Steve (anton_p_nym) wrote,
Steve
anton_p_nym

How I egregiously failed as a pretend cop. #DeusEx

At long last I am playing Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the latest entry in the DE franchise of games, and once again it showed me something I don't particularly like about myself but have to admit that is there.

In the game you play a cybernetically-Augmented member of an Interpol task force, and former beat cop from Detroit, named Adam Jensen. At one point you arrive at the apartment Adam is renting while on assignment in Prague to find police tape closing the laneway to one entrance, with bystanders and rubberneckers crowding the line. If you investigate, you find a detective and a rattled witness beside the grisly remains of a reporter killed by brute-force removal of her cybernetic implants.

[Do not read this if you want to play the Harvester mission unspoiled.]The witness refuses to talk to the police, fearing consequences and objecting the police are corrupt and biased against Augmented citizens. The detective bluntly admits as much when asked, saying he is being pressured by his superiors to arrest the reporter's husband and treat the homicide as another case of domestic violence but that the case reminds him of other recent cases unsolved by other officers. The detective, however, has no resources to pursue these leads and dares not risk angering the powers-that-be when only two months away from earning his pension. So, naturally, I volunteered to investigate.

There's a nice mini-game of checking the crime scene for forensics, showing such unusual items as a tuft of bear fur, fragments from an EMP grenade, the tip of a syringe, and broken glasses... as well as a partial fingerprint on the throat of the body. One bystander interviewed volunteers that the reporter had written articles critical of a local politician running for office on a virulently anti-Augmentation platform, though the Augmented bystander is obviously biased against the politician.

Interviewing the husband shows no signs of domestic violence and (if you're observant) that both his hands are cybernetic and so cannot leave fingerprints. Meanwhile, interviewing the politician shows he has no alibi and, while he claims no particular malice regarding the victim but rather that her reporting only raised his profile among his supporters, he does indeed espouse anti-Aug rhetoric. (Albeit soft-peddled in the presence of an obviously-Augmented officer of the law.) Further investigation of his campaign office shows a bear head mounted over a bed in the basement with shackles anchored to its headboard (the staff grumble about needing more soundproofing for the basement if they don't know you're listening) and signs he is being blackmailed by Augmented prostitutes.

I took the evidence back to the detective and he asked my opinion of who should be the lead suspect; the husband, the politician, or that there was no known candidate. Knowing the husband could not have been the killer, and going with the circumstantial evidence I had, I directed the detective to investigate the politician because I feared that without a definite suspect the detective would have to arrest an obviously innocent man.

And that was my horrible mistake. I let politics interfere with the investigation and, to exonerate one man, ended up accusing a man who was innocent of the crime. Much later on in the game the perpetrator turns out to be the glasses-wearing reluctant witness, though due to enormously-extenuating circumstances she has a very good shot at a diminished capacity defence.


So, yeah; however much I may see myself as a decent sort, I just got pushed into thinking like a bad cop. That's not a nice space to find inside your head, even if it's all in make-believe.

-- Steve sees a lot of narrative holes in Deus Ex, but there are plenty of treasures there too.
Tags: deus ex, games, justice, video games
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