Developer: Quantic Dream
Release Date: 5/25/2018
ESRB/PEGI: M/PEGI 18
MSRP: $59.99 USD
The future is here…the future is now. What if androids could service your every need, want, and desire? What if androids replaced humans? What if androids could develop human emotions, thought and logic and fight for their own freedoms and rights? The story of Detroit: Become Human explores all three of these simple, but philosophical questions along with a lot more and the context in the grey.
In Detroit: Become Human, you play as three androids: Connor, a straight-laced by-the-book android investigator; Kara, a simple housekeeper searching for a better life, and Markus, an android escaping to unite other androids against the system. While all three androids have different ambitions and goals, each story is defined with depth, meaning, sorrow, and every emotion in between and everything else dependent on player choice and how he/she wants the story to go.
The presentation department of Detroit doesn’t come up short at all. The city of Detroit is represented as accurately as the developers were able to make it and it looks exquisite even without all the things the city of Detroit has due to obvious copyright reasons because acquiring the usage of brands like Ford would cost a boatload. Quantic Dream’s vision of what Detroit could look like in in 20 years or so gives off a realistic vibe of Detroit itself. In some areas like downtown, you’ve got your shops and other areas, there are run down homes and other dilapidated areas. As you progress through the game, you’ll be jumping in between characters’ timelines and ahead and the weather in the city changes with you and that level of detail is a positive.
The voice cast of the game does an excellent job of getting into character. For example, Bryan Dechart (Connor) tones Connor in a simple, yet orderly way. Connor is that goody-two-shoes kind of guy who doesn’t want to step on anyone’s toes and just do his job. Jesse Williams (Markus) starts off as an obedient son figure to an elderly man but after an incident, he becomes a rebellious figure looking to unite the androids together to fight the system and after that transformation, Williams pulls off both an empathetic and aggressive tone excellently. Whether a side or main character, everyone pools their talents together to pull off quality acting. The only nitpick I noted was Connor being a little bland at times, especially if players are going the diplomatic by-the-book route. I didn’t have any real complaints with either Williams or Valorie Curry (Kara).
If you’re familiar with Heavy Rain or Beyond Two Souls, then you’re no stranger to the gameplay here. The frame of reference is similar because all three games were made by Quantic Dream and written by David Cage. Cage is known for writing these kinds of heartstring narratives that give players options and ways to play.
For example, if you want to be rebellious and go against the order, you can. You’re given free reign as what you can do with the story. Even the intro tells you it’s not just a story.
Though with this system, as in other QD games, there are repercussions to your decisions. It plays out like cause and effect in some ways.
From the start, every level has a flowchart that tracks your every choice within the game and every choice leads to a conclusion or multiple possible conclusions. Minor characters people interact with also interweave their way in this system. Dialogue decisions become important because the choices you make can either improve or decline your relationships with certain side characters and certain decisions you make in the game can cause an impact possibly down the road.
The good thing here is the game’s replay value. Say for example in playthrough one you were able to save a hostage without risking your own life. Okay, in the next run, you could either risk your life to save the same hostage or let outside forces do the dirty work for you. The flowchart system isn’t a bad idea, because it gives the player multiple ways to multiple conclusions. The only problem I have with it is that sometimes you’re forced into situations where there’s only one way to do things and in a game based around player choice and even player morality and ethicality, being confined to one outcome sometimes is constricting.
The other borrowed concept from the other QD games of the last couple generations are QTEs or quick-time-events. At times, you’ll have QTEs that sometimes greatly impact your experience later. The QTEs for the most part can be simple but also require some fast reflexes, but if you’re familiar to QTEs, then this won’t be an issue. Something new within Detroit is that sometimes you’ll be able to choose either the safe, but longer route or risky and fast route. Without giving anything major away obviously, this is another form of semi-QTE that hands you player choice that has causal effect. If you decide to go the risky route, you’ll be on top of a criminal or get to a destination fast, but if you choose the safe route, you allow the possibility of someone getting away or failing a potentially causal effect objective.
Overall, Detroit: Become Human is a visually stunning game with a strong tripod narrative that can crisscross its’ way through itself. While gameplay isn’t anything too revolutionary, that isn’t bad, even to newbies of these kinds of games. While it does force players down some narrow narrative corridors, the game at its’ core is fully immersive with player choice and causal effects from said choices. The flowchart system is a great tracking system of the choices you made in one playthrough and lets you experiment on how you want ways to go a second or third time through the game. It took me roughly 10-15 hours to finish and while I was mostly satisfied with my decisions, going back through again becomes a main priority to see and experience everything else along the way. If you want a simple gameplay experience that tells a driven open-ended narrative that bends to your will and morals, then Detroit: Become Human is a game that delivers in spades.
FINAL SCORE: 9