It’s the Freakin’ Weekend! So What are You Playing?

Friday! Video games! Let’s talk!

This is bound to be an unpredictable weekend for me, seeing as how I just finished Detroit: Become Human about an hour ago and have no idea what to jump into next. Oops?

I mostly enjoyed Heavy Rain but loathed Beyond: Two Souls, so Quantic Dreams’ games are hit or miss for me. Needless to say, I wasn’t exactly excited to play Detroit. However, I found a copy for rent at a local Red Box kiosk and it was only $7 for 3 days. I wasn’t in the middle of anything else, having just finishing God of War and my replay of Horizon: Zero Dawn, so I bit the bullet and dove into David Cage’s latest narrative adventure last night. And it’s definitely a David Cage-ass game.

detroit4

Despite it being the source of ridicule on social media and quite a few negative reviews, I (similar to Heavy Rain) mostly enjoyed it. The storytelling is a little clumsy and direct at times and it’s unapologetically influenced by some of the darkest times in American history; just replacing human slavery with androids and history repeating itself. The point of the game is literally in the subtitle.

You play as three separate android characters with their own storylines that intertwine with one another. Kara, a housekeeper, is owned by an alcoholic single parent who uses her to take out his drug-fueled aggression. Markus was the caregiver to an aging artist who finds himself framed for murder and joins the android rebellion. And finally, Connor is an android who has been paired up with the human detective *slash* alcoholic Hank (wonderfully played by actor Clancy Brown) in order to assist him in investigating a series of murders by sentient androids. Kara’s story ended up my favorite, with Connor and Hank’s buddy cop scenario as a close second. Markus’ rebellion story lacked the emotional punch of Kara or the moral gray area of Connor, and some of his motivations and major beats didn’t always feel earned.

The story is framed in an interesting manner and offers a TON of player agency by way of dialogue replies and heavy decision making. The characters they meet along the way have affinity meters, which unlocks new dialogue prompts and cutscenes when raised or lowered, and the end of each chapter displays a roadmap that shows your choices and how they affected the narrative’s flow. This chart also shows blank spaces, indicating missed opportunities or separate narrative paths that “could have” happened had you reacted differently. It certainly encourages multiple playthroughs and reminded me a lot of Until Dawn.

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While the storytelling is mostly interesting and the game is overflowing with player choice, where it falters is in the actual gameplay. It feels nearly identical to 2010’s Heavy Rain, with player interaction being relegated to holding or mashing buttons or matching specific button prompts that pop up during cutscenes. For instance, instead of crawling along the floor using the left analog stick (which is otherwise always used to move your character) you’ll be prompted to press and hold the R1 button, followed by L1, then repeating as necessary until you reach your destination. This type of interactivity isn’t necessarily bad in theory, but it causes the on-screen action to screech to a halt until the button presses are met. It’s definitely jarring when a chase scene is stopped because I haven’t mashed X enough or held down three different buttons.

I don’t really want to talk about the narrative since it’s such a huge part of the experience, but I do look forward to discussing it with others who have already finished the game. I’m curious to hear how other stories played out in comparison to my own, in order to truly gauge how important these choices and consequences are.

metroid

With Detroit: Become Human out of the way, I’m not sure what to jump into next. I picked up The Caligula Effect on Vita to play during my road trip a few weeks ago and never got around to it. I also have Tokyo Xanadu Ex+ downloaded on my PS4. Both are JRPGs and I don’t know if I’m in the mood for that right now. I’ve been tossing around the idea of firing up my SNES Classic and revisiting some of my favorites, namely Super Metroid.

What about you, folks? Any big plans this weekend?

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17 thoughts on “It’s the Freakin’ Weekend! So What are You Playing?

  1. I’m really keen to play Detroit, but I think it’ll be something for later in the year. I’ve been playing a lot of Hyrule Warriors which has been tons of fun. I picked up Dropmix to tinker around with and that’s been pretty interesting too.

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      1. I liked Heavy Rain but was really put off by Beyond. I think the problem with the latter was the time hopping storyline that meant there could never be any real peril seeing as you’d seen the future. Detroit seems to be more sensible in that regard.

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        1. That was one of my problems with Beyond too, as well as the awful control scheme when controlling Aiden. When they rereleased it on PS4 they added a remix mode that told the entire story chronologically. It was free last month through PS Plus so I’ve been tempted to give it another shot and see if that makes it feel a little better. Detroit basically feels like an evolution of Heavy Rain. I liked the story in that one. I’d say Detroit is the best of the bunch now, though.

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  2. Well with the recent news about Insurgency Sandstorm, I figure there’s no better time to revisit the original game. So I’m likely going to spend some of my free time on that. I want to have some practice for that one. If you missed it, New World Interactive posted an update on the upcoming launches. Frankly, I think they may even have a shot at breaking EA’s, and Activision’s armor with some of the revelations. It’s here if you care: https://newworldinteractive.com/insurgency-sandstorm-community-update-release-date-announcement/

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  3. Well the game will have a single player campaign too. So you may want to look into it as there will be a PS4/XB1 release next year.

    As for the health update so far it looks like I don’t have a lethal disease. But I *might* have gall stones. Have to go for an ultrasound on that. I also have high sugar, and cholesterol. Not to the point of diabetes. But high enough that I have to completely change my diet. So I can’t have my precious soda anymore. I can’t eat like a teenager anymore. I can surprisingly still have beer, but I have to really limit it. I can have mostly whatever else I want, but the portions have to be cut down drastically. It’s going to be tough adjusting to it considering I’ve been so used to eating on the go for the better part of two decades, and living on soda to get through each day much of it. On the plus side I can still eat most sushi, and almonds are actually good for me. At least I can have cold brew coffee!

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    1. Oh man, that sounds rough, but at least it’s nothing fatal. Transitioning from eating like garbage to a normal, healthy intake of *real* food is a strange detox but feels normal after about a week. For most of the year I’m vegan, but fall off near the holidays as to not bother family with cooking around me, etc. Transitioning back and cutting out stuff like chips and soda makes me feel sluggish, I get gnarly headaches, and my depression skyrockets since I’m so used to using food as a coping mechanism. It gets better, though!

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      1. Yeah. I suppose the silver lining (at least for now) is that I don’t have to be on blood thinners or other medications. It’s just eating better, and getting off my ass to run on my day off. Still, I already miss the triple cheeseburgers, and buffalo wings.

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  4. My only previous David Cage game was Beyond: Two Souls and I hated it. I decided to give Detroit a try anyway since I have GameFly and I’m surprised to say I’m enjoying it. The setting and scenarios are pretty cool so far. I have only played a few hours, but I’m looking forward to playing more.

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    1. Beyond Two Souls is easily his worst work, and by a significant margin. It’s not good. I played the PS3 version at launch and hated its non-chronological method of storytelling and apparently the PS4 version offers a Remix Mode that lets you play everything in order. Since I finished (and liked) Detroit, part of me wants to give Beyond a 2nd chance. I know it’s bad, but I want to see if the Remix Mode makes a difference.

      If you like Detroit, I highly recommend checking out Heavy Rain. Really neat crime drama that reminds me a lot of Connor’s scenario. Heavy Rain also swaps between multiple characters, telling their stories and intertwining them later on. It’s good.

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