Despite what pundits think about David Cage and his directorial style when it comes to video games, his projects with Quantic Dream never seem to fail at providing a polarizing reaction. This time it’s with Detroit: Become Human, a sci-fi look at slavery.
What Is It?
Detroit: Become Human takes place 20 years from now, where the invention of androids have resulted in the United States having an unemployment rate of 37%. In addition to simple labor, humans have invested in androids to essentially be servants with skills ranging from simple maid work to more complicated detective work.
The game puts you in the shoes of three androids. There’s Connor, who’s essentially a glorified crime scene investigator; Kara, a housekeeper; and Markus, another servant who eventually seeks to lead a revolution in the hopes of getting androids equal rights.
Different circumstances lead these androids to live their lives in ways you wouldn’t think, making this one of Quantic Dream’s more engaging stories.
Why Should I Care?
The game starts off hot as you use Connor to investigate a case where an android shoots up a family and has a little girl at gunpoint at the roof of a condominium building. It’s here where you orient yourself with the game’s controls and some of the nuances in the connect-the-dots kind of gameplay you’ll be enjoying as Connor.
If you haven’t played a Quantic Dream game before, the main thing you have to know is that this game is pretty much a long interactive cutscene–Detroit: Become Human, like every other Quantic Dream game, is a walking simulator that makes Telltale games look adolescently simple.
So aside from pressing the wrong button in a quicktime event, don’t expect much of a challenge as far as active gameplay. Just as Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls were, the game is all about the choices you make and your attention to detail with the various environments you’re in. Except this time, you have access to a flowchart so you’re able to get a glimpse of all the possible outcomes for all the choices there are to make. They all start off fairly short, but once you get further into the story, the charts become all the more complicated, and this is where things start to get disorienting.
As stated, the game starts off hot. I thoroughly enjoyed the beginning of the game, but once you get to the meat of the game where Markus’ story takes its turn, things escalate way too quickly, and funny thing is this is the norm when you’re dealing with a David Cage game.
Quantic Dream deserves all the credit in the world for making a narrative and decision-based game that takes as many twists and turns as it does, but once again, an awkward and head-scratching middle portion of the game significantly brings down the otherwise great storytelling the game had.
That isn’t to say the game or story as a whole is bad. There are definitely some interesting issues the game goes over, particularly domestic assault, child abuse, the advancement of technology leading to economic downturn, and of course–slavery. I’m not gonna sit here and say that each of these issues were gone over with absolute grace, as some are delved deeper than others, and I’m not even including the fact that the end results in the plot change the landscape dramatically. That said, the game will definitely tug at your emotions in different ways with each of the main characters whether or not they’re living at the end of the game, and that easily makes the game worth experiencing.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
Definitively saying Detroit: Become Human is worth $60 is tough. There’s a glaring flaw for nearly every aspect the game succeeds at, and with that, it’s tough to argue against the game’s overall look as well as the 8 or so hours of enjoyment there are to be had. It’s certainly no Horizon or God of War, but Detroit is definitely a fantastic-looking game with perhaps the most lifelike player models yet in its own right. No other developer goes into the “choose your own path” details as much as Quantic Dream, and Detroit definitely lives up to the buzz that Cage’s projects usually produce–whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to you.