Question: In this world, we think we are making choices, but is it just karma playing out?
You can never trick consciousness itself. If you behave wrongly, then karma is formed as an imprint in the mind. If you look at the example of Shri Krishna, He always worked for the larger cause only. He travelled about Bharata Varsha and worked for the larger cause. I have often said on this, that if you live for yourself, that is 'Life', but if you live for a larger cause, that is 'Mission'.
You will find comparisons of various behaviours in the lives of Shri Rama and Shri Krishna. They teach us lessons and what happens when we behave in certain ways. These are all lessons for humanity, but humanity fails to learn.