My Initial Thoughts on Detroit Become Human

Anyone who’s followed me for the last few months knows that I was anxiously awaiting this game. My wife and I demoed it at PAX East, and we were excited to finally get our hands on a copy.

So where did this all start for me? Well… actually when I was following what was going on with hilariously comical #FreedomForTay movement, someone posted this video and likened it to what was happening to Microsoft’s Tay AI. (Read more here.)

 

This trailer was incredibly well done, despite only being PS3 level graphics. You legitimately felt for Kara here to the point of almost having tears in your eyes. I was immediately hooked and started looking more into what this was about. I found out that it was a very early trailer for Detroit Become Human and I wanted to know more.

Well… the more I found out, the more interested I became and I really started getting into it when this extremely controversial trailer came out:

You really got to hand it to the PR people on this one. They really know how to get you hooked.

So for months and months I waited. Until finally last week… that glorious day happened! Detroit Become Human came out and my reserved copy was ready to be picked up!

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I immediately ran out and grabbed my copy. I popped it into our PS4 and my wife and I began the game.

The opening scene deals with Connor, a special ‘prototype’ android that has been issued to the police department. His job is to talk down another android that has apparently gone insane, killed its master, and taken the daughter hostage. This was the demo we played at PAX. Well… we knew how our decisions went last time (not so well) and we wanted to try for a better outcome, so we made a few different decisions, sure enough… something totally different happened.

That’s how this whole game works. Detroit Become Human is more of an interactive movie than an actual game… and when I say interactive… I mean you really can’t be much more immersive than the game is. Even the title screen interacts with you by giving you your own virtual android to assist you with getting started… for a while anyway.

However, I’m getting ahead of myself…

The game takes place in Detroit (obviously) of the Future, 2038 to be exact. There, people are out of work, neighborhoods are crumbling, drugs are rampant, and automation is replacing skilled and unskilled labor.

… in other words, Detroit hasn’t really changed at all in twenty years.

 

Sorry… back on topic. The story revolves around three androids:

Markus: A caretaker for artist facing the end of his days.

Kara: Another caretaker, this time for a child, Alice, and her drug addict, out of work, father.

Connor: A by-the-book police android who’s thrown in with a broken down cop who’s more often found at the bottom of a bottle of booze than actually in his office.

The story revolves around the evolution of the three characters and the choices they make. What happens to each character lands solely in your lap. If one or more character dies, the game does not end. The story simply continues without that character.

I really don’t want to give too much away, but I really preferred Kara’s story above all the others. Her struggle with keeping young Alice alive and happy while coming to terms with her own identity and finding her place was profound.

Markus’ story I found somewhat predictable. He’s an android who worked for an ‘enlightened’ artist who encouraged the android to cut his own path. Markus then, through a series of events that are not of his own making, becomes the leader of a revolution. After a few bad decisions, I didn’t like where this character was going and sought to kill him off… that might have been a mistake… It turns out, he’s a fairly integral part of the struggle for civil rights and losing him… has repercussions that are felt pretty strongly by the end of the game.

Connor… I’m not going to lie, I do love this one. If you like Lethal Weapon, his interactions with the other cop are pretty enjoyable. It’s a pretty standard buddy cop story, but it’s fun in its own way.

As I said, the story revolves around these three characters and the decisions you make will affect the lives of everyone around. One thing I will say about this game is that it get’s unexpectedly dark… I mean really dark. Murder, sexual assault, drug use, child abuse, domestic violence, and even genocide, are all potential themes in your story. Not all of them are avoidable. That is not a criticism, by the way, if you’re going to go dark, you should go all the way and this game very vividly shows the ramification of such themes.

So is this game everything I was hoping it would be?

Yes. The replay value is through the roof, it’s not an action game where you go around shooting and killing people. You’re essentially watching a movie when options come up on the screen, and allow you to choose what decision a character makes.

Negatives…

Well… when I say the game is immersive, I MEAN IT’S IMMERSIVE! You’re going to spend early parts of the game cleaning house, making dinner, doing laundry, and pushing an old man’s wheelchair. It’s definitely slow-moving at first and will lose some audience members with a shorter attention span.

Other than that, I was a little disappointed in how little the stories appear to interact… at least on my first playthrough. The most interaction I saw between Connor and Kara was when Connor looked oddly at Alice from across a room and when he Connor chased them across a street.

I expected their stories to be a little more intertwined, and maybe they are, but my first story was a fairly dark one that ended with android genocide and only Kara getting away unscathed.

So what’s my final judgment?

Detroit Become Human is awesome. The graphics are great, it’s got a great cast! The music is wonderful, the character development is excellent, and though initially slow-moving, the game’s storyline sucks you in and really makes you want to see what comes next.

So my overall score is going to be a 8.5 out of 10. Buy this game and try it out if you love a good story! You’ll love it!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Opinion: Rinoa Should Have Been A Kingdom Hearts Princess!

Most of my friends from when I was in college would probably roll their eyes at this one… because I’ve said a lot about it. For everyone who’s played Kingdom Hearts, you know the basic gist of the game.

To beat the game and stop the darkness, you need the power of the 7 princesses… I know, I know, but trust me, it’s a lot more bad assed than it sounds. This isn’t My Little Pony Fanfic.

When you bring these princesses together, they use their combined power to put a stop to the enemy known as the Heartless… again, I SWEAR this isn’t MLP or Care Bears fan fic!!! Trust me, go play the game! It really is good!

Anyway… Let’s take a look at the 7 Princesses.

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As I said, there are seven of them. Six are Disney characters, one is an original character from the game’s own cast.

One thing I would to note, Kingdom Hearts is the marriage of Final Fantasy and Disney. There are several Final Fantasy characters (mostly from 7-10) in the game that play pretty major parts. They have their own worlds, though we only see one, as well as back stories as to how they got there. However none of them are among the princesses and that I do not agree with. If you wanted to go with seven princesses, I get why, and I think there was a space for one. One of the characters, in my opinion does not qualify as a princess. Let’s go through the seven one by one, shall we?

I’ll go through them in order of status, in other words the ones that most qualify as a princess vs. the ones that don’t.

Snow White: This one is a pretty obvious choice. She is a princess. Not only that, but she was the first of the Disney princesses. So I really don’t need to go into much here. She’s kind and innocent. So we’ll just leave it at that, an obvious choice.

Sleeping Beauty: Again, another obvious choice. She was an early princess in the Disney scope. She doesn’t really play that huge of a role I’d argue vs. the faeries and the prince, but that’s my opinion. She’s a princess, another beloved one in the realm of Disney, so no arguments here.

Jasmine: I was going to put her above Sleeping Beauty because honestly she’s a stronger character than Sleeping Beauty and honestly far more likable, but Sleeping Beauty is far more iconic and well-known, IMO. So take that as you will, maybe it’s a tie, maybe not, but that’s where we are, moving on.

Cinderella: Okay… I know she’s iconic, I know she’s beloved in Disney’s circles and her story is beyond legend, but she falls lower than White, Sleepy, and Jaz because well… she wasn’t a princess. I’m not kidding, at what point in the story was she a princess? We never see her get married in the movie, she’s nobility, but treated as a servant until the end of the movie. I guess she qualifies because the prince said he’d marry the owner of the slipper, so until the King dies, that makes her a princess by marriage, but that’s arguable.

Belle: Same as Cinderella, albeit arguably less so. She’s not a princess… heck she’s not even a daughter of nobility. She marries a prince by the end of the movie but… is he a prince? I mean we never see his parents, where are they? In another castle? (Insert Mario Joke) It’s never fully explored, so… I guess we’ll just take it on faith, maybe he’s not next in line to the throne. So again, princess by marriage.

Kairi: Honestly, we don’t know much about her in the first game. Is she a princess? It’s not really explored. However I guess it makes sense that she’s on there as it gives the main hero something to fight for.

Alice: I have no idea why they chose her. Why not Ariel from the Little Mermaid? That might have made more sense here. Though you could argue that she’s in Mermaid form in the game, but there are always ways around that. Alice is not a princess. She’s a girl who daydreams and goes to wonderland. So really… I don’t know why she’s counted as one of the princesses. She could have easily been switched out with literally any other Disney character… or perhaps a Final Fantasy princess?

Enter Rinoa… Now why do I say Rinoa over say… Garnet (Dagger), Tifa, Aeris, Yuna, etc.

Well… Garnet is a true princess, but to be honest… I never found her particularly likable. There really are no other FF9 characters in the first Kingdom Hearts, and honestly, she ends the game as the Queen.

Tifa and Aeris have no real connection to any form of nobility, it doesn’t even really exist in her world other than the nepotism within Shinra. Aeris is the last descendant of the Ancients, but… I mean she’s already a contributing character, so I think that really goes far enough.

So why Rinoa?

Well… Rinoa for one is a very well-liked character. She’s had her own following, multiple figures made, her friends call her a princess, and honestly, you could argue that she’s Gabaldian nobility, being the daughter of a well-respected, wealthy, general in the nation’s army. She’s not royalty, but honestly she fits in about as much as Belle or Cinderella when you think about it. Plus Squall is in the game. Cloud and Aeris are there, why not bring Rinoa in as well for Squall?

If it were me, I would have brought her in instead of Alice as I think she’s definitely a better choice than Alice. IMO it seems like Disney chose Alice because of a lack of princesses to choose from at that point that could fit into the game. However that is my opinion.

What does everyone think? Am I dead on? Not so much? Do you think Alice belongs there? Would you rather a different Final Fantasy character? Let me know.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Unpopular Opinion: Final Fantasy 7 isn’t as good as you remember

 

Oh I just know I’m going to piss off a lot of people with this one…

Keeping in mind, I’m just focusing on the main title, not the sequels or prequel here.

Final Fantasy 7 came out roughly a year after I got my first PlayStation. I was in either 6th or 7th grade at the time… I don’t really remember. The gamer magazines all gave it  outstanding reviews. Many said that the game was edgy in that it portrayed murder, rape, and prostitution among other themes in the story.

The public reception though… at the time and from my perspective, was mixed. A lot of people loved it, saying it had a great story, great graphics, and so on. Other balked at the turn-based system and how the game designers had seemingly focused on good graphics and offered little else. Keep in mind, I can’t gauge a universal fan response at the time. Public use of the internet was still in it’s infancy (You old 56K users know what I’m talking about), so the reception I speak of is strictly anecdotal. Take that as you will.

For years, I was in the first camp. I loved the game.

I saw a commercial for it and asked for the game for Christmas. Upon opening it and playing the first disc… I was hooked. I played the game straight through. I struggled through President Rufus’s inauguration scenes, I teared up when Aeris was stabbed through the back, my jaw dropped when Cloud was revealed to be a clone, and relieved when it turned out he wasn’t one, and chills ran down my spine as ‘One Winged Angel’ echoed through my ears during the final fight.

I cannot tell you how many hours I wasted on this game as I played through it several times. So when I heard that Final Fantasy 7 was being remade, like everyone else, I was excited. So much so that I downloaded the original on my handheld PlayStation to relive the glory days.

I kind of wish I hadn’t… The nostalgia goggles fooled me once again. It was like turning on Thunder Cats or the original Transformers and realizing that these shows were a lot cheesier then I remembered.

The graphics and, by today’s standard, laughable polygons didn’t bother me. I knew that was coming, so I give the game a pass on that. I am also aware of how endearing the turn based system is and how it’s come a long way. So again, not an issue.

So what’s the problem?

Well I think part of the problem is the gamer, yes the problem is us. You see, we’ve all grown and matured and as such, we can now see glaring issues with the game that we didn’t see, or didn’t care about when we were younger.

For starters, let’s look at Cloud. He’s moody, doesn’t talk much, doesn’t seem to care about anything or anyone, has a bit of a chip on his shoulder, and yet somehow people gravitate to him. Maybe it’s because of his supposed awesome power or something? I can’t really be certain. The thing is, there’s not much to him. He’s a moody character trope that seems to show up in most, if not all, modern Final Fantasies. Granted, not always the main character, but he’s in there somewhere.

Honestly, Final Fantasy 8’s main character was very similar, in fact I think Square was aware of this as they pared the two characters up and hand them basically taunting each other during the Battle of Hollow Bastion in Kingdom Hearts 2. However, Squall was slightly different. For him, there was a lot more reason given to his moodiness and quiet. He grew up in an orphanage, and the big sister he loved so much, eventually left him behind. Though his memory of all this was gone, the imprint remained, so it made sense.

With Cloud… he was a failure and didn’t want to deal with that or something? Granted the idea of a character concocting a lie about his past and having it consume him to the point where he believed it himself, only to have that backfire, is interesting enough… except there’s a bit of a problem there…

You have everyone’s favorite waifu, (Tifa) who was there for all of the previous events and can easily debunk everything! She doesn’t though because… she’s afraid of what it might do to Cloud? I don’t know, the reason isn’t very well given and honestly makes the whole plot line hard to believe. When Sephiroth reveals that Cloud’s past is a lie and due to his mental insecurities, is able to convince Cloud that he’s a clone because of it. The story started to fall apart, especially with Tifa knowing the truth.

But they explained that too! Sephiroth said that she also had her memory altered. 

Yeah I don’t know, that’s a bit of a stretch. She’s also a little too accepting of the idea. I mean maybe I could believe that Cloud’s true memories didn’t kick in because his mind was scrambled due to Mako exposure, but the rest is really pushing the suspension of disbelief.

Second issue with the story… Vincent. Vincent knows about Sephiroth. He knows about his past and where he comes from. So… why doesn’t he speak up? When Sephiroth is on screen spouting off about his destiny and his mother, why doesn’t Vincent tell him about Lucrecia? I mean yeah you could make the argument that Sephiroth probably wouldn’t believe him, but why wouldn’t you try? At the very least, it may give him pause.

Some people didn’t use Vincent. Others just didn’t have him in the party at the right time. 

True, but the official story has Vincent there so that doesn’t really hold water. Also, there are a few opportunities when the entire party is on screen where he could say something, despite not being in the party.

Third issue, the love interests. Tifa and Aeris (Aerith? Aeries? Aries??? WHATEVER!!)… what can I say about them?

Honestly, Tifa was the preferable character… and I’m not saying that because her cleavage was bigger than her head… no I’m not kidding…

11

 

(I hope Cloud knows a good chiropractor!)

She honestly, despite her flaws was a very energetic and loyal character. Even when Aeris came into the picture, she still stuck by Cloud. Despite everything, she was still there to care for him and comfort him when he needed it. However she did let her emotions run wild and honestly… well let’s just say I didn’t have her in the party all that much.

Then why is she the better of the two?

Because the other option is Aeris.

I actually liked this character when I was younger and now for the life of me, I can’t remember why. Take almost any of her lines of dialogue in the game and try saying those things to people in real life. ‘Hey that’s Cloud’s thing to say, blah, blah, blah.’
‘Let’s ride the airship together, promise? PROMISE ME!’

They’re either going to think you’re a little kid or have serious mental issues. Granted, she’s not the only character with this problem… “Dr. Hojo has named me Red XIII, call me whatever you wish.”

… or you could just tell us your damn name! We’re likely to find out sooner or later anyway! Seriously, what’s your problem?

This actually was revealed a lot more in the game Crisis Core where people started to theorize that Aeris may have had some kind of mental deficiency. I remember message boards going so far as to ask if she was mentally retarded. Granted her character wasn’t done any favors in Final Fantasy Crisis Core, but we’re not really addressing that game here.

On top of that, Aeris is just annoying. She constantly laughing about something or acting like a little kid. On top of all of that, she was kind of the White Mage of this Final Fantasy despite this game not really needing one. Not only that, but her character is really in question. She barely even addresses the nature of Cloud’s relationship with Tifa during her time with the party and at some points seems to either try to sneak around behind it. Even if Cloud expressly says that Tifa is his girlfriend.

Thankfully you have the option of not being nice to her, at which point Tifa shows up for your date at the Golden Saucer and you don’t really have to deal with Aeris past the first act. So that’s a plus.

Let’s move on to the story… I’ve already stated what I take issue with in terms of the main character, but let’s look at the side quests. First of all, too many of them go nowhere. Who is the Kalm Traveler? What was his mission? Who was the man in the pipe in Sector 6? What’s his backstory? What is Aeris doing back in the church after she dies, only to disappear when you turn your back? A lot of these things go nowhere and it feels like there is an incomplete chapter in the game that was supposed to tie these things together.

Also when you leave Cait Sith in the temple and he’s destroyed, it’s written in a way that makes it a sad scene. Cait Sith was a likable character… despite having a bit of a forced introduction. So saying goodbye to him was actually a moving scene… too bad it was ruined two seconds later by a second model showing up. Also not helping things is when Cloud gives the black material to Sephiroth while your party… just kind of stands there. Yeah, they don’t make any effort to stop him… only a spectral figure of Cloud as a child… again not really explained, makes any effort.

When the inevitable happens, Aeris tries to comfort Cloud, only to have him jump on her and start beating the crap out of her… our hero everyone. When he’s not lying about his past to hide the shame of his personal failures, he’s beating up on women.

This is the major problem with Final Fantasy 7. It is edgy and it’s plot lines are interesting, but it never seems to follow through on them. Too little is explained and is up to the audience to figure out, and the whole thing just kind of becomes a muddled mess.

I will say that I was not a fan of the ending, but that may be more because of my personal bias against open endings.

So that’s pretty much my feelings on Final Fantasy 7. The characters are incredibly flawed to the point of unbelievably, the story is a mess and… really that’s all I can say about it. However I am someone who was a much bigger fan of Final Fantasy 8, so take that as you will. Of the Final Fantasies, 6(US) and 8 were the two best in my opinion. I never played any after X-2 due to 11 being an MMO and as I got older, I really didn’t have the time to put into them. So if you’re going to judge my taste, judge it on that.

Wait, wait, why did you like Final Fantasy 8 better?

Well honestly because despite being rushed into production thanks to FF7’s success, Final Fantasy 8 had a much more dynamic story, even more impressive graphics, and several twists and turns that made the game far more addictive. The characters were still pretty childish, but I had an easier time believing that these were teenagers… immature teenagers in some cases, but teens never the less.

The only major complaint I had was that its left up to the audience to figure out, despite being fairly obvious, who Squall’s parents were. (Hint: He shows up on the Ragnarok at the end of the game.) Also, up until X-2 came out, it had the best ending out of any Final Fantasy.

You actually liked X-2?

Haha… not really. The characters were annoying and the job system was flawed at best. I actually had to use a gameshark to get the 100% ending, but honestly… if you combine X and X-2 as one long story… the complete ending is actually very satisfying and wonderful.

So take that as you will. Final Fantasys 6(US) and 8 are the superior titles. Final Fantasy 7 isn’t a bad game by any stretch of the imagination, I just don’t think it’s as good as anyone remembers. It has very serious flaws that stick out more and more with each replay and sadly… its a major detractor in my opinion.

Will I play the remake? If I have time,  yeah I’d love to give it a try. Hopefully some of these things will be fixed and it’s not just a re-textured redress of the original.

Please don’t kill me!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

A Look Back: Airforce Delta Strike

I used to mention this game to people back in college and honestly… No one knew what I was talking about! I couldn’t believe it.

This game is nothing short of awesome.

Oh yeah, that brings back memories. This game was pretty much the perfect mesh of everything I loved:

Awesome story
Great Graphics
Dynamic Characters
Fantasy Universe
Full 3-D Freedom of Movement
Large landscapes
Multiple story-lines
Customization Aircraft
A Perfect combination of antique, modern, and futuristic craft.

Yeah you could fly anything from old WW2 prop planes all the way up to the most modern jets and even futuristic fighters… I’ll admit that I stayed away from the prop planes simply because they always seemed too slow to keep up with anything.

The story also tended to change and take shape around whatever pilots you chose to fly as. You can pretty much choose to fly as one the entire time, or choose between a few… personally I recommend sticking with two pilots where possible. If you change it up all the time and go to different squadrons… you wind up going from story to story and not really being able to keep track. Even so, the parts of the story you do get work pretty well.

So you’d fly multiple planetary missions that were awesome enough, but the game designers decided that everything they’d given you simply wasn’t enough… no no no!

Towards the end of the game, you wind up in space, fighting Endor-size missions against enemy fleets with your fighters modified to fly in orbit.

So what’s my overall rating?

I give this CLASSIC 9/10. It would get a perfect 10/10… however the story and the background strains my suspension of disbelief to the breaking point and your Commander Air Group is a bit of a wench, but its such a great game, that doesn’t bother me much.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim