Social commentary of gameplay by way of future Detroit [gb 23.]

No Caption Provided

You know, perhaps there’s still not a lot we know about the game thus making it prone to a fair amount of judgement. Could be the articles about the toxic work environment within Quantic Dream. Or maybe it’s my own point of view coming into play, that Detroit is now part of a series of diminishing returns. I mean, Heavy Rain was quite the step up from Omikron but Beyond: Two Souls was David Cage thinking he was an amazing story teller. (In a very arthouse manner?)

I guess this time, the game centers around robot racism in the world of future Detroit, and the protagonists are three robots. Two of which save little girls from men, and one I guess is jumpstarting the hashtag #RobotLivesMatter. I’m getting ahead of myself, I don’t know shit about this game, but I did play the demo that came out this week.

The demo centers around the same one you’ve seen at the Playstation Experience from December of last year. A Young Conan O’Brien is sent to a fancy downtown high rise where a robo-butler decided to no longer follow the rules of robotics. In a fit of inadequacy he shot a bunch of people, and as I alluded to earlier, has taken a little girl hostage on the edge of a roof.

If you’ve seen this before, you know what’s coming. If you haven’t, then this is all I’ll really say about the scenario.

(This plot is probably a little to heavy for the average person to want to play.)
(This plot is probably a little to heavy for the average person to want to play.)

Given that this is your introduction to the game. Words are constantly flying around the screen. “Time is of the essence!” “Every second counts!” “Look for all the clues!” Everything you do either lowers or raises your chance of a successful mission. Then at the end it gives you a chart of everything you could have done, didn’t do, and have done before.

I understand that they’re using this demo as a way to teach you about the game, but since it’s first trailer at E3 2016 Quantic has really been beating into the viewer it’s whole “choose your own adventure.” With less emphasis on “This is YOUR story that YOU are creating,” and more on, “GREAT! What else you can do!”

(The book equivalent is changing to page 63 to continue the plot, but after the second paragraph it encourages you to go back and see what other pages you could be reading.)

My cynicism is leaking onto the keyboard because I detest that about the modern game with multiple scenarios. They care so much about the multiple endings you can have, that I’m not sure they put that much thought into the different outcomes.

The earliest example of why, is that you’re forced to talk to the police captain who says the same lines, no matter what you say, in no matter what order. Maybe he actively doesn’t give a shit, because he’s a minor character in a larger game. Yet if choice is so important, how you even approach the captain probably should be just as.

(You literally can’t just go straight to the deviant without the cop telling you to fuck off. The game shoves an invisible wall in your face till you do.)

Then while you’re wandering around trying to find all the clues, the probability of success floats around your head in what feels like an arbitrary number. Which is very distracting and gamey, and I hope it’s either not part of the main game, or you have the ability to turn it off.

Despite all this, my first playthrough evidently had my character fall to his death while saving the day. As he fell from the top of a tall high-rise a look of satisfaction came upon his face with the text ‘mission complete’ on the left hand side.

I felt a sense of “huh, I guess it doesn’t matter. He’s a robot after all, there’s hundreds of these things out there,” and that’s a weird feeling to get out of the game before it’s even out.

A feeling which was reinforced when the game suggested that I play it again to see a different outcome.

(And hey, if actually watching the demo be played is your thing instead of reading there’s this gameplay footage over here.)

I’m being hard on it, I don’t want to be hard on it because I really did enjoy Heavy Rain enough that I want another one of those experiences. I don’t want to be bothered with choices, and outcomes, and flow charts… I just want a good story to be told well, and it can’t do that if it keeps reminding me it’s a game.

I am become human.
I am become human.

Start the Conversation