Detroit: Become Human
Developer: Quantic Dream
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Release Date: May 25, 2018
An auteur of story-driven interactive adventures, David Cage and his studio Quantic Dream are well-known for their choice-driven walking simulators such as Fahrenheit, Heavy Rain and Beyond. In 2012, Quantic Dream released a short film titled “Kara” where an android of the same name becomes self-aware while being assembled in the factory. The tech demo, with its ground-breaking visuals and animations, quickly generated buzz all throughout the gaming world. Fast forward six years and we have Detroit: Become Human, a full-fledged PS4 exclusive derived from the tech demo with Kara remaining as one of the three protagonists.
In the world of Detroit, it is 2038. Not much has changed except the advent of a new tech company called CyberLife who have built humanoid robots that are virtually capable of doing and being anything – from housemaids and construction workers to even your children! As expected, this leads to an unemployment rate of over 37% in the U.S. which in turn, leads to the formation of many anti-android protest groups. On the other hand, the excessively advanced AI of the Androids are causing many Androids to break their programming, developing consciousness and becoming deviants.
Detroit: Become Human tells the tale of three CyberLife Androids in this grim, futuristic universe. The game starts off with Connor, a detective android who has been assigned to solve all the cases related to Android deviancy. Then we have Kara, who used to serve as the housemaid of an abusive drug addict named Todd. One night, when Todd is about to abuse his daughter Alice, Kara flees the house along with Alice and must do everything in her capacity to ensure the safety and survival of the child. Last but not the least, we have Markus, another household robot who used to tend to an aging painter. He is abandoned when he is mistakenly perceived as a deviant. Enraged, Markus finds a group of other deviants and leads a protest seeking the freedom of androids.
Visually, Detroit is in a league of its own. Aside from the amazing character models, textures, lighting and shadows, the game also features one of the best facial and character animations ever, if not the best. Even though all the actors have performed brilliantly, the performance of Valorie Curry as Kara stands out the most. As advertised, the storyline of Detroit branches out like no other game before and it is a treat to watch the flowcharts at the end of every scene. I was very skeptical about robots being protagonists of the game since I feared they would lack personality. Thankfully, the developers have tackled this issue marvelously. Even though the robots do not have a particular attitude at first, your choices start shaping their personality as the game progresses. The beautiful soundtrack is the final icing on the cake for this already amazing adventure.
Sadly, Detroit does suffer from some shortcomings. I have found the controls to be very tedious since the QTEs would often not perform despite the correct input. The transition between shots can sometimes feel abrupt, like a poorly edited movie. The narrative often suffers from plot holes and inconsistencies.
Detroit is not everyone's cup of tea but it is a fine one nonetheless. If you enjoy choice-driven interactive adventures, then Detroit is a must play. I'd recommend getting the Digital Deluxe Edition since it offers a lot of bonuses and a free copy of Heavy Rain for just $10 more.
Nony Khondaker is an introvert who complements his non-existent social life with video games, Netflix and a whole lot of ice-cream. Send him memes and cat videos to cheer him up at fb.com/NonyKhondaker