For a recap on why this is a 3-part review, please see my post of two weeks ago, here.
The last character we will play, introduced in the third chapter, is Kara. We meet her when Todd, her soon-to-be owner, purchases her to be a nanny and housekeeper for his daughter, Alice. Todd is a low-life. He blames Alice for his wife leaving him and he blames androids for taking his job. Now, he sits around the house being a slob, doing drugs and frequently beating his daughter because she’s really at fault for him being a jerk. Right away, we are lead to believe that Kara is a replacement for a similar android that he beat to the breaking point. When Kara sees Alice being beaten again, it’s time for Kara to break out of her programming and develop emotions.
Unlike Marcus, where I held back and didn’t attack Carl’s son, this sequence brought out the violent side of my personality; I was quick to defend the child. This leads to some fast paced button mashing in order to get the upper hand on Todd. I felt no guilt whatsoever when the gun went off and Todd died. (I hope this doesn’t paint a terrible picture about me, but I can’t stand seeing people abusing children!) Anyway, this sends Kara and Alice on the run. Through their trials, they go in search of help and meet a mad scientist, Zlatko, who brutalizes androids. It’s an utterly unnerving part of the game: Kara is held in place and is about to be the latest in a long line of his experiments. Zlatko takes Alice away to who knows what ends, but Kara gets free. Here we also meet Luther, Zlatko’s aide. He too is an android. With Luther’s help, we get to turn the tables on Zlatko in another fantastic “defeat the monster” moment. Later, during their travels, the find an disused amusement park which leads to a very creepy encounter. (It’s incredible how much of Kara’s story is steeped in horror!)
Now, while these escapes feel pretty evident from the point of view of not killing off main characters early in the game, that doesn’t mean decisions don’t have weight. I will have to play again and force myself to make different decisions to see how the game changes, but there is an impact to the choices you make. I lost Luther for instance, and I mentioned during my write up for Conner that I had to go back and re-do the last mission because I was horrified by the way I played it the first time. I got Connor killed in about 3 seconds of his part of the final chapter and he does not come back – in essence, I lost an entire part of the story because I didn’t press the right buttons. You have to pay attention! In Kara’s case, her story is the only one that even after two play-throughs (of the final mission) I have been unable to save. She died and I was heartbroken. Of all the characters we get to play, she was my favorite because I felt like I had a real purpose. I wasn’t avenging an entire race or investigating a murder: I was protecting a child at all costs.
The thing is, there’s a moment in her story where I think I need to make a different choice. She is trying to get out of town and needs a train ticket. A couple, with their infant child, drop theirs and Kara picks it up. On my first playthrough, I gave the ticket back. On my second playthrough, I did not give it back and I felt sick. When the opportunity arises to give it back a second time, I gave in and returned the ticket. In both scenarios, this leads to another escape route which I could not survive which makes me feel that very uncomfortable feeling that I may need to keep the ticket if I want to keep them alive. So yes, I will be replaying the game once more, and making that sickening decision to prevent another family from escaping.
Kara is played by Valorie Curry and looks just like her. Her story eventually coincides with everyone else but I can’t say if there is any way to really save them all. I believe there’s got to be a way and I’ll have to go back to the game once more to try to make that happen. While many games have made me feel good upon completing them, this one made me feel invested. I had genuine concern for the characters and wanted to help them. Their plight was my plight. I’ve loved games like Mass Effect or the Elder Scrolls games, but they link in with an emotion dominated by heroism. This was raw, real emotion.
We’ve seen the trailer for the game and you’ve met Chloe. As Kara was my favorite character, I’ll wrap this up with a pre-game clip of her creation. Remember, don’t make the mistake I did and wait to get this game; dive in and get invested now. Enjoy. ML