Renowned for their interactive story-based adventure games, Quantic Dream have now created four titles in the genre they have moulded more than any other studio. They have learned what works and what does not, so were they able to piece the best of their previous titles into Detroit: Become Human?
Set in Detroit in the year 2038, androids are commonplace, selling for as little as $899 and have the ability to perform a slew of tasks. From caretakers to security guards and even delve into the taboo. The world is on the brink of World War Three with countries at war over minerals, the economy crashing, and the dislike of androids and them taking the jobs of humans on the rise.
You play as three characters; Kara, a common housemaid android, Markus, a domestic android and Connor a state-of-the-art prototype investigation android. Each character has their own unique gameplay modes and back stories, with each one as interesting as the other. Not once was I upset to be playing a different character, as for the first time, Quantic Dream have achieved a great balance in the narrative and gameplay. Connor and Markus appear to have more action and technical abilities and this reflects in their missions. Connor investigates and analyses a crime scene before attempting further objectives, however Markus has to be quick on his feet, with the ability to scan traversal routes to determine which will be most successful. Kara’s story also features elements of this but focuses more on a relationship with the child she was hired to care for, Alice; almost a struggling mother story.
Talking through the story beats would ruin the game, so I will try to be vague, and only touch upon non-spoiler plot points in the early portions of the game if need be. The overview is something is causing androids to become sentient and start to think for themselves and no one knows why.
The first thing I was blown away by was the look of the game, it has the most realistic character models ever, they are clearly scanned actors with the clever casting of Bishop (Lance Henriksen) from Alien as the aged artist who encourages the free thought of his android Markus. The environments also look fantastic, but it’s clear that Quantic Dream has focused on the character models more than everything else, but it works really well. The soundtrack is also stunning, soothing at stages and intense at others. It is gentle, but poignant at the scenes that require it most.
Quantic Dream lift the veil a little at the amount of options and the scenarios that could have played out with the introduction of the “Flowchart” at the end of every chapter. You may feel as though this breaks the fourth wall and ruins the magic, however this is not the case. It simply blows your mind as to how many ways things could go. The options are redacted until you achieve them, and the game gives you the ability to replay once completed. There are scenes in the game you will never see depending on how you play.
Despite being a single-player only game, the amount of replay value is tremendous. There are so many ways you can finish the scenes, and so many clues you can pick up that will allow you to take different actions. One of the chapters lasted a long time, a scene with Kara and Alice looking for a place to stay, and when it finished I had only seen 20% of it! What makes it even more mind boggling is that the scenes that ensue change depending on the choices you made.
Pacing is great too, the balance between action and fast pace scenes as well as the slower and more intimate scenes is perfect. Keeping you moving from the back of your seat to the edge throughout the entire game and an overall length of 10-12 hours is respectable on your first playthrough.
It isn’t flawless though; dialogue options can feel disjointed at times. Your character may be calm in one sentence and then shouting in the next. I also disliked the way the choices of dialogue are labelled too, such as “pragmatic”, “calm”, “positive” etc. As you never know what will be said, and at least half of the time not what you intended when you selected it. The other major flaw was the camera and the actions are all mapped to the right analog stick. This leads to awkward sections when you are moving the camera to line up with the action prompt and fail the action because you were only meaning to line up the camera and not interact with the object. The camera rotation option was not present in Heavy Rain and was limited in Beyond: Two Souls, so I commend Quantic Dream for implementing it. It is much more useful than it is an irritant.
David Cage and Quantic Dream have created their best game yet. Taking all the best points from the prior titles and implementing them to near perfection. Stunning visuals, beautiful soundtrack, great actors and a gripping story with interesting game elements and a fully realised world. Detroit Become Human does so many clever things, and many you can only experience if you play the entire story, some of its themes are subtle and others not so much. If you enjoyed Heavy Rain but then lost interest, this is the game to get back into the genre, or you’ve always been curious about these titles, I would recommend picking it up.
- Replay Value