The Game (Gaming)

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Wednesday, May 27, 2020, 12:37 (1515 days ago) @ Cody Miller

At this point, I'm sure anyone who's wanted to play this game has played it. The tl;dr is that is it's exactly what you'd expect from Quantic Dream - sophisticated narrative branching and graphics but with shit writing.

I was cautiously optimistic at first. The game is set in a futuristic Detroit, where androids are common and replacing a large part of the human labor force. You have a homeless man with a sign proclaiming he lost his job to an android, and folks on the street berate you as is often seen when people blame immigrants or minorities for taking their jobs. Detroit itself has a complex history when it comes to automation and racism, with factory automation within the auto industry being an important part of concentrating poverty for African Americans as whites were able to leave to find other jobs, or move to the suburbs. I thought perhaps this would be a story about how automation can influence the power structures of capitalism leading to racial inequality, and that Detroit was a great setting for that.

But then the androids get on a bus and have to sit in the back, and you realize the story is just going to be shitty 1 to 1 symbolism for the civil rights movement to tell a story about androids wanting to be free. I won't write about that. I'm sure others have done it far better.

One somewhat interesting mechanic is that the characters you control have opposing goals. One character is trying to get to the bottom of the android uprising, while you simultaneously control the leader of said uprising. But this in a sense backfired with me. Connor, the android detective, is paired with another human detective named Hank who hates androids. The way the interactions play out are quite cool. You can't just go for the 'good option' to repair their relationship, as he'll chide you as just going about your program with fake attempts to be nice. You have to be a dick sometimes when the situation calls for it, and read between the lines a little. Almost like something a… human would do. And you can tell that the game wants to push Connor into becoming sympathetic to the androids' pleas for human rights.

But I didn't do that. I figured the conflict would be much more interesting, and much more heightened if I made every attempt to resist this and keep Connor as a cold machine, set out to stamp out the resistance. As a result my relationship with Hank plummeted, leading to all sorts of backlash, but the conflict did ratchet up. It seemed like there were situations where the scenario could end, but I would forgo that course of action to keep the chase going so to speak. But as a result, it didn't feel like I was making these choices for moral or philosophical reason, but for game theory. Let's get the most exciting story possible! And I got a cool ass ending (if it were a movie lol) Yet it was devoid of any sort of emotional investment. Because at the end of the day your choices are gamified. Want the androids to be free? Then figure out what choices will lead to your revolution succeeding!

Still judging by the flowcharts the game presents you after each chapter, it appears like there is more path sophistication than any of their previous games.

But like all their games, the writing just needs to be better.

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