Rachel’s fate is revealed, and the majority of your decisions seemingly will matter as the final moments come into play; however, you will be once again left with an ending which is a bit shocking.
Trigger Warning(s): Disturbing Photographs
Characters & Story
Things begin with us dealing with Max’s decision to save Chloe’s dad and you, ultimately, whether you want to or not, reversing said decision and going back to a world where Chloe’s dad is dead. With this though comes your continued investigation into where Rachel is, or where she may be. This leads you to continue investigating Nathan, Frank, and even David, and then being tasked with putting all the pieces together in order to figure out there where, when, who, and the codes needed to figure all this out.
Leading to the discovery of the dark room. A place where you will find multiple binders of girls who, so it seems, Nathan has drugged and dragged into photo-shoots. Of which, to my surprise, weren’t nude ones but just them drugged out of their minds. However, one picture gives everything away. It reveals where Rachel might be, and naturally, Chloe is ready to run faster than a cheetah to see her friend once more.
Thus setting up the conclusion of the game, or season, in which Nathan has to be found, and you are tasked with possibly warning others. One of which is Victoria. Someone who has caused a bit of headache, and nonsense, and you can decide her just deserts. For with it seeming she is the next target, her possible fate rests in your hands. Well, at least until the final moments of the episode when you are left unable to use your powers and unable to stop one of the most shocking moments since the possibility of not stopping Kate from jumping to her death.
Officially, with this entry, DONTNOD has surpassed TellTale Games when it comes to almost any series they have put out that I have covered. If only because, between this episode taking me nearly 4 hours, since I check everything and talk to everyone, and how the story reached its conclusion, it has to be one of the most interesting mysteries I have experienced, whether it was a TV, Movie, or video game, in a while.
I mean, the amount of detective work done, from finding codes, to matching evidence to evidence, strangely was fun to me. If only because, assumingly, there is this feeling that possibly missing something may have led to me not getting “the perfect ending.” Which I know isn’t true, since likely this game forces you to have the evidence required for the truth, but with us having so many options, unlike many other episodic games, Life Is Strange: Episode 4 – The Dark Room really does make it seem that you have more control over the story than you know and that you, ultimately, don’t have a bunch of decisions which still lead to the same end result.
But, the ability to make decisions, and the mystery aspect, aside, what I also liked was the emotional complexity. For between deciding whether to let Chloe die, and the Kate situation being addressed, among other things, it shows how multifaceted this game is. I mean, you have non-sexualized girls as both the leads and supporting characters, much less the most developed; you have a complicated relationship between friends as the heart of the story; you have complex male characters who, like Frank, might be seen as generally bad people, yet between Frank’s relationship with Rachel, as well as his relationship with animals, we are shown he isn’t a completely bad person – just one who is sensitive and defensive; and as we learn the fate of Rachel, Max, and Chloe, we are shown that as positive as this game can be, it is just as much capable of going to a dark place where there might not be happy endings and smiles, but death, betrayal of trust, and all that without completely seeming out of left field.
Honestly, as the story gets better and really excited me, it makes me so upset that DONTNOD isn’t capable of making this with Final Fantasy level graphics. If only because, outside of a handful of characters, it is like everyone else is stoned face. Which sort of takes away from certain moments being as serious as they should be. Like when it comes to interacting with Stella or Brooke, their facial movements are limited to pretty much blinking and their lips moving. Same goes for Victoria at times. Which, for me, is a problem since it makes it feel like 1/3 of what makes a story great, facial expressions and body movements, have been sacrificed so that everything else can be A level.
With many of the decisions you made, thus far, seeming to have reached their ultimate result, I can only assume that how you have handled David and Frank might be the last things that matter. That and whether or not you have warned people about Nathan. For truly, as much as I had a feeling about the person who causes the shocking ending, it was just a faint one which I think solely came from how most of the male adults in this game are either weird or sort of bad people. I mean, granted, the principal isn’t a bad guy, nor really weird, but he is manipulated by bad people so he becomes the neutral tool for their work.
Either way, I’m hoping the wait isn’t long for while I remember what has happened, and what I have done, in this game way more than when I play Game of Thrones, that gap between games, and the week before release announcements, are so frustrating.
Things To Note
That damn code for the Dark Room is 542. Also, you can fail to figure out Nathan’s passcode and just use the code from that sim card thing to get into his phone.