Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Life is Strange - Victoria Chase

Life is Strange really caught me by surprise with how much I ended up liking it. I was kinda interested in it because I loved Dontnod Entertainment's first game Remember Me, but the way the game looked invoked a weird sort of uncanny valley for me. Still, when all the episodes were released I bought the game, played it, and it didn't take long for it to suck me in after all.

However, I don't want to talk at length about the game itself here. Rather I want to talk a bit about a particular scene regarding a particular character. Basically just a short insight I had while staring out the bus window. (As such this will be more or less useless to people who haven't played or finished the game)

Warning: SPOILERS for Life is Strange

How Strange Is It?
Victoria Chase - Life is Strange

Victoria Chase is a rich, popular girl who serves as a minor antagonist towards Max. Compared to Nathan Prescott, she's more of an annoyance rather than an actual threat (except when it comes to Kate Marsh's storyline, who she is unwittingly bullying into a suicide attempt). However she is a more personal antagonist than Prescott, which the game neatly illustrates by having her dorm room directly opposing Max'.

A part of Episode 1 plays out in the Blackwell girl's dorm, which is a convenient way for the game to develop some characters by giving us the chance to snoop in their personal lives. One of the puzzles in the dorm requires us to invade Victoria's room (including the rather infamous scene where Max is suddenly commenting on a plasma TV and the apparent delicacy thereof), but before we do that, we see this message on the slate outside of her room.

"Be the change you wish to see" -Gandhi

When we first encounter the message, we're supposed to cringe along with Max at the dissonance of this narcissistic pest quoting Gandhi for all the world to see while at the same time she's bullying Kate to the point of attempting suicide. During the rest of the game however, we slowly learn that beneath the alpha bitch facade she puts up in public, Victoria is actually just really insecure and not all that bad.

In Episode 5 during a rather confusing bunch of time travel sequences, we get to revisit the scene at the very start of the game with Max in Mr. Jefferson's classroom. Due to Max' character development over the course of the game, we now have an option to read one of Victoria's notebooks, whereas at the beginning Max was too timid to even consider invading her privacy like that (At least publicly since, as mentioned, she gleefully inspects Vic's room not long after).

Inside the notebook we find something of a written down (and punctuated) stream of consciousness exclaiming that she herself sucks and ending with the words "I want to hate her, but she wouldn't care. Envy is a sin, Vic. GET OVER YOURSELF!", revealing not only Victoria's insecurity but also a desire to better herself.

This, to me at least, puts that little slate outside Victoria's room in an entirely new, kinda heartwarming light. Victoria doesn't write Gandhi quotes to show off to the world how deep she is, she does it to remind herself that she should at least attempt to be a better person.

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