacher/advisor to the hero
  4. Threshold Guardian/Henchman
    1. Tests the hero; usually works for the villain
  5. Trickster
    1. Comic relief; wins the audience over
  6. Shapeshifter
    1. Motives are unknown; an enigma
  7. Villain/Shadow
    1. Endgame boss; antagonist

Of course, the very first character to discuss Dante. He’s the hero. Dante doesn’t seem to have many “heroic” qualities. He comes off as snarky teenager who eats ungodly amounts of pizza, and he also happens to fight demons. However, underneath his absurd I-like-to-ride-missiles-like-skateboards demeanor exists his value for human life. He creates a business for that purpose (he just fights the hard fight of kicking demon butt.) So, Dante is a hero with true “heroic” qualities, but he also classifies in the trickster archetype. This kid cracks jokes throughout the entire game, even when it seems a bit inappropriate. Basically, he ranks high in the game of puns. Its his trickster tendencies which make him such a likeable hero. Dante is a punk who loves pizza and his guns, but also fights demons to protect humanity.

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This turd is Dante.

Dante’s closest ally in DMC3 starts out as an enemy. She even shoots him in the head. Her name is [redacted]. Just kidding. Her name is Mary, but she refuses to tell Dante her name because it ties her to her past, which she doesn’t like. Dante calls her Lady, and it sticks. So, Lady, despite being the same age as Dante, portrays the mentor role. She gives Dante advice, and even gives him a sick rocket launcher. A mentor gives the hero a gift, and that was Lady’s to Dante. She’s also a bit of a shapeshifter, because her motives aren’t clear until about 3/4ths of the way through the game (which she wants to kill her father, the next guy I’m going to talk about, because he killed her mother.)

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That’s not a skirt. It’s a bunch of ammo rounds. 

Now, before I can get to my favorite character, I must explain the horror that is Arkham (AKA Jester.) Arkham can be described as the bipolar lovechild of the Joker and Dr. Robotnik. Arkham suffers from a condition known as “power hungry.” He even killed his wife (Lady’s mother) to get power. There’s only one character whose condition beats his case, but Arkham has it bad. Arkham represents the herald, threshold guardian/henchman, trickster, and shapeshifter. He’s a man of many faces—literally. He transforms between a freaky jester (codenamed Jester), and a dad who just isn’t very good at, well, being a dad. Anyway, at the beginning of the game, Arkham shows up and says to Dante, “Hey kid, come fight or we will kill you.” Dante retorts with, “Sure.” There he acts as the herald and introduces the main conflict to the hero, Dante. As for the threshold guardian/henchman position, Dante fights Arkham as Jester a couple of times, and Arkham himself is the second to last boss of the game. That’s his most boring archetype. Now, how he is a trickster is obvious considering he’s literally a jester. He and Dante exchange sassy banter all throughout the game, and Jester’s presence diffuses tense buildups from the endless hordes of demonic creatures. Finally, shapeshifter. Arkham doesn’t fall under that archetype, but Jester does. Despite Dante fighting with Jester a few times, Jester will give Dante hints to help with fights and puzzles. Before the player finds out that Arkham and Jester are one in the same, it’s unknown what motivates Jester’s actions. However, Arkham doesn’t achieve rank of villain because the true villain of the game goes to Dante’s twin brother, Vergil.

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Normal Arkham
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Fun Arkham

 

Personally, I adore Vergil. If he didn’t have demonic powers, he’d be the nerd in the back of the computer lab reading CreepyPasta stories. However, he does have demonic powers, and an unhealthy thirst for power. Yeah, he’s the one with the condition worse than Arkham. The final fight pits Vergil versus Dante in an epic showdown. Dante wants to save the world, and Vergil wants to control it. They fight. Of course, Dante wins. However, there are two moments that portray Vergil as a shapeshifter. One is before the final fight when Vergil shows up to aid Dante in his fight against Arkham. Together, they defeat Arkham, but must settle their own differences in a fight. At this point, they’re standing in hell with a portal to the mortal world just behind. Dante urges Vergil to close the portal, but Vergil refuses. They fight. Dante wins. However, only one can escape and Vergil saves Dante by sacrificing himself to fall into hell while Dante escapes. That’s a quick summary of the ending, but the brothers last moments together suggest that Vergil cared more for his brother than his desire for power. He’s still the villain, but he did care for his brother.

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This is Vergil. He’s grumpy and sounds like a whiny 14 year old

Anyway, the game consists of other characters, but those four were the major players. Dante fights several other threshold guardians/henchmen which gives him weapons and upgrades along the way to his final face off with Vergil. It’s interesting to see the different archetype each character is and how it affects the story of DMC3.

 

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

SPOILER WARNING. I’m going straight into this emotion mockery of a game (don’t let that statement detour you. It was really good). The game Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons took my heart and mocked all the emotion I’d ever felt. I’m a wuss when it comes to crying in any media, and I cried like a baby in Brothers. Not only that, but I royally sucked at the controls. Every few minutes I’d think, “Man, I’m really great with these controls.” Then I’d run in circles as both the brothers for a solid ten minutes trying to figure out what was wrong with my controller only to discover that I sucked at the controls. I will admit, I was also taken back by the language at first. I kept increasing the volume because I thought they were speaking a language I could understood until the older brother belted “NAHIEE” in my ear. It’s actually embarrassing how long it took me to figure out that this game didn’t contain actual dialogue.

However, for as much as I struggled, within the first ten minutes, I already felt emotion. The interactions between the younger brother and older brother reminded me of myself and my older brother. Granted we don’t live in a magical world with trolls and spider chicks, but I quickly became invested in their relationship. So of course, the ending really struck a cord with me. I overanalyze and overinvest. I watched the younger brother mourn, just as I would—and did. There’s only been three games that I cried so hard I had to stop playing, and take a few minutes to myself. Brother’s is one of those games. It made me relive the heartbreaking moment I learned my grandmother had died, because it was a moment in real life that I could use to sympathize with the younger brother. Don’t get me wrong, her death was sad, but I loved how much this game managed to draw emotion out of me.

I button spam when I don’t know what to do, so I quickly figured out the new controls when the younger brother had to learn to swim. As the younger brother became the only brother, the controller’s split controls became one. The younger brother had to become stronger and more independent or he wouldn’t be able to save his dad. If he hadn’t learned to swim, he would’ve lost everyone in his family. It’s not a universe impacting challenge, but it reminded me that sometimes we do things on our own. I love the younger brothers growth, even if he seemed a little sociopathic at the end. Of course, I didn’t read it that way. I read him as a kid who needed to be stronger for his father. He once needed his brother, and now his father needs him. The younger brother became like the older brother in that aspect too.

In the end, I cried like a four year old and ran in circles because I’m terrible at game controls. I wished I would’ve taken more time in my playthrough because I rushed it in an attempt to beat it before the class discussion. There were details I missed in my haste, but I still felt I got a full experience from this game. It ended sad, but left me satisfied. I appreciate that in a game.

 

Anyway, deuces!

 

–Jerah

Conflict in Life (is Strange)

Over the break, I found myself intrigued by a game titled Life is Strange while browsing the vast archives of Steam. The art initially pulled me in, but I stayed for the pleasant time I had while playing the demo. My interest in choices-matter games started with a game with only one big, game-changing choice. Fire Emblem Fates gave the player a choice which completely changed what story and game they would play, all with a simple pick-a-side choice. About a year and half passed since then, and I’ve played several other choices-matter games, such as the Dragon Age series.  That’s why I chose to play Life is Strange. I wanted another game where my decisions impacted the end.

Of course, like any reasonable human, I did research on the game first, and I learned about the final decision the main character, Max, is forced to make. Initially, I found this choice heart breaking. Max has to choose between saving her best friend’s life or the life’s of an entire town. The thought of either sacrificing the entire town of, say, Weatherford for a best friend, for many, is a difficult choice. Even I struggled with the concept (my brain dictates many choices I make, not my heart, so logic prevailed when I analyzed the scenario. I decided I’d save the town. Sorry Clare and Madeline.)

So, even with this final conflict spoiled for me, I still felt a desire to play the game. Now, I’m focusing on the conflict within this game (Gotta at least stick the requirements for my class.) So, of course, I’ll talk about all the wonderful types of conflict within Life is Strange: person vs. nature, person vs. person (lots of person v. person), person v. society, and person v. self. There’s so many examples of each of those, but I’ll talk about one instant of each of the conflicts I mentioned above, namely my favorite of each.

To begin, I’ll start with the wonderful person v. nature. Applying that directly with this game is Max (there heroine) v. Time. Max wakes up from a strange vision in the middle of her photography class of a massive tornado headed directly towards the town she lives in, Arcadia Bay. After class, she runs to the bathroom to try to grasp what she saw when a boy runs in. He’s erratic and stressed and clearly unstable. Max hides before she is seen, and a few moments later, another girl enters. She and boy get into a fight. He pulls a gun out, and shoots the other girl in the stomach. Max jumps out, extending her hand, and doing so causes her to turn back time. She is pulled from her time rewind back at the spot she first had her vision. There she realizes she has the power to alter time. She uses her power to save the girl from the bathroom. Eventually, she finds out that girl is her best friend from before Max moved to Seattle. They go on a wonderful adventure of friendship that’s wonderful (not really. Her friend, Chloe, was an unlikeable, emotionally stunted, manipulative, brat who showed only a glimpse of selflessness when Max had to choose between saving Chloe or all of Arcadia Bay.) Anyway, that is all relevant to the person v. nature because Max and Chloe learn that because of Max meddling with time and saving Chloe, Max inadvertently causes natural imbalances which result in a gigantic tornado that will decimate the town of Arcadia Bay. That is Max’s final choice: save Arcadia Bay from the tornado she caused by messing with time, aka nature, or don’t alter time, aka nature, and let Chloe die in the bathroom from the gunshot wound. Which wasn’t a hard choice for me because I was already going to go with the town, but Chloe’s personality and actions only reinforced my decision.

Okay, let’s move on to less grave conflicts in the game like person v. person. Let’s talk about the time that (spoiler) Max’s photography teacher tied her up in the underground photography studio he used for drugging students, kidnapping them, and taking photographs of them in their unconscious states. Not nearly as grave as time travel and the butterfly effect. This was my favorite part of the game. The entire time, Chloe and Max built this animosity to another student who they believed was to blame for this “Dark Room,” but a plot twist is thrown in. It’s revealed that Max’s favorite teacher, Mr. Jefferson, was behind the entire ordeal. It’s dark and twisted. That explains its appeal to me. The last part of the game deals with Max trying to fight off Mr. Jefferson and escape his “Dark Room.” She fails and fails and fails, but eventually manages to escape. There’s more build up to its reveal, but I love the whole concept of beloved idol turned greatest enemy. So, of all the conflicts, this person v. person was my favorite throughout the entire game. That’s why I chose it. See, choices matter.

Next up, person v. society. I also loved this conflict. There was person v. society revolving around Max, but a more interesting dynamic of that is between a character named Kate and the rest of the high school. I resonated with Kate the most of all the characters. A social outcast, kind of depressed (well really depressed), mocked by her peers, a christian, and she even had pet rabbit. In high school, I dealt with all those things too! Kate dealt with mockery far more severe than I ever endured. Kate faced cruelty such as being drugged, and her shameful actions were recorded. Everyone witnessed her at her worst and brutally mocked her for it. She battled with this conflict throughout half of the game. She gets to a point where she decides to commit suicide because of the terrible attacks she had gotten. Which leads into the person v. self.

Kate deals with her depression. It’s an excellent example of person v. self. It’s sort of like the whole Kermit v. Dark Kermit meme. Kate’s would be like:

Me: I shouldn’t be up here.

Me to me: Jump.

Of course, depression is not nearly as simple as that. Every day she dealt with the agony of wanting to go on, but also the desire to die. Her growth through the game (spoiler) if Max manages to save her shows Kate’s fight against herself and her depression. She becomes stronger and more assertive because of her battle. The person v. self is mostly because of the way that person v. society impacts Kate. That’s another part of the game I enjoyed.

The conflicts worked together, weaving a story that leaves the player praying they made the best choices. The scene where Max pleads with Kate to not jump felt real to me. I could feel Kate’s despair and Max’s fear of failure. I also wanted Max to escape Mr. Jefferson. Facing the failure of death of Max, Kate, or any other character terrified me. However, I didn’t feel that way about Chloe, which made the person v. nature conflict in the game the least impacting. It was obviously designed to be the focal, and hardest decision, but I made it with ease. Chloe didn’t earn my pity, and I happily saved the town of Arcadia Bay. So, the conflicts that Max (and myself) faced mostly compelled me, except the person v. nature. Three out of four isn’t bad, but I wished the choice of saving Chloe or Arcadia Bay was more difficult that it wanted, but failed, to be.