I finished this game over the course of probably about a month and obviously about a month later, I finally feel the profound impacts of it. LiS really is a “coming of age” game. It really challenges players’ views on growing up, maturity, sacrifice, responsibility, insecurity, and friendship.
So that ending, right? It takes a while to digest what lesson the narrative is trying to teach you. I already wrote this out on a paper, but to sum it up, LiS is a game that will probably impact the way you view the world if you are on the lower side of maturity. It’s also a damn good story and world to explore. The soundtrack is pretty great too.
So what’s the lesson? What’s the meaning of the game? What are they trying to teach you? The final choice of Sacrificing or Saving Chloe is obviously a crucial decision that does not fall short of the “hero’s responsibility” that rests on Max’s shoulders. It’s a decision between resisting change, growing up, letting go of innocence, and the natural order of things OR the opposite. Chloe represents Max’s childhood, and it was repeated several times throughout the game that when they’re together, they feel like they’re kids again, like they’re playing pretend as pirates and having great adventures, the world be damned. But you can’t be a kid forever.
As a young adult who is just entering college, at a service academy no less, the amount of personal growth I have experienced in the last three years is mind-blowing. It’s so hard to wrap my mind around how I was eating lunch on the hallway floor with my “friends” wearing jeans and a t-shirt and not washing my hair just three years ago… It really puts things in perspective how my consuming problems from two years ago, last year seem so small now. Not trivial, because those obstacles and life experiences also made me who I am today, but so… long ago yet so recent. My scars from those times in my life are still healing, but they are a part of me now.
I would definitely say doolie year at USAFA has been the most challenging thing I have been through in my short, 18 year life. And it hasn’t even been a year yet. I remember last year at this time we were deep in FIRST season, I was cramming for E&M, I was isolating myself because of my grades and the big mess that had happened last semester. Now, I’m 3/4ths across the country in Colorado high up on a mountain attending school at one of the most prestigious universities in the nation, in the world. So much changes so fast, and yes, I do look back at my childhood, at my teenhood, with nostalgia and fondness… but change is inevitable ~ bad included. It’s just life. Ups and downs. You just need to learn how to ride the wave.
I do miss it. But I really miss the familiarity. I spent the first 17 years of my life in that average sized suburb in New Jersey. I had a routine, I was comfortable. More importantly, I had my family. Other kids here have said that they got tired of their family after a while, and I can totally dig that if I was in their situation. But I look up to my parents. I’m extremely lucky to be able to have my parents as role models. I like them a lot as people and it makes me really happy that can see them as human beings now and I can see them as the kind of human beings that I would want to be. I aspire to have a marriage like theirs one day. Definitely not a house like theirs though lol. I hate yard work… although maybe I could probably hire someone to help clean up. Still hate yard work. Find a nice NY suburb maybe. Kids could attend Stuy. Maybe Thomas Jefferson. The works.
And that’s part of becoming an adult I think. Thinking about what you really want in life. Having mature goals like settling down, having a family, marriage. Thinking about things like your career, your salary. Caring about other people, having a sense of self. Not having to put up a filter anymore. Being comfortable with yourself and unapologetic. Being flexible.
That’s what LiS is about. Both Max and Chloe were immature in their own way, but they helped each other grow. Max’s big character flaw was insecurity and self-deprication, but Chloe helped her be confident. Chloe’s big character flaw was self-destruction and selfishness that masked her own low self-worth, but Max helped her see that she’s does deserve love and happiness in life. They bonded because of that. They were good partners because of that.
The end scene shows how much they both changed. Chloe’s willingness to let Max make her own decision (and likely sacrifice Chloe) without selfishly trying to manipulate her decision shows so much maturity. (It does play into Chloe’s lack of self-worth though. There are several layers to the characters, which I love.) Is it euthanasia or self-destruction? No, because Chloe has something to live for now. She has Max. She also sees the bigger picture in being selfless. On the other hand, Max’s decision to save Arcadia shows her classic selflessness, but more importantly, it marks her symbolically letting go of her childhood and innocence. She makes a decision that marks her entrance into adulthood and maturity. (It does also play into Max’s insecurities and that she only causes bad things with her powers even though she has saved so many people with them… even if her powers did cause the storm, she didn’t intend that to happen at all and those acts of heroism do count.) After everything, she will probably be more confident, thanks to Chloe. Will she stop her self-deprecation? Probably to an extent.