Imagine a world where Androids handle all your mundane tasks, and war is waged without human lives on the line. Quantic Dream, best known for their previous titles Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain, have released their latest engaging story driven game, Detroit: Become Human – an unconventional title where the choices you make could reward or absolutely devastate you.
Detroit: Become Human is played out through the story of three different Androids – Connor, Marcus and Kara. Connor is a forensic detective assistant who works alongside Hank, a deadbeat cop who can’t stand the sight of androids. Connor and Hank are tasked with finding the root cause of some androids deviating from their programming and becoming self-aware, leading to the deaths of several humans, failing to adhere to the first law of robotics – “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.”
Marcus is the carer to an esteemed Artist, who’s death leads him to become a Deviant. Realizing that androids have the ability to live their own lives, with their own choices, he joins a rebellion and ends up leading the uprising against their human overlords.
Kara, the only female lead in the story, takes the role of a domestic worker, who, when threatened with her life decides to break free from the shackles of her oppression and head out in the human world to look for freedom where she can start her own life as an individual.
The unique story lines of each character play out in small chapters where you alternate between them after each major plot point has been played. Quantic Dream have done a brilliant job of branching these stories into many permutations to enjoy. If you decide to treat other characters with hostility and contempt, it can lead to negative relationships and plot points playing out in the other characters concurrent story lines. At the end of each chapter you’ll be prompted with a flow chart that shows you the path you took and allows you to see what percent of other players in the world have chosen the same path, something that almost seems like a social experiment of sorts.
The world of Detroit: Become Human is brilliantly crafted, with populated cityscapes and vivid scenery seen at each stage of the game. Everything from the astonishingly authentic characters, who are based on real life actors, to their hours of dialogue show that Quantic Dream spent as much time as they could, perfecting everything down to the smallest detail. The game is also enhanced by the PS4 Pro leading to some of the best graphics we’ve seen on console to date. This combined with a magnificent soundtrack that perfectly suites each character’s arc, leads to a very polished game.
While many aspects of Detroit: Become Human are outstanding, the gameplay mechanics are left far behind compared to the depth of the ever-changing storyline. There are positives such as the detective mode, where you can pause time and observe the room in 360 degrees of freedom, looking for clues and interactions around you. There are also scenes where your characters can predict the outcome of different pathways, whereby you can execute the one of your choice. The biggest problem with the game is its control scheme and the way in which actions are done. Everything your character interacts with has to be done via moving a thumbstick around or pressing combinations of your triggers on your controllers. While in quick time action sequences this can help build up the tension and lead to an exhilarating scene, at other times it becomes annoying and repetitive. Opening doors shouldn’t be something of a hassle, but rather the press of a button. Another complaint is that the thumbsticks are used for both moving the camera as well as interaction. This reminds me of the flaw seen in Final Fantasy XV where the jump and action buttons are both the same, leading to some awkward slip ups.
I understand that Quantic Dream want to immerse the player in their world, but it feels like they’ve forgotten that at its core, this is still a game. Some scenes of the game, such as Kara’s opening chapter, force you to do long time-consuming tasks such as cleaning a house. Every single action needs to be performed one at a time, and it feels more like a filler than something that actually adds to the game.
This leads me directly into the replay-ability of this title. While Quantic Dream encourage you to replay the entire experience and try to lead your characters into a different direction on each play, the gameplay mechanics are the exact reason I can’t get myself to finish a second playthrough. I’d rather discuss the game with friends and compare the outcome of my story than have to sit through the most laborious, time consuming scenes such as placing dishes in the sink and scrubbing them with my gamepad. If I wanted to do chores such as cook, clean and take out the trash, I’d do that in real life and not in a game, but let’s be real here… Who wants to do chores?
While Detroit: Become Human’s roughly 10 hours of gameplay may not be a constant bombardment of entertainment throughout, its story and level of detail outweighs its flaws. It’s hard to review it as a game when it feels more like an interactive, well directed movie or series. Detroit: Become Human constantly makes you question your morals and reminds you that the decisions you make may lead to drastic consequences. If you’re looking an adrenaline fix then this isn’t for you, but if you enjoy well-crafted stories and narratives then I recommend you buy this game.
Release Date : 25 May 2018 | Reviewed On : PlayStation 4 Pro