Detroit Become Human is set in the near future, android technology has been perfected and they are indistinguishable from humans apart from a small LED on the side of their heads. Androids are completely subservient to humans and are used for everything from housekeeping, city maintenance and even brothels. Everything seemed to be going well until a small amount of androids became ‘deviant’ and turned on their masters, in some cases killing them. The story follows 3 androids, each with their own agenda, trying to achieve their goals in a world that hates them.
Detroit Become Human opens with Connor, a prototype android detective who has been partnered with an alcoholic old-school Cop who happens to have an intense hatred for androids ….cue drama. Next we have Kara, a housekeeping android that lives with a young girl and her drug addicted, abusive father. Finally, we follow Markus, another prototype android who cares for a very wealthy elderly artist who treats him like a son. An android becomes a deviant for a range of reasons, with the main cause being witnessing an injustice, either to themselves or to someone they have grown to care about. The choices made early on determine whether Markus and Kara become deviant (although it would be a pretty short game if they didn’t). The bulk of the game follows Connor, who will do anything to accomplish his mission of deducing why deviant behaviour happens, Kara and her search for a safe place for her and the child and Markus, who is looking for others that have become deviant. The way the game plays out is based completely on the decisions made by the player and therein lies the heart of the game.
Many, many games promise that the decisions made will shape how the game plays out but most fail to deliver. The changes are usually superfluous to the main story of the game or ultimately lead to similar outcomes regardless of the choices made. Anyone who has played a Quantic Dream game before will know that Detroit Become Human means what it says; the decisions made really do affect the story and the outcome of the game which makes every choice crucial and truly meaningful. An example of this happens very early on; as I mentioned earlier, the game follows 3 androids as each aim to achieve their ultimate goals but if the player makes a very early bad decision with Kara and Markus, both could be written out of the story completely! This may seem a little extreme but is necessary to demonstrate the player just how important their choices are.
Anyone who has played Quantic Dreams other titles, Heavy Rain or Beyond 2 Souls, will find the gameplay very similar. The game is an interactive story, not unlike the Telltale games, so those looking for fast paced action are in the wrong place. Not to say there is no action in the game, but it is executed in the form of quick time events, which are not always popular. Each character is controlled with the left stick and the right stick is used to interact with the environment. This may be investigating a crime scene as Connor, finding supplies as Kara or traversing difficult terrain as Markus as well as speaking to NPC characters to obtain information. As mentioned before, every decision is paramount so it may mean that finding a certain clue or saying the right thing to an NPC will have an effect in later conversations or actions. An example of this is perhaps saving a certain android early on in the game, to then have it save you in return several chapters later. If the android was missed or left behind, it will not be there to save you, sending the story off on another arc. Each chapter has an accompanying flow chart that shows each possible branch and outcome, although they are locked until they are experienced. This mechanic gives the game a huge amount of replay value as there are literally hundreds of options throughout the whole game.
The story of Detroit Become Human is, in my opinion, incredibly moving yet very tough to watch at times. It is not for the faint-hearted as it touches on some very sensitive subject such as rape, child abuse and torture; although I feel it is dealt with in a very sensitive way. The game does an amazing job of rounding the characters and making the player feel for them, in part due to the excellent acting skills of the entire cast. You grow to care about the characters and truly want them to achieve their goals, making every wrong decision or lost character feel gut-wrenching. The story is ultimately about freedom and how far people will go to avoid oppression and to defend themselves and it is hard not to be drawn in the world that Quantic Dreams has created. Androids of this calibre may be a long way off but it raises interesting questions of artificial intelligence and what it means to be alive.
As for the look of the game, Detroit Become Human is absolutely jaw-dropping in every aspect and is up there with God of War and Horizon Zero Dawn as one of the most beautiful games I have ever seen. The characters are amazingly detailed and look identical to their real life counterparts. Every pore and every hair is so meticulous that this is a close to playing a movie as I have ever felt. The environments are resplendent, from futuristic apartments to the snowy streets of downtown Detroit, everything feels rich and alive. This game has set the current bar for facial animations, with every blink, twitch and expression expertly rendered to bring the characters to life.
Detroit Become Human is difficult to review in that there are few games out there of its kind. It will not appeal to everyone, but for anyone who enjoys a rich, heartfelt story should definitely give it a try. It requires a commitment and patience to play a game that relies so heavily on the story but if you put in the time and allow yourself to be immersed, this is an experience like no other.
- Deep Story.
- Well Acted.
- Visually Stunning.
- Lots of Replay Value.
- Game Style May Not Appeal To Everyone.