Detroit: Become Human Review
Detroit: Become Human is set in near-future Detroit, where androids work in domestic and commercial environments. Detroit’s heritage as America’s motor city and a home for industry and manufacture makes it the perfect setting for Quantic Dream’s latest project. Their latest adventure is set in the near-future metropolis of Detroit during the year 2038. A city that has been rejuvenated by the invention of androids, and their introduction into domestic and commercial environments. It’s when androids start behaving as if they are alive; events begin to spiral out of control.
You get to step into the roles of the story’s three playable android characters, Kara, Connor and Markus. Each of these androids has their own unique perspectives as they face their new way of life. Throughout the game, you get to co-write the story through their actions and yours.
You start the game as Connor, a CyberLife advanced Police investigator and Negotiator and one that you all probably know from the E3 gameplay and recently the demo that is available on the PS Store. It’s Connors objective to assist humans in the hunt for deviant androids that have gone rogue. Connor has the ability to scan his environment and search for clues and can even recreate events that has happened, so to better understand what happened on his current case. To perform a reconstruct, physical and circumstantial details must first be analysed. Like analysing bullet wounds or blood splatter on a floor or wall. This is done by moving the camera through the scene and pressing triangle on the clues. Once Connor has all the data analysed, he can then hit the square button to reconstruct what occurred and use the L2 and R2 buttons to recreate the events that took place. Recreating certain events will open up new dialogue and narrative options for you. This is where Connor is unique when compared to other androids.
The other two playable androids Kara and Markus have their own stories too. Markus is an android who wants to stand up for the freedom of these deviant androids that are being targeted by the likes of Connor and Kara is a ‘deviant’ android that follows her own story that merges between Markus and Connor. How these situations all play out will be down to your own experience by the choices you make as you play through the story. This is a great feature that I loved, as with each play-through and due to your current choices, there are consequences to those choices.
The gameplay is rather simple and is more in line with a Tell-tale adventure game, where you walk around and view and interact with objects in a set location. At times you will need to use the motion sensor or trigger buttons and the analog sticks in tandem when doing an action. For instance; when you need to pick up something heavy, or something as simple as washing dishes or reading a book. The use of the buttons and the motion sensor work well together and it gives the actions a little variety, so never feel like you are going through the motions to further the story along. In addition to moving your current android around and interacting with objects, Detroit: Become Human does contains those exciting moments where you have to make quick choices that can directly affect your character. If you are too slow to choose, a default option is selected which can sometimes lead to death, whether it’s your own or some close to you. This can also affect the story and how it’s told, which adds to the replay value that much more.
Whatever choices you make, you are always left wondering, did I make the correct one? You sometimes are left with a feeling of regret or uneasiness wondering if you did the right then. It’s these little thoughts you have that make the game so intriguing to play and re-play. To help you keep track of your decisions and choices, the developers have kindly added in a flowchart. This chart shows up at the end of each chapter and highlights your choices that you made. It also shows you any choice you didn’t make or may have missed, but hides it behind a red lock. This way the game won’t spoil or ruin any of the different outcomes that may occur from your future play-throughs. You can also replay from certain points and make different choices too, which is a nice addition, as can save some time if you want to experience the other outcomes you may have missed. There is more, but I dare spoil anything for you, until you get a chance to play through yourself.
Detroit: Become Human strong point is definitely the story, as it works so well with the characters you meet who are interesting from beginning to end. The added twist that you can give through your play-through for each scene makes the story even more intriguing and pushes you forward to find out what will happen next. While the game is short and linear, about roughly 11 hours or so, once you got through all the different choices that are available, you are looking at least 35+ hours of gameplay.
Detroit: Become Human is not the most beautiful game to grace the PlayStation 4, but there are moments that really shine through and they complement the story perfectly. The environments, the lighting, the animations, everything looks crisp and clean. To coincide with the games graphics is the acting from the characters that you meet in game. Many of them you will know and some you may not, but each of them provides a strong and believable performance. While mentioning how great the acting is, you are reminded that the animation is not always on par. At times you will notice that the lip syncing does not match with the characters voices. While this is a small issue, it does stand out a bit, which is due to the games incredibly realistic way it’s represented. These flaws and imperfections just get that much noticed when playing. In regard to the animations, there are also times when your character you are controlling can sometimes get stuck on a piece of the environment, whether it’s a table, sofa or bed. Other times it can be the placement of your character when entering a room or moving to another room. Like I said, it’s a small issue that won’t ruin your time playing the game, but is worth noting.
The city of Detroit also deserves a mention, with the world looking alive and even seeing the reflections in windows and on wet streets. The NPCs that roam the streets all genuine look like they have somewhere to go and something to do. The developers really put a lot of attention to the quality and details in this near-future Detroit city. When talking about how well the game looks, what really immerses you into the game is the soundtrack. Detroit’s music in game manages to balance everything with it and the way that the music accompanies the scenes is nigh on perfection. Emotions are heightened by a beautiful violin when you are treated to a scene that’s filled with such emotion (no spoilers…) and when it comes to an action scene, it’s a bass booming sound with some gentle tones mixed with it. Almost every piece of music is like an extension of your hand and I’ve yet to experience another game with this much effort put into its musical score. It has to be experienced to truly appreciate what has been achieved.
Detroit: Become Human may not be to everyone’s liking, but when it comes to a narrative story like this, you will find it hard to beat. With an ethical issue within the story and how it’s laid out in front of you based on your choices. It’s hard not to feel a bit remorseful of what decisions you made throughout your time playing. I’ve really found it hard to write this review without dropping in a few spoilers here and there. Thankfully, I’ve managed to get by without a single spoiler…. or have I?
Detroit: Become Human is a game I loved playing. The story you co-write as you play really gets you hooked and wanting to come back for more and try out the different choices. Quantum Dream has done an amazing job with the story-telling and with the futuristic city in which it’s told. It’s a gripping tale that is ambitious and thrilling. The graphics and characters expressions and emotions ooze from every scene, while gripping you at those tense moments. While it’s not without its issues, the game is a must for any fan of great story-telling and a fan of Quantum Dream and their games.
GoG Rating: 8/10
* Review copy provided free of charge by Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe *