Everything you pick is logged in the police unless you disable the automatic feature through a puzzle. Then you choose what’s logged. What you pick up (show to yourself) vs what you don’t and what you log vs what you don’t is critical for choosing a main plot.
Iirc picking up or not the photo at the beginning of the game puts you up in a replicant vs. no replicant path that is very hard to move from later on.
There were many subtle ways to influence the plot from the beginning. But they were subtle. It took a lot of playing to start seeing the patterns. I did get all endings back in the day, and some of them you definitely can’t reload a late game save to choose.
Edit: While I never used a guide when playing it, I just looked for an ending guide to see whether
or not, since I was curious on whether the game managed to fool me and was indeed way simpler. Turns out most endings are dependent on both random replicant generation and stuff you do in act I and III (out of V), so you do need to play from the beginning to access different paths. Seems to be three main paths the story can go on and then variations of those. And that guide is missing some endings at least.
It is a pretty complex game. I think the approach to story is unorthodox in that you have an unreliable protagonist, and since it’s a game, that puts the player in the position of being an unreliable player, which is pretty unique, and I guess can be very off putting to many people who don’t connect with the approach. The main character’s motivations are what you decide they were at the point of decision, and before they sort of could be several options. In the above secret ending you are saving replicants, so you might be sympathizing with them, but if you decide to ultimately kill them, you were not sympathizing, but using them to get them all. It’s ambiguity in interactive form. You need to bring an interpretation to the events to fully make sense of the plot you are deciding to go through (much like the movie, btw), since the game refuses to say what’s what clearly most of the time. You can really decide who that guy is.
In a way, it’s like film editing. A scene changed in place in time or put before a different scene can change meaning even if the content is the same.
Again, I think it’s a brilliant approach to storytelling, at least for me. I can see it’s not for everybody. It was groundbreaking and foretold a lot of the developments in the adventure space to come in the later years, but few other projects have been as complex.