So, I really enjoyed Eliza, but I actually feel like the endings were the weakest part of the game.
Something that really impressed me about the game throughout is how complex and nuanced the issues it portrays are. Nothing is simple. Everything is multifaceted, confusing, and hard.
But when I got to the end, I was kind of surprised to see how… overt the endings were. All of the endings are very intense. We see Evelyn go deep into the implied ideological route we selected. This kind of felt… dishonest with her character? Her uncertainty is very present throughout the story, but it pops like a bubble right after we pick an ending.
I think part of this has to do with the kind of “no-half-measures” endings we have to choose. We can’t dabble in one or the other; Evelyn’s choice is final and complete. Which I think kind of makes sense, but it results in some weird feelings for me.
Thoughts on the other endings (spoiler tags for specific endings)
So like, take the ending with Rainer. Evelyn completely buys into the weird, orthogenetic quest for the singularity that Rainer is selling. It was very strange to see her like this. It didn’t seem like her at all.
Then take the ending with Nora. While I really like this ending, the game ends with Evelyn expressing absolute bliss and joy in her work. She pretty much explicitly thanks the player for making that choice. And while, again, I love Nora, and I was rooting for it and wanted to see that happiness, it felt very… flat. As much as I wanted this ending, it felt… too simple.
Soren’s ending isn’t quite as extreme, but it still feels a little weird. While she doesn’t sink into the whole utopian vision Soren has, she still express a lot of hope and ambition for direct stimulation.
Rae’s ending is more nuanced. It feels way more like the Evelyn we came to know over the course of the game, but very optimistic, still. I think this ending is alright, altogether.
It’s for these reasons that I actually find the ending in which Evelyn moves on with her life to be the most fitting ending. I still wanted to hang out with Nora and bake cookies with Rae, but this ending felt the most honest to Evelyn as a character. It’s not the ending I find the most joy in (that goes to Lil Sappho), but I think it felt the most honest about who Evelyn is.
Throughout the game, Evelyn is uncertain and feels at a loss for what is going on around her. And none of these decisions feel… right to her. None of them capture what Evelyn believes in her core; they all seem compromised in some capacity. Compromising either her desire to change the world for the better, her desire to find her own happiness, or her own sense of ethics and truth. So in a way, the choice that makes the most sense for Evelyn is to just walk away from it all. Leave Seattle, leave all the baggage and nonsense about Eliza behind.
It’s for that reason I feel like it’s the most fitting ending. Because it more clearly expressed the uncertainty in Evelyn, and the genuine anxiety she experiences over the compromises she has to make. That feels so much more truthful to me than any of the other endings I was given.