Child of Light Saved Me From Depression and Suicide
People were expecting Ubisoft’s Child of Light to be a game worth getting. The unique art style, the familiar but new combat system, and of course the lovely music contained within the trailers. I was one of these people who was looking forward to the game. I was stoked to get the code for review in my email a week before the release. I expected to play the game off and on until the embargo was lifted and I could post my review. As I began playing, I was drawn in so intensely, I completed the game in roughly 15 hours. While that seems rather short for a RPG, it was the perfect length for not only the price, but for the content of the game itself. You can read that review here if you so wish. But this article is not about that. This is how Child of Light saved me from darkening depression and gave me an increased outlook on my life as it is today.
I knew this was going to be a tough game to get through because there was one line said by Igniculus, the Firefly when he first meets Aurora. That line was this, “Can someone tell me how water falls with no rain?” Aurora was crying, she was lost, afraid, and fearful for her father’s life. The king of Lumeria was dying, and Aurora could not cope. Her mother has long since passed away. This really hurt. While the roles in my life are somewhat switched. The message is still the same. My mother is not dead, but I have seen to close to dying one too many time. I can hardly remember a time where she was healthy. There was a long period of time where she could not walk, a time where she could barely speak. There were some mornings when she was so unresponsive, I feared the worst. Aurora’s father dying and her quest to find the way to cure him is like my current journey. For the last 6 years, my mother has had Stage 6 AIDS. Essentially, that means she has the most severe form of the disease possible. In the beginning, it was tough. Every morning she looked like walking death. She was bed ridden, just like through all of my childhood. I would flash back to those times when I was seven years old. Trying to wake up my mom so I knew she would be alive when I got home from school. All of that fear, all of that sadness, was there again. I wanted to live in a dream world, where none of this was possible. Just like Aurora.
My father is an interesting story. For roughly 8 years of my life, he was absent. Drugs and drinking mostly. I began to hate him. He may as well have been dead to me at that point after he got off drugs. Our relationship is unique and it struggled when he nearly died in a drunk driving incident. Yes, he was driving drunk and nearly killed himself in the wreck. After all the effort to kick the hardcore drugs, he almost died drinking. You would think someone would learn. Years later after he paid his dues I have been able to accept him as my father. The relationship is still growing but I like to think we have made leaps and bounds to get to where we are today. I thought I lost my father, just like Aurora thought she lost her mother (more on that later). I began to heavily relate to Aurora as you learned more about her family and her journey. The people she meets along the way, are what solidified this game’s hold over me and every time I played; I could not help but begin to tear up and in some parts, be inconsolable.
This is where I tell you that the rest of this article has MASSIVE SPOILERS. If you do not want the ending of the game and the stories of the party members do not read on. For me to give readers an idea of why this game has changed me, I cannot do it spoiler free. Again MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
The first person you come across is Rubella, a female Jester who has lost her brother and the circus she belonged to. She can hardly finish her sentences because a piece of her is gone. She joins Aurora so she can look for her brother Tristis. Rubella is the part of me wishing I had someone to complete me. I went through my mother’s sickness alone. I am the only child and I felt like having some sibling around me would help ease the pain. I felt incomplete, just like Rubella. You then meet Finn, a bearded fellow who is rather cowardly. So cowardly in fact he run away from any sign of danger. As such he allows his town, his friends, and his family to be turned into crows. Instead of doing what he can to save them, he mopes around outside of the town. That is until Aurora comes to help him. Finn’s cowardice and fear of the unknown was me in the early stages of my mother’s illness and when I was a child after her many surgeries that kept her sick through all my childhood. I felt helpless when I could not help my mother with the simplest tasks. I was afraid of nearly everything involving her. I didn’t want to face the problems and become a more mature person, because that would be hard.
Next on the list is Norah, Aurora’s older sister. At first, she wears white clothing, symbolizing hope and strength. Unfortunately, when the time comes, Norah abandons Aurora because she has been in cahoots with the Black Queen Umbra. Norah was the part of me that was betrayed by family members that said they would be there for my mother and me. However, my cries for help fell upon deaf ears and they simply wanted nothing to do with me. That sense of betrayal Norah did to her sister, really hit home with me and I felt crushed. You then meet Robert. He is a rat who uses a bow and arrow to dispatch his enemies and to acquire more loot. His love for adventure knows no bounds. He is always looking for new ways to earn money. Money is not his only love, there is a rich young woman that he wishes to be with. In reality, all the wealth and all the adventure is just there so he can try to impress her. Why? Well, he just wants to share a meal and be with her. This woman continues to act as though she has more important things to do. Robert was me in high school, and even in the present day. I am trying all I can to gain wealth so I may try to spend time with the woman I am enamored with. However, I am usually blown off by these people and I am left yearned for someone to share the success and adventures with.
Eventually you find Tristis, Rubella’s brother. They represent the comedy and tragedy of theater and Tristis is the tragedy half. While Rubella is able to rest easy that her brother is safe, his debilitating and crippling depression leaves her sad and yearning to help him become a more positive person. I have been Tristis for nearly all my life, especially in the teenage years. I have always looked at things in the negative light, unable to see the silver linings of a bad situation. I was unable to move on with my father’s addition and my mother’s illness. Which brings us to Oengus, the warrior. After Norah betrayed Aurora, she is locked in a cage, forced to look out on a country slowly dying. Oengus is a guard for the Black Queen Umbra, but after seeing Aurora he wishes to free her and help with her grand journey. Oengus has unbridled strength, but he wears armor and a mask that appears to be too big and clumsy for a warrior such has him. This is me. I would put on a smile or just let people know everything was fine as a front so no one could get close. I was my own worst enemy. I am trapped in armor that is too big for me so I can stay protected. My mask hides away my true colors and emotions from others so that all they see is a heartless brute. Orengus had a secret though, he sides with Umbra to save himself, and he allowed his family to be imprisoned. Upon them being freed, his clan exiles him. Solidifying his loneliness and shame. The other sides of my family never really understood my mother’s illness and to this day some of that family rejects her and me because of it. Out of all the party members, I felt the most connection to Orengus after he his clan exiles him.
The last party member is Gen. An elder from her village takes care of her due to her parents being kidnapped by a vicious ogre. She is unable to go and save them and fears the worst. She attempts to keep a positive outlook on the situation, but is met with her worst nightmare. The ogre ate her parents, and Aurora relates to her on a deep emotional level. There is a dialogue between Tristis and Gen about her parents. She responds with something that made me bust into tears. “Their death is a part of me now. I can only move forward from here.” This line really hurt, because even though my mother is alive and my father has kicked his additions. My experiences with them are still a part of me. I can’t focus on what they have done, but what they will do. I have to move forward, just like Gen.
Every part member was a portion of me. It was difficult to face such hard truths, in a video game I am supposed to review no less. I wasn’t expecting it, but that is the only way you can come to terms with something. You cannot plan out every facet of your life. Especially the failures you meet. There is a moment in Child of Light where Aurora becomes an adult woman. Her transition is both visual and emotional. This happened for me when I became an adult and became to get my life on track. I had a job, I got my GED, and I was gearing up for college. This was her moment to truly show she was no longer a child anymore. Much like myself I had the opportunity to show how much I had grown from my mother’s illnesses and my father’s absences.
While events have been looking up these last few years, I had to drop out of college, I couldn’t land a steady job, my mother was hardly able to support herself, and at that same time, she was supporting me. I felt like I started back from the beginning. This happens to Aurora when Umbra kills her. Aurora transitions to a new place in the sky and her mother is there waiting for her as the Queen of Light. With her friends by her side Aurora is reborn, not as a princess or a queen. But as a new person. She no longer fights for her mother, her father, or even for Lumeria. She fights for herself, and from that moment, she is able to defeat the Queen of Darkness, Umbra. I thought I was not going to find myself in any more characters, but I did at the last scene with Umbra. Umbra represented the darkness within myself. The darkness that contained the resentment I had towards those that abandoned me and the ones that hurt my mother so deeply I wanted revenge. Umbra just wanted a place she could call home. Lumeria was filled with light and Umbra was the odd woman out being darkness. If she made Lumeria fall into darkness, she would finally have a home. However, these actions were hurting people and it even killed Aurora’s mother. Umbra never found a place to call her home but she did realize that her actions were poisonous. Aurora was able to defeat the darkness, a fight I am still fighting.
The journey Aurora took is one I am taking. I am moving forward with myself as a person to look at everything in a more positive light. I want to defeat the darkness in my life now, but like Aurora I will need help to do it. To the friends that haven’t rejected me because of my mother’s illness. To the friends that put up with my depression. To the people who are willing to allow me to help them with their own problems. I hope that I find you one day, and the people in my life now, I wish to thank you for any support you have given me or will give me.
If I was to thank anyone at this moment, it would be Ubisoft for not only allowing me to review the game. But for even making the game at all. My outlook has been changed and it really has saved me from going deeper into depression and even suicide. If Aurora can face her fears, I can too.
Thank you for reading. I understand it was a rather long piece but I needed to use my writing as a way to vent and continue forward with my life. How did Child of Light save me? It allowed me to begin coming to terms with my past and unknown future so I can start the path to healing and becoming the person I have always wanted to be.