Trying to describe my three playthroughs of ESC in the past week would be a disservice to Lena Raine's work, and especially to anyone who hasn't already played it. For starters, there are layers upon layers of meta and spoiler potential that put the movie Inception to shame. I'd hate to bump something out of place trying to tiptoe around the details.
More importantly, ESC is much more than a mere game or a novel. It's an experience, one you really should be part of. There's a role for you, the player, and it's probably bigger than you think.
I will warn you that settling down to ESC is like trying to recall a childhood memory, or piecing together the bits of a dream. The plot is tough to navigate. You're going to get confused. You might not fully understand everything the first time through.
I sure didn't.
But this is totally normal. It tells you so, itself. And it's pretty genius how that confusion--your confusion--becomes part of the whole experience. Lena Raine's got some serious artistic meta skills, and they're not limited to music.
Anyhow, the overall confusion of ESC's story all but begs for a second playthrough. The first half was convoluted before, but now makes much more sense. And once you re-read it, you realize that you hadn't gotten a few things right in the last half. You keep bouncing back and forth between what were once seemingly random elements. You're making connections. Ideas are born, which reach out and grab new elements, which change the idea, which...
Yeah, I'm rambling now, aren't I?
At first, experiencing ESC reminded me of reading Vonnegut for the first time. But now I think it's more akin to a poem. You don't simply finish it and walk away. It's meant to be revisited, explored, and savored. It defines you as much as you define it.
And if it gets hold of you the way it did me. Well, let's just say that this was probably the closest I'll ever come to enlightenment in my lifetime.
I'm not kidding. ESC is that good.