Developer: Quantic Dream
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment (PS4) / Quantic Dream (PC)
Release Date: May 25 2018 (PS4) / December 12 2019 (PC)
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows
Detroit: Become Human is what I like to call a Choice-Based Game. In a futuristic version of Detroit, filled with androids that work for humans, they start to become self-aware through trauma, and gain the desire to be free. It’s up to you to choose how to deal with the rise of androids. Will you walk the path of co-existence between androids and humans or will you annihilate the humans who once treated you as slaves? Your choice.
This game, as many people like to say, is a “playable movie”. All you do is basically walk around and interact with things. Your interactions will give you options and your choices will solidify what happens in the game. You can even skip entire chapters of the game, depending on your choices. You can play with 3 different androids: Kara, a housemaid from an abusive family; Connor, an android detective who hunts other androids who have turned deviant, and Markus, who can fight android oppression peacefully or violently, based on your input.
The beginning of the game can be quite slow-paced for some, but its tutorials explain how the system works extremely well, and it has some minor choices for you to make, just to show you that they matter later on. After that, the scope of the game becomes a lot wider, with choices made at the beginning having huge impact later on without you knowing at the time. Not only this game has many endings, but the middle of the game also changes accordingly to your initial choices. And, be careful; if you die with one of your androids, the story can still continue without them, so the game won’t load a checkpoint for you to “fix” your death.
It’s probably already evident from what I wrote before, but this is a point that needs to be entirely clear. If you’re not the type of player who cares for a game’s story, this game isn’t for you. The gameplay itself is minimal, and the most crucial part of this game is the story. Speaking of which, the plot is extremely gorgeous from beginning to end, and it can be either happy or sad, with some endings even being rather unsatisfying, depending on your choices. The story goes one way if you’re good to others, it goes another way if you’re bad to others, and even if you’re successful or not on your missions (if you fail a mission, the story simply goes on and you’ll have to deal with the consequences of your failure).
The characters are extremely well-written, too. I’ve played multiple times already, and I still can’t tell if I prefer Markus or Connor myself. The scope of the game grows so much, fighting for android freedom, that this was the first time in these type of games which I made choices that could kill me just for the sake of secondary characters. The game truly gives you the feeling of fighting for something bigger than yourself. It’s simply unique.
Another interesting take on these choices, is how they affect the people around you. You’ll often have other characters with you, and your relationship with them alters the unfolding story. One particular thing about this game, unlike others of the genre, is that you don’t need to act an specific way to be friends with a certain character. Depending on your relationship with them, you can actually convince them to see things your way, although not everyone can change their minds about everything. Or, you can just be friends with different opinions. That makes these companions seem realistic and the interactions more immersive, since you can leave a great impact on them just like they can do the same with you.
Detroit: Become Human is the perfect choice for those who like games with a great story; you’ll have an experience solely influenced by your choices. There’s plenty of replabaility to be had from replaying the title over and over, changing your choices just to see how things can change. The content of this game can be a bit mature, since it talks about child abuse, slavery and how far people go with androids just for them not being “alive”. But, the way they tackle these issues does make for a intense experience. Prepare yourself to shed some tears.