The latest story-driven adventure from Quantic Dream has finally been released on the PS4. Find out what we thought in our Detroit: Become Human Review!
|Release Date||May 25, 2018|
*A copy of this game was provided to FYIG by PlayStation for review purposes*
Quantic Dream has been a developer that I’ve been fond of for a long time. I remember first seeing their work when they revealed Heavy Rain for the PlayStation 3. At the time, the game looked better than anything else I’d seen on a console. It felt like I was playing out a movie. I had a very similar experience when I played through Beyond: Two Souls in 2013, although I did feel like that game took a step back. Still, I liked the uniqueness of the experience I got from both games. It’s obvious then that when Detroit: Become Human was announced, I was interested to see what Quantic Dream could do with the power of the PS4. I wasn’t disappointed.
Detroit: Become Human will feel instantly familiar to those who have played some of Quantic Dream’s previous games. The game avoids traditional game mechanics in favour of gesture-based controls that create the feeling of the particular action that you’re trying to make the character perform. One of the biggest issues I had with those previous games is that my actions never felt like they changed the outcome of the story all that much. It felt like even though I had choices, the outcomes were still pre-determined. There were still some branching storylines, but they were mostly linear at least until the very end. That changes considerably in Detroit: Become Human.
The story arc in Detroit: Become Human is still a branching arc, but this time, there are so many different branches that one playthrough can feel completely different than another. Major players can and will die in chapters and never be seen again depending on the choices you make and that really makes you consider the weight of your choices when you’re making them. Detroit is all about giving you control over almost every interaction and doesn’t rely as heavily on cutscenes as its predecessors. That can mean that you’ll be performing some seemingly meaningless tasks, but nearly everything felt like it had some effect on how my story unfolded.
Nowhere is the level of control more apparent than when you see the flowchart of your decisions after each chapter that you complete in the game. You can see the exact point that you made a decision that changed the path that your character was about to go down. The thing I like the most about this chart is that it doesn’t spoil what the other choices are or what outcomes they lead to. You simply know that there is another direction you can go in another playthrough. I feel like this helps players understand their decisions much better. In previous games in the series, I missed out on huge parts of the story simply because I made different choices or didn’t interact with certain things. I never had to worry about that in Detroit: Become Human everything was laid out nicely in front of me after each chapter.
If you don’t want to have as much of an influence on the story, Quantic Dream has also given everyone two difficulty options. Casual is a story-focused mode with more forgiving and simplified controls. There are also fewer chances to lose a character to due to the decisions you make. Experienced is a more immersive mode with an advanced control scheme that players of the previous QD games will be familiar with. It’s a more challenging game mode and mistakes you make can cost characters their lives. I played my playthrough on Experienced, but I appreciate the developers making this game accessible to those who don’t want to stress about not getting every quick-time event right.
The great strength of Detroit: Become Human is the variety of the three main characters and how they’re all so different with separate motivations for their actions. They have different personalities and styles to make each of their chapters contrast while still performing similar gameplay actions. Like most games with multiple main characters, their stories eventually intertwine making your choices feel all the more important as you see how the story unfolds.
The game begins with you in control of an android named Connor who is designed to be more advanced than the other androids on the general market. He’s a cop whose task is to seek out all of his malfunctioning counterparts or “Deviants”. Markus is an android looking after a disabled elderly man until an incident breaks him out of his programming and he becomes a big part of the Deviants’ resistance movement that Connor is trying to destroy. Kara (who you might remember from the tech demo some years ago) is a domestic servant in a broken household. The entire story is built upon the foundation that while humans created androids to help perform everyday tasks, the humans resent them and thus the androids feel the need to rebel. I don’t want to say too much about the story as to not spoil anything, but it’s an emotionally-charged story at times and one that I really enjoyed playing through. Some of those choices were hard to make!
Detroit: Become Human is slightly different from previous games in the way that it adopts a clue system. You can perform regular and optional tasks in any area, but there is also the ability to search out different items that can give you more story options down the line. For example, opening a window in a certain chapter allowed Kara to escape later in the scene when trouble arose. If I hadn’t opened it originally, I wouldn’t have been able to escape that way. Connor seems to use this more since he does a lot of police work, but all characters have this ability. Other android abilities like rewinding and replaying a crime scene or freezing time to see what route you need to head next are equally as useful. It fits perfectly with these characters and it really makes you feel more like an android would.
With my hometown being Windsor (which is right across from Detroit) I marveled at how amazing 2038 Detroit looked. There were still iconic things like the people mover, the Renaissance Center, and even the Blue Cross Blue Shield Building along with the new spin that QD put on the future city. Everything in the city looks stunning, the weather effects are beautiful when they’re in use, and the lighting is as good as any game out there. It’s a living, breathing world. Where Detroit: Become Human is truly amazing graphically is in the motion capture and facial modeling. It’s one of the most realistic looking games on the market in that aspect. You can see the pain, the joy, and the sadness on a character’s face depending on the scene and it evokes emotion in you in ways that other games will have a hard time matching.
|Flowchart shows what you missed||Gameplay can get a little stale|